Critic’s pick, West Palm Beach: a lively bistro for sipping new Beaujolais

Customers enjoy dinner at Pistache bistro and bar in downtown West Palm Beach on April 18, 2015.  (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Alfresco dining at Pistache, West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

Central county pick: PISTACHE

There are many reasons to dine at Pistache at lunch, dinner, late-night bites or weekend brunch. There’s also the setting: The eatery is perched by the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront, offering a view of the lively commons. But perhaps the best reason to dine here is the outstanding food.

Chef de cuisine Isaac Cerny and sous-chef Sam Horrocks lend a refined touch to a menu of French favorites. On a recent visit, I tried their delicious “confit” treatment of a chicken leg served over brunch waffles. (The chicken is slow-cooked in fat using a traditional preserving technique.) The flavors on the plate spanned that decadent stretch between rich and richer.

That chicken leg will be on the menu on Beaujolais Nouveau Day (Thursday, Nov. 19), though this time it will be served with a side of maque choux (Cajun succotash), pea tendrils and sauce “diable” (hot sauce).

Other a la carte specials to pair with your glass or bottle of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais that day: chicken “oyster” and andouille gumbo, zucchini blossom beignets, mirliton and Anjou pear salad, grouper in court bouillon and pork tenderloin.

Pistache French Bistro: 101 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-5090; PistacheWPB.com

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

Newsroom favorite: this cheese pizza won our downtown taste test. Which is your favorite?

Which cheese pizza scored most votes? (File photo)
Which cheese pizza scored most votes? (Cox Newspapers file photo)

Who knows more about room-temp pizza than journalists on election night? No one. We proudly claim our expertise. We are to pizza what truffle hogs are to ascomycetes.

And because of this, we snag all available opportunities to devour pizza – by the slice, by the pie, or by the stack of boxes. It’s rib-sticking grub, as we were reminded on a recent day when we gathered at one end of the newsroom to taste-test four downtown West Palm Beach cheese pizzas.

We sampled pies from Pizza Girls, City Pizza, Mellow Mushroom and Nico’s Pizza.

In the end, Nico’s scored the highest percentage of our votes (38 percent).

See? None left. (Photo by Laura Lordi)
See? None left. (Photo by Laura Lordi)

The Clematis Street pizzeria delivered with its thin, foldable crust, hearty sauce and cheese and slightly greasy awesomeness.

Second place went to Mellow Mushroom (34 percent). Next was City Pizza of CityPlace (16 percent). Lastly, Pizza Girls fans were saddened to see the waterfront spot earned a paltry 13 percent of our votes.

Leftovers? Not in this newsroom. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
Leftovers? Not in this newsroom. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

Here’s your chance to comment on for your favorite Palm Beach County pizza. Tell us your favorite on our Post on Food & Dining Facebook page.

Next week: vote in our poll (based on your comments) to name the best pizzeria in Palm Beach county.

ReadersChoicePizza2015
Click on the photo to cast your vote!

Avocado Grill turns the “big 1” in downtown West Palm

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The lively Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach is marking its first anniversary with a weekend-long celebration. Chef/owner Julien Gremaud is hosting a “Big ONE” party at 8 p.m. Friday, serving specialty drinks, a special menu, home-baked birthday cake and a helping of DJ-spun tunes on the side.

On Sunday, the chef hosts the “ONEderful Birthday Brunch,” starting at 11 a.m.

The menu is eclectic at Avocado Grill, Datura Street. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
The menu is eclectic at Avocado Grill, Datura Street. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

Reservations are strongly suggested for both days.

Avocado Grill: 125 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 561-623-0822; AvocadoGrillWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

New on Clematis Street: The Dispensary diner and soda fountain

The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)
The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)

The Dispensary, a daylight eatery and soda fountain, has opened on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. The retro-hip spot is located inside the Center City Pharmacy, where The Vegan Café briefly operated.

On the menu: hefty breakfast dishes, including four types of Eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, huevos rancheros, chicken fried steak, smoked salmon on bagel, waffles and biscuits with gravy. Lunch offerings include chickpea soup, potato soup, tons of fresh salads, burgers and sandwiches (BLT, prime rib, cheddar-Gruyere grilled cheese), various sides and daily specials. Soda fountain favorites, like shakes and sundaes, are served as well.

“People are loving the food,” says co-owner Christian Wiebel, a local restaurant veteran who most recently worked at the now-closed Garage VV in Northwood.

He opened the new diner with partner Gregory Galgano on Sept. 1 as an intimate, 45-seat eatery.

“We want to add more tables, but we want to start small, with a chance to grow. For now, we want to keep it small,” says Wiebel.

Clematis Street's newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)
Clematis Street’s newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the full menu offered till 5 p.m. (From 5 to 7 p.m., soda fountain items, croissants and packaged salads are offered.) Open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday. Hours are expected to expand in season.

Online ordering is available.

The Dispensary: 416 Clematis St. (inside Center City Pharmacy), West Palm Beach; 561-990-2555; TheDispensaryWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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