Palm Beach Bargain Basements
Summer Slumming On the Wrong Side of the Tracks
Mummy and I got gussied up as Ladies Who Lunch last Friday and tripped over to the isle of Palm Beach, hoping to test the waters at Beach House Bistro, which opened last November. The restaurant scene in Palm Beach moves with all the velocity of the population it serves, most of whom locomote via walkers, pimped-out wheelchairs, or on the backs of private nurses.** Which is to say, any two restaurants opening in PB within the same decade is really news.
**[I remember when this weren't so; the kids I hung with on the island back in the day moved much more briskly, mostly in Jags and Bentleys their parents had bought them off with, even speeding along the sidewalks when convenience served.]
I've wanted to chow down at Beach House ever since I read this in the Palm Beach Daily News...
“The new name will be Beach House Bistro, but that was not [owner] (Cindy) Rosa’s first choice. She modified the name after the [Palm Beach Town] council resisted calling it The Beach Shanty”
...and practically fell off my bar stool in hysterics. At least, I think I was laughing. It also felt something like weeping and upchucking. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE????!!!!! Come the revolution, first order of business is to rename all the restaurants on the island, and here's where I'm gonna start:
Charley's Crab: I've Got Crabs
Amici: Friendly's Olive Pit
Hamburger Heaven: Eat My Meat
Chez Jean Pierre: Frenchy's
Leopard Lounge: The Cat Box
The Restaurant at The Everglades Club: L'Chai-im!
At any rate, we arrived at The Beach House-Shanty for luncheon on Friday, and here's what we found:
after the jump: summer steals
A call to the restaurant explained that they'd closed for the weekend for "building maintenance." Vikane gas is used for killing critters (drywood termites, roaches, bedbugs), but I'd give the place a pass for a couple of weeks until it's thoroughly aired out. So we went to Ta-boo on Worth Avenue instead.
And had a truly marvelous steak salad made with marinated and grilled filet mignon ($20), sweet onions, mushrooms, slivered red and yellow peppers, blue cheese, and mixed greens. Tons of flavor, perfectly seasoned and dressed. Mummy commented that in the old days Ta-boo was dcorated in tiki-tacky: palm trees with multicolored coconut lights, comfy rattan armchairs, and the sort of low-wattage murk that's evidently no longer fashionable. Now all is bright and shiny, filled with courtly old gents and their be-hatted wives. Still, out of season, these Palm Beach dives are actually half-bearable. In case you want to venture over to La-La land, here's a shortlist of summer specials. Hours and days vary on these, so call ahead to confirm.
Prix Fixe Menus:
The Breakers Brasserie L'Escalier: Three courses plus glass of wine, $50
Bice: same as above, $34
Echo: same as above but nix the wine: $30
Amici: three courses, $29
Coco Asian: three courses, $24.95 plus TWO FOR ONE WELL DRINKS!!!! (another early bird, get there between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.)
Beach House Bistro: $21.95 for three courses, until 7 p.m. Two-for-one drinks until 6:30
264 Grill: $18.95 for three courses, served until 7. But check this out: ORDER $20 IN DRINKS AND GET YOUR BACON CHEESEBURGER, COBB SALAD or FISH PLATTER FOR $1.
Michael R. McCarty's: ALL THE WINE YOU CAN DRINK with a two-course meal, $29.95
Palm Beach Steakhouse: SAME DEAL WITH DINNER!!!! (has to be before 7 p.m. though. Worth going just to view all the sodden earlybirds?)
Now, go swan around pretending you're a famous Palm Beach juicer, say, maybe, "On the Rox-anne" Pulitzer or "Lush" Limbaugh, depending on your hair-color, bigotries, and oral preferences.
- Gail Shepherd