Fish have to fly in order to reach Bistro. Fresh from Europe, the Dover sole arrives ready for chefs to pan sear, fillet, and artfully garnish with almond potato cakes and asparagus tips. This dish spotlights one of the more literal examples of European influence on the menu, but more subtle influences, according to a 2004 review in the Palm Beach Post, consist of "ingredients you may have at home prepared perfectly in a way you'd never contemplate." The feature emphasizes the "gentle touch" of the chef, whose expertise ensures that the lobster tails from Maine leave the broiler at exactly the right moment.
The same attention to detail has stocked the Zagat-rated restaurant’s expansive wine cellar. Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Argentina contribute libations to the list, which pairs robust glasses with entrees to ensure that the flavors of the veal escalope or beef Wellington pop appropriately. A sunny, canary-yellow dining room frames these flavors, gracing eyes with photographs, pressed-tin ceilings, and lamp-clad chandeliers. Outside, a brick patio takes shelter under a pinstripe awning, warming cool nights with space heaters and accompanying meals with the gurgles of a shallow pond and the haunting songs of the abandoned reflections therein.
When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.
At the Palm Beach Chili Cook Off, local businesses, community leaders, and citizens vie to be named the chef of the Hottest Chili, a title that comes with a $1,000 grand prize in bills or magic beans. Other competitors grab accolades for Best Team Name, Chili Name, and Most Creative Chili Attire. Visitors can eat their fill of spicy stews and then explore a waterfront boutique showcasing works from local vendors or stop by Family Village, where amusement-park rides and carnival games live in harmony. Throughout the day, live performers take the main stage, muffling the sounds of revelry with the steady thrum of country and rock music.
Indecision is a virtue at CG Burgers. It gives diners more time to peruse the menu of build-your-own burgers and design a mental blueprint of the perfect meal. The patties of certified Angus beef, all-natural turkey, or bison begin as blank canvases before diners adorn them with as many as 17 complimentary toppings and condiments. The cooks can also load down burgers with 15 premium fixings, such as avocado or a tiny gold crown. Made using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, the menu of all-American classics also distinguishes itself by including a vegetarian burger patty, zucchini fries, and silken gelato milk shakes. Even the fire-roasted wings present a bit of a spin on the original: they may arrive in a traditional buffalo sauce or glazed with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, herbs, and crushed red peppers.
"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.
Since 1985, when Paul Flanigan opened the first of five Florida locations, Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Neighborhood Grill continues to ply diners with succulent seafood and delectable libations. Each location’s culinary team crafts handmade burgers, blackens or grills delicate fish filets, and heaps plates with oysters and yellowfin tuna from the raw bar. International wines, martinis, and shooters refresh palates between bites, and when weather permits, sliding windows and doors fill the restaurant with wafts of fresh air. The Quarterdeck complements its oceanic menu with its decor of old-maritime equipment, saltwater-fish tanks, and the understudy shark from Jaws, and its flat-screen televisions and billiards tables entertain through the day and night.