Flavor Palm Beach Report: Metronome

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Oh la la, Metronome est bon!

Metronome is a relative newcomer to the Palm Beach Gardens dining strip along PGA Boulevard, and in spite of this wearisome location, it's a darling place both outside and in -- oversized French bistro posters, cushy red banquettes, red and white straw chairs, a big patio with cheerful umbrellas. Their $30 Flavor Palm Beach tasting menu is a keeper, although you may have to tussle with them a little to get the thing in your hands.

When we called for a reservation, whoever answered the phone had never heard of Flavor Palm Beach, and when we sat down for dinner we had to ask for the menu twice.

This isn't haute cuisine, it's French inflected comfort food, and I figure you really don't save more than $10 on the Flavor menu. It's still a good deal for a three-course meal of this quality and a good introduction to the bistro. We ordered duck pate and a bistro salad for starters: the pate was rustic and chunky -- flavored with Armagnac and studded with spicy peppercorns. It came with the same green vinaigrette salad and slices of toast, so it's clearly a better deal than just the salad alone. The soup, which we didn't try, was corn chowder.

Metronome has added another entree to the Flavor options - steak frites, one of my favorite bistro classics, a hearty dish of sliced rare hanger steak in red wine sauce with crisp, salty hand-cut fries. Vegetable risotto was creamy, full of parmesan, and excellent comfort food, if not the most refined risotto I've ever tasted. Grilled salmon (farmed) with French lentils and coq au vin are the other offerings.

Desserts, made in house, included three delicious profiteroles (an ice cream sandwich of flaky pastry with drizzled dark chocolate), three scoops of tangy mango and passionfruit sorbet, and the creme brulee, which we didn't try.

Service was sweet, if a little disorganized. Metronome has a fantastic wine list that includes lots French selections -- including some lovely roses and white burgandies, and even a good list of champagnes by the glass. Our little taste here was enough to make me want to go back and try the bouillabaisse, duck breast, and other treats not offered on the Flavor menu.

-- Gail Shepherd

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