For those in the restaurant biz, September has historically been a slow time of year. The kids are back in school with parents trying to form a new school-year routine, snowbirds are soaking up the last few weeks of warmth up north, and tourists are slowly but surely leaving Palm Beach’s sandy shores. All of this equates to a pretty big hit to Palm Beach’s restaurant industry. Making lemonade out of these slow economic lemons, Flavor Palm Beach is once again injecting a tasty stimulus package back into the month of September when the month-long dining program resumes on September 1.
Now in its eighth year, Flavor Palm Beach began in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn as a way to bolster restaurant sales through the lean, pre-fall month. Though the economy rebounded, the month-long promotion remained, giving restaurants and chefs a chance to flex their gastronomic imagination, testing new items for their upcoming high-season menus, while allowing diners to enjoy some rather fab dining for a song. It’s a win-win for all involved.
The deal is simple: participating restaurants, 51 from Tequesta to Boca as of August 26, offer special prix-fixe, three-course meals for lunch ($20) and/or dinner ($30, $35, or $45 – depending on ingredients and dishes chosen). Diners pick and choose their meal, et viola, a culinary fête without breaking the bank. And though the direct beneficiaries of this month-long dining extravaganza may appear to be the diners, every reservation made benefits the Palm Beach County Food Bank, with portions of each helping to end hunger in our community.
This year, the restaurants are pulling all the stops, with some rather interesting meals set for menu. With 51 restaurants joining the party this year, diners have plenty of options on where to belly up. Here’s a look at some of our favorite spots, divvied up with a little north, central, south flair.
- Flavor Palm Beach runs September 1-30.
- Three-course meals cost as follows: $20 for lunch, $30-$35 for dinner.
- For a complete list of participating restaurants and menus, click here.
- For more information, visit flavorpb.com.
The Cooper | North County
This brasserie in PGA Commons has quickly become one of Palm Beach Gardens’ hottest spots to dine since opening its doors in 2014. The farm-to-table menu paired with a craft spirits selection like none other has set it apart from the North County norm. A frequent stop of mine regardless of dining special, with both lunch and dinner options for the Flavor Palm Beach set, The Cooper is my first stop on the county-wide dining tour.
The Cooper’s Double-Cut Duroc Pork Chop | Photo courtesy of The Cooper
What I’m Digging: For lunch, it’s the Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho, followed by the Grilled Flat Iron Steak Salad, wrapped with Carrot Cake in a Jar of course. For dinner, go all-American with the “BLT” Wedge salad, the Double-Cut Duroc Pork Chop, and Mango-Key Lime Pie. Click here to reserve a spot.
Meat Market | Central County
Since opening last September, the Meat Market has been one of the busiest eateries in town. The swanky, high-energy restaurant—a steakhouse in every notion but the played masculine, dark, wood accented steakhouses of old—Meat Market is the model for the future of fine dining establishments specializing in prime grass-fed beef. Its vaulted ceilings, open and expansive bar to accommodate bar-side seating and dining, and subtle touches, like exposed lighting, give this place a much more inviting, contemporary feel. And while the scene may be enticing, the eats are what makes this one of the busiest places on the island. With the Meat Market joining the Flavor Palm Beach fray this year, September makes for the perfect time to get a seat—if you can—before the island is repopulated come fall.
The bar at Meat Market, Palm Beach | Photo courtesy of Meat Market
What’s for Dinner: Throwing their hat in the ring for dinner only, and at $45 per person, selecting the right combination is a must. For starters, stick with the raw bar and the Blue Island Oysters: four oysters on the half shell with a trio of house-made sauces. For the second course, I am at a loss. Every fiber of my being is pulling me toward the ultimate in comfort food dining: the American Style Kobe Meatloaf, a Kobe beef creation with bacon, mango barbecue sauce, and crispy onions served with truffle mashed potatoes. But this is the Meat Market, known for its prime cuts of steak, which is why the Meat Market filet will probably adorn my plate—though I want that meatloaf. For dessert, it’s a no brainer: the Illanka 63% Chocolate Panna Cotta. To reserve a seat at the table, click here.
50 Ocean | South County
For South County dining with a view, 50 Ocean is my vote. Situated oceanfront in Delray Beach, the seafood scenarios at this spot, under the direction of Executive Chef Blake Malatesta, can be dizzying—in a good way. And while guests come for the eats—usually a fresh catch in my book—they stay for the ambiance, and a craft cocktail or two at the quartz bar situated along a bay of windows overlooking the Atlantic—it doesn’t get any better then that.
One of the many craft cocktail selections at 50 Ocean. | Photo courtesy of 50 Ocean
The Skinny on Lunch and Dinner: Being a seafood kind of place, I recommend sticking to a piscivorous type of diet. For lunch, start with the Sea Devils, local eggs stuffed with all kinds of goodies like bacon and fried clams; follow those up with the Surf ‘n Turf Tacos, featuring seared cobia and bacon relish; and finish it all off with a little New Orleans meets Delray Beignets. For dinner diners ($30 per person), change it up and start with the Artisan Romaine salad, followed by the banana leaf-grilled wahoo—always a crowd pleaser; and tie it up with a Berries and Cream bow of good measure. To reserve a seat at the table, click here.