Worth One’s Salt Part III: A Glance at the Palm Beach Grill

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In our January 2014 issue, we paid tribute to a handful of Palm Beach eateries that have survived the test of time, including Café L’Europe, Renato’ and Chez Jean-Pierre. Here, our list goes on.

We talked to Tom Allen, the general manager of the Palm Beach Grill for some insight on the longtime beloved restaurant.

The crowd: “A mix of year-round Palm Beachers and seasonal island residents. The Palm Beach crowd is nicely blended with a great cross section of guests from Delray Beach and as far north as Jupiter.”

The scene: “Douglas fir paneling with dark wood accents, tables with wicker chairs and booths with rich brick-red leather. We use Altman stage lighting for the kitchen and dining room, and each of our artworks is an original work. The atmosphere is lively, for certain. Some guests tell me that the restaurant is loud; I reply and say that the din is merely the sound of 150 people having fun.”

Star treatment: “We have a few notable regulars, some of whom are stars of the business or fashion and design worlds. We rarely have show business celebrities, but if we do, they tend to be joining us from The Breakers, and are usually of daytime television or Saturday Night Live fame.”

Pick of the menu: “Our Smoked Salmon is hot-smoked in-house, is very different from conventional smoked salmon and is one of my favorite starters. For a main course, we have a Double-cut Rotisserie Pork Chop to end all pork chops. My favorite dessert will always be the Hot Fudge Sundae, which is unadulterated beauty in simplicity: locally-made Sloan’s vanilla ice cream, homemade Belgian chocolate fudge, sugared pecans and freshly whipped cream.”

Prime seating: A table or a booth. “Our dining room is specifically designed so that no one table is markedly better than another,” says Allen. “Table 31 [a banquette right by the front door] is coveted by those who like to be seen, and Table 14 [right next to the kitchen] is preferred by a few of our wonderful regulars who enjoy being near my team and all the action.”

If these dishes were removed, there would be an uproar: “Our Slow-roasted Danish Pork Ribs have a significant following. Even guests from Tennessee, North Carolina and other barbeque hotbeds confide in me that they love our ribs. Both our Grilled Artichokes and Heirloom Tomato Salad face seasonal shortages—guests are always disappointed when this happens.”

Putting the “grill” in PB Grill: “I think we’d all be devastated if our hickory-burning grill disappeared. Without that unmistakable, rich, smokey flavor, many of our dishes would lose a little magic.”

Holiday rush: The peak period from the holidays through the first days of January is “unbelievably busy,” confides Allen.

Made fresh to order: “When we say all our food is made from scratch daily, we mean it. We open at 5 pm, but people are here from 9 am doing prep work, baking bread, cutting fish, grinding meat for burgers and hand-whisking salad dressings.”

Keys to success: “Our food, our staff, and our valets outside. The food is simple, in the best of ways, ruthlessly fresh and doesn’t try to be more than it should be. Our executive chef and his team do great work ensuring our food is consistently delicious. My service staff is a delightful group of truly helpful and hospitable men and women; and our valets out front are like magicians, striving to have your car ready and waiting before you even present your valet ticket.”

Palm Beach Grill is located at 340 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach. 561.835.1077. hillstone.com.

To read the full story “Worth One’s Salt,” from the January 2014 issue, click here.



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