Rosemary Square’s newest wave of restaurant offerings brought diners a pearl this season. High Dive, a 180-seat eatery from Jeremy and Cindy Bearman of Oceano Kitchen in Lantana, showcases the possibilities of fruits de mer in a relaxed, nautical atmosphere. The seafaring journey begins at the raw bar (backed by an Italian tile mural of an octopus) and continues with menu items like Jeremy’s walu crudo, Fisherman’s Stew (pictured), and garganelli pasta with Key West shrimp, uni butter, and Scotch bonnets. It ends, of course, with Cindy’s desserts such as cinnamon cake doughnuts or the batter licking–inspired Goodie Bowl, divine creations worth coming ashore for.
Prior to the opening, PBI caught up with the Bearmans to learn more about their vision for High Dive.
PBI: How did the idea and location for High Dive come about?
Jeremy: We really just wanted to do another restaurant to showcase our food and reach a larger audience. Oceano Kitchen is super small, and while we love the concept of what we do, we wanted to bring the experience of our food and service to a much wider audience.
We felt that in an area surrounded by so much water and great seafood, there was a need for an interesting seafood-focused restaurant in the area. There is so much fresh seafood that our local fishermen bring in and we are excited to work with it.
Rosemary Square is also going through an amazing redevelopment which we really wanted to be a part of.
Oceano Kitchen is a small space, but the two of you have run much larger restaurants in the past. Why return to a larger format?
Cindy: A bigger restaurant allows us the opportunity to reach a larger audience and provide more for our guests. At High Dive we have a beverage program that includes beer, wine, and cocktails inspired by coastal cities and ports from around the world. The program is run by our beverage director, Jessie Bell. Nicole Beatty, our events coordinator will work with guests to create private events and parties in designated areas of the restaurant. Our goal is to keep the personal feel of Oceano, and we feel we were able to do that through our collaboration with the interior design team.
How did Reunion Goods & Services bring your vision for the restaurant to life?
Jeremy: Inspired by the local fishermen we source from, the studio chose natural woods, marine paint, and industrial materials to create a warm yet honest atmosphere. While based primarily in New York, the studio has deep connections to West Palm. One of Reunion’s principals, Carlton DeWoody, is the son of art collector and West Palm local Beth DeWoody. As a result, Carlton and the Reunion team have often frequented the West Palm area, from sourcing vintage furniture on Dixie Highway to engaging with its world-class museums and galleries.
Reunion made a custom-designed nautical flag that hangs behind the bar and curated a collection of photographs, prints and drawings around the room that revolve around humans’ interaction with water. As a backdrop for the raw bar, the studio made a unique octopus drawing, and then collaborated with an Italian fabricator to create a hand-glazed tile mural. Reunion also designed a ‘High Dive Toile’ for a custom wallpaper with vintage aquanauts, wild cats wearing sunglasses, and other fun imagery that celebrates the golden age of Florida as a classic tourist destination.
We wanted to use a design firm from New York because a lot of the restaurants in the area felt a bit similar and we really wanted to distinguish High Dive. We picked a small boutique firm that would be able to transform our vision into reality.
Since seafood is the focus, what items are local and what items are brought in from elsewhere?
Jeremy: We bring in items like Key West shrimp, grouper, pumpkin swordfish, mahi, and a variety of snappers. From elsewhere, we have things like Spanish octopus, sea urchin from Santa Barbara, a variety of oysters from the Northeast.
Which menu items might feel more familiar and which might appeal to more adventurous diners?
Jeremy: There will be items like Cherrystone Clam Chowder that are classic in its approach but executed a little bit differently. Pole Bean Caesar is a Caesar salad with locally grown whole beans. Items that are esoteric include the Maine Mussels Escabeche, or the Garganelli with Key West shrimp and Santa Barbara uni butter, and scotch bonnet peppers.
Which menu items are you the most excited and proud to present? Why?
Jeremy: The Savory Seafood Waffle is something we are really excited about. It’s a take on the classic seafood pancake, but done in the form of a waffle with a bit more Japanese influence.
Cindy: For dessert I am excited about The Goodie Bowl which was inspired by licking the batter bowl clean. It’s something pretty much everyone does at home when baking. It well represents my approach to creating a dessert—something that is well prepared and with a bit of whimsy.