The spirit, sounds and flavors of Jamaica will bounce through the lounge at PB Catch Palm Beach Saturday night. That’s when The Shack, the lounge’s summer pop-up series, turns its focus to spicy bites and laid back island music.
On the menu at this “Jamaican Seafood Fest:” conch souse (marinated conch with citrus, chili, cilantro, $16), crispy whole yellowtail snapper (with braised callaloo and spiced sweet potato, $34), Jamaican banana fritters (with Blue Mountain coffee and crème fraiche, $10), among other a la carte items.
In the backdrop: a reggae band playing live tunes.
Each summer, the seafood-centric restaurant turns its lounge into a beach-themed “shack” that serves as a backdrop to island-y sips, bites and tunes.
PB Catch’s Jamaican Seafood Fest
When: Saturday, from 5 p.m. to midnight
Where: “The Shack” lounge at PB Catch, 251 Sunrise Ave., Palm Beach; 561-655-5558; PBCatch.com
“We are thrilled to have Jimmy join our team,” says Conley, Grato’s chef and co-owner. “He is not only a very talented cook, but a mature leader as well. We are lucky to have him.”
Strine and Conley worked three minutes away from one another for years. Conley is also chef/partner at Grato’s big sister restaurant, Buccan, which is located a block east of Café Boulud in Palm Beach.
“I’m feeling great about being a part of the team,” says Strine. “Clay has always been a staple in the community and I am most excited about making this the best restaurant in the county.”
Before coming to work at Café Boulud, Strine was chef at his own restaurant, Mick’s New American Bistro in Frederick, Md.
Strine comes to Grato from a strong, creative kitchen. Most recently at Boulud, Strine worked under the direction of executive chef Rick Mace, who takes a storyteller’s approach to food. Mace’s sense of adventure earned him “Best Chef” status in The Post’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards.
A month-long battle of the cocktail shakers is coming to a frothy finish this week when two local bartenders compete for “top mixologist” bragging rights during the popular Taste of the Nation foodie event.
The face-off, which happens Thursday night at the Kravis Center, wraps up a fundraising contest by 10 local bars and eateries to benefit the national No Kid Hungry campaign. The participating establishments crafted specialty drinks to raise money for the effort that aims to eradicate childhood hunger in America.
So the final two contenders are those whose creative drinks raised most funds.
They are: Jonathan Silva of Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach and Matt Swig of Max’s Harvest in downtown Delray Beach.
The cocktail contest, dubbed “The Shake Up,” is in its first year at the annual Taste of the Nation food-and-drink bash, which features 45 of the top restaurants and chefs in the county, four local craft beer breweries, two cocktail stations, one local coffee roaster and 12 wine-pouring tables.
It’s an effort local chefs have been eager to support because 100 percent of funds raised go to the cause. Last year, the local effort raised enough to help provide meals to more than 760,000 children in need, organizers say.
The Shake Up’s throwdown will take place on the main stage of the Kravis’ Cohen Pavilion as “mystery ingredient” baskets are revealed to the two bartender-contenders, who are allowed to bring one secret ingredient of their own into the contest. They will have five minutes to whip up two cocktails for the event judges. (Disclosure: I will be serving as one of those judges. Let’s hope the secret ingredients don’t include anchovies.)
Those dining aficionados stung by the recent James Beard Awards snub of Florida chefs on its list of finalists might find a measure of solace in Traveler’s tidy readers’ choice lineup. It excludes Miami, Tampa, Winter Park and other culinary hot spots.
The Colony Hotel gave its iconic, centerpiece restaurant a complete makeover, from interiors to menu to its very name.
The freshly unveiled Polo at The Colony Hotel debuts a menu that takes flavor and inspiration from the hotel’s large herb garden, where tarragon, basil, chives, oregano and mint thrive.
“Having fresh ingredients is a true complement to any dish,” the hotel’s Chef de Cuisine, Stephen Darling, said in a news release. “At The Colony, we believe strongly in having sustainable, fresh, locally sourced ingredients in our culinary creations and know that it is something our guests appreciate as well.”
Those herbs now accent dishes such as Maine lobster salad, Dover sole (which is fileted tableside), Snapper filet meuniére, chicken schnitzel, horseradish and brown sugar-crusted Alaskan salmon, Chateaubriand for two and prime steaks that are dry-aged in-house for at least 28 days and delivered to diners upon a silver cart.
Formerly known as Polo Steaks & Seafood, the restaurant now serves this menu in a refreshed setting, on recently redone by interior designer Carleton Varney.
The look: Pillars that look like cocktails sweep from floor to ceiling. Mural sized polo-themed photos by Harry Benson drape the walls. Shamrock green fabric covers chair cushions at tables dressed in blue-and-white checkered tablecloths. The restaurant’s renovation is part of a larger $15-million makeover at the hotel, where a decades-long parade of distinguished visitors have included U.S. presidents, European royalty and Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra.
That vintage spirit is ingrained in the hotel’s restaurant and its throwback days (such as Motown Fridays and Sunday Jazz Brunch with pianist Bill Mays), as well as in its Royal Room cabaret.
The handmade bowls are almost too pretty to fill, but they are empty to make a point about local hunger.
The folks at the Palm Beach County Food Bank will tell you one in six local residents do not know where their next meal will come from. This is why the annual Empty Bowls Palm Beach charity event has been planned for a third year.
The fundraiser, for which local potters make bowls to be filled with hearty soups made by local chefs, takes place in Palm Beach Friday, Feb. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Episcopal Church at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, 141 S. County Rd.
Here’s how it works: You purchase a handmade bowl of your choice for $25, then peruse the fresh-made soup offerings for servings of your favorite. After you sample your choice of soups, you get to keep the bowl. All proceeds go to the Food Bank.
“We wanted to refresh the place. We wanted to open the place up, to create a more airy, light, sunny feeling,” he says on a recent day as the early afternoon sunlight picks up the sleek lines of the dining room’s new central focus: an under-lit, U-shaped bar.
Yes, this bar just might attract a younger, more hip crowd of Palm Beach diners. But that doesn’t mean Boulud is hoping to trade the island’s iconic blue blazers for hipster beards.
“We have to be consistent in what we do. We don’t try to be a trendy place. We want to be a quality place,” says Boulud.
Those who may believe Boulud might gild the menu to match the new, glowing bar may not grasp the chef/restaurateur’s café concept.