If there’s anything I love more than walking on the beach at sunset, it’s walking on the sidewalk that runs next to the beach at sunset. As a Florida native I’ve got plenty of love for our sugary sand, but why not enjoy the view grit-free when you can? The same goes for dining al fresco, an idea that is great in theory but perhaps a little sweaty in reality. So when I was invited to Palm Beach along with other members of the press to try Boulud Sud, the Mediterranean-themed menu served “al fresco” on the air-conditioned terrace of Cafe Boulud until September 3, I could hardly resist.
Inspired by Chef Daniel Boulud’s Manhattan-based restaurant Boulud Sud, Executive Chef Jim Leiken’s menu evokes the flavors of hot-weather climes like Sardinia, Greece, Tunisia, and Beirut. Signature items like the cucumber gazpacho with dill and baby radishes, head-on shrimp with ratatouille and basil pesto, and octopus a la plancha with arugula and marcona almonds are perfectly paired with the sultry summer heat, even if you can no longer feel it from the cool comfort of the charming terrace. Among the summer-specific libations is the Provencal Tonic, a concoction of lavender-infused gin with orange bitters, fresh lemon and rosemary, which complements the potted herbs that adorn each outdoor table. Sommeliere Mariya Kovacheva has selected wines from around the Mediterranean, including France, Spain, Italy, and Slovenia and is on hand to pair them with every selection.
While diners inside and out are welcome to order from the regular or prix fixe menus from either Cafe Boulud or Boulud Sud, at three courses for $35 the Boulud Sud prix fixe is a sweet deal for a quintessentially Palm Beach dining experience. Choices on a recent evening included slow-roasted porchetta with green apple and mustard creme fraiche, sauteed sheepshead with lemon mint couscous and a summer vegetable tagine, and a mint mousse with crystallized jasmine and Manjari chocolate sorbet.
Those wishing to extend their time in Palm Beach, which has a lovely and languorous pace during the summer, can take advantage of the Wine, Dine & Stay package at The Brazilian Court Hotel, which is the home of Cafe Boulud and Boulud Sud. It’s a few short blocks away from Worth Avenue shopping, and even closer to the pristine municipal beach. The one with the sidewalk.
The Wine, Dine & Stay package is available through September 2, 2013 and starts at $299 per night. The rate includes overnight accommodations, a glass of rose and a three-course dinner per person but not tax, gratuity or additional beverages. More information at thebraziliancourt.com or (561) 655-7740.