The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 133

DEPARTMENT HEADER 32  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2017 WHERE WE'RE EATING G oing to a family reunion in West Palm Beach—the Promised Land for the shuffleboard set—means an endless array of all-you-can-eat buf- fets . . . and early bird specials consumed at four in the afternoon. "Don't forget to take the rolls and the butter," says an elderly relative as she stuffs hers in a purse so large it would qualify as checked luggage. "You're paying for it, after all." I needed a real meal, a proper meal, where I didn't have to wonder which veg- etables were sitting next to my veal parme- san. I headed down the coast to the resort town of Hollywood, Florida—about halfway between Palm Beach and Miami—where the Diplomat Beach Resort is home to restaurants by Philadelphia's esteemed Chef Michael Schulson (Double Knot, Sampan, Graffiti Bar and Harp & Crown, among others) and Food Channel icon and New York restaurateur Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (The Lambs Club, The National and many others), along with a steakhouse by Miami Chef Adinaguev. After a few days of buffets, some izakaya sounded just right. And so did sitting on the Atlantic; it's much more soothing than restaurants with a view of golf cart races on the 18th green. With a recent $115 million facelift, the Diplomat feels just right, and it's far enough from more crowded beaches like Fort Lauderdale to give it an edge of coastal privacy. And like I said, how refreshing to put aside the surf 'n turf for broiled seabass with truffle soy and an edamame dumpling with even more truffles at Chef Schulson's Monkitail. This is izakaya filtered through a chef with a desire to re-invent the genre. Thus, along with the requisite sushi and sashimi, you'll find toro caviar on toast, a whitefish and wasabi ceviche and, of all things, a pastrami bao bun and a duck scrapple bao bun—dishes that appear at no izakaya other than Monkitail. And as you admire the breakers, do take a moment to consider the encyclopedic saké menu, along with cocktails like The Monki's Fist—a mix of saké, coconut and pineapple—and the Grilled Peach Mojito, which is just that. Those who know Zakarian solely from his existence as a persnickety regular on Chopped should be properly fascinated to discover that, yes, he actually can cook and does so in his opulent, richly decorated Point Royal Restaurant. It's a seafood eatery with a full sit-down raw bar built around a wealth of finny friends both local—Key West pink shrimp, Florida stone crab claws and local fish ceviche—and visiting, like edible snow- birds, Alaskan king crab, Littleneck clams and Maine lobster. For some culinary fun, check out the "On a Bun" section of the menu, featuring Cape Cod crispy clam roll, BBQ rock shrimp po'boys, a crabcake sandwich, butter poached lobster rolls and an "Ugly Burger" that looks pretty good to me. These go very nicely with the Piña Colada, the Mai Tai and the Tequila Sunrise. But then, doesn't everything? And if you can't go to a Florida beach hotel without taking a brief excursion back to the golden years of the 1950s— when women wore mink stoles all year round and men wore pinkie rings—Chef Nicolay Adinaguev's Diplomat Prime exists as a reminder of the great days of Cadillacs with giant fins and steaks served with roasted bone marrow. Though in this case, the steaks are Wagyu, filet, New York and skirt, along with a prime 28-ounce porterhouse with a choice of béarnaise, bordelaise or au poivre. There's creamed spinach, duck fat steak fries and a lobster mac 'n cheese, too, which means you can probably pass on wear- ing that lime Speedo by the pool for the rest of the trip. THE PLACES TO SEEK OUT IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA by Merrill Shindler Hollywood on the Atlantic A butter-poached lobster roll at Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's Point Royal Restaurant in Hollywood, FL. PHOTO COURTESY OF POINT ROYAL RESTAURANT Monkitail's menu includes tradi- tional and non-traditional items like a pastrami bao bun. PHOTO COURTESY OF MONKITAIL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2017