Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Hamlet County Club Opens Dining Club with Chef’s Table

May 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Chef Jason Zeller

Looking for an affordable private club – and one with a chef’s table? The Hamlet in Delray Beach has opened its doors to the public (for a fee) and offers membership in a private Dining Club.

Chef Jason Zeller oversees the kitchen, where a special Chef’s Table is set up. Diners are free to book that table, the dining room, or a private 40-seat room for parties or banquets.

Zeller describes his foods. “We try to put a focus on seasonal foods – our menus change every three months, and we have daily specials. We focus on American regional cuisine with Floridian and Caribbean influences. When it’s available, we use locally sourced organic produce, or look for fresh and sustainable products. You won’t find Chilean sea bass on the menu or farmed fish, for example.”

Instead, he said, “We use day-boat fish like black grouper, the Keys yellowtail, corvina, and hog snapper from the Sebastian area. We use wagyu beef – American version of Kobe – for all our ground meats, meatballs and meatloaf. Cut steaks, we use the upper one-third of the IBP beef – it’s between prime and choice. Our burgers are a 10-ounce fresh USDA prime meat.”

Tomato-chipotle 'sipper' /photos by Melissa Korman

Chef’s table in the kitchen

The chef’s table is like a private party set in the kitchen amid all the action. “It’s more or less an off-the-cuff degustation menu. We ask people when they book it to give us their dietary restrictions and any allergies or preferences – we take it from there. Sometimes, they prefer to choose – we’ve done an all-vegan menu, and others they chose, but mostly, it’s chef’s choice; a little of whatever’s fresh that day. It’s typically six or eight courses – we let the diners decide when they’ve had enough.

“The chef comes out between courses and describes all the dishes, and they get to watch their food and everybody else’s being prepared. It’s a fun experience.”

The Hamlet’s wine and spirits director pairs wines for the meal and concocts special cocktails before the dinner as well. The dinner’s price depends on the foods and courses served. The Chef’s Table is available whenever the club is serving an ala carte meals (not holidays or during special events).

The Dining Club membership is $250 annually and includes security passes and ID cards; this gets members and their guests into the dining room, lounge, private dining room for 40, and access to two boardrooms for meetings.

The Hamlet

  • 3600 Hamlet Dr., Delray Beach
  • 561-498-7600, main number
  • Open for lunch and dinner daily to members and their guests

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Where to Eat in Palm Beach County

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