Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Patio Delray Takes Over Pineapple Grille Spot in Delray

November 3rd, 2010 · 10 Comments

Open just seven weeks, Patio Delray is the new restaurant tucked away off George Bush Boulevard at the Intracoastal in Delray Beach.

Owners Dirk and Lily Buccheit have transformed the former tropical, beach-themed Pineapple Grill (later, Pauline’s) into a chic dining spot, with a dining room, bar and European cafe-like outdoor patio. Photographs from Buccheit’s friend Mark Widick, and paintings of Florida scenes – all are for sale – decorate the walls.

Hands-on owners and home-like atmosphere

The menu is eclectic – with what Dirk calls “something for everyone.” Lily says it’s meant to be like “home – where we know what you like to eat and drink.”

The hospitable couple are hands-on. Dirk, an aircraft mechanic and pilot, has no restaurant experience, but works front of house. Lily owned the Japanese Steakhouse in Boca Raton for 30 years, and works both front of house and the kitchen.

Appetizers include a tuna tartare, a stack of cubed ahi with a topping of avocado, and crisp shrimp puff crackers on the side. The creamy corn chowder with chorizo was definitely a hit of the evening when we dined; my tablemates agreed they’d return for that dish alone.

A pheasant pate, not too spicy, but just right – was served with a dried cherry and fig compote with grilled toasts was the perfect table-share with our apple-y Sauvignon blanc. We’ll be back for this, too.

Entrees proved tough to choose from. Smoky baked chicken (house smoked) – with warm, mustard creamed potato salad and fresh grilled asparagus won over our non-red-meat eater. He declared the potato salad the best he’s had – tiny fingerling potatoes, sliced, and lightly roasted, tossed warm with a creamy whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

The short rib beef stew with root vegetables and a cornbread muffin was another homey, delicious dish. Bone-warming and just right as a comfort food. Long-stewed lean-cut rib meat, so tender no knife was necessary, over caramelized carrots and potatoes – with a pile of crispy fried potato strings – simply satisfying. Kudos for the corn muffin – which was more cornbread like rather than the cakey stuff that should be iced and served as dessert instead.

The signature crab-stuffed Madagascar prawn – over herb-ricotta ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce was also a hit. One enormous prawn (think small lobster) filled the plate. A plate redesign was needed because the prawn was so large, it overhung the plate – new dishes were summarily chosen for this presentation. The flavors married well – a simply steamed prawn, with head on, and the creamy tarragon-mushroom sauce showed the chef’s restraint – not so heavy. One change they’re making from the night we visited – a nest of fine sweet potato threads atop the prawn were unneeded, so will not be on future plates.

Enticing, and seen at another table, was the huge Duroc pork rib chop, with the same fig and dried cherry compote served on the pate.

For dessert: Nutella creme brulee, or homemade berry ice cream. Both winners – but the entire meal proved a positive experience.

The bar will prove popular with Happy Hour guests, and the outside patio will likely be a choice spot for those weekend brunchers – brunch will begin Thanksgiving weekend here.

Patio Delray

  • 800 Palm Trail, Delray Beach
  • 561-279-0880
  • Open from 4 p.m. till close; weekend brunch begins Nov. 27.

Tags: Restaurant Reviews · The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Zsofia // Nov 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Yes, I can just agree! Great food, excellent service!
    The tuna tartar is delicious and Lili’s cocktails are amazing!
    The Nutella creme brulle – heavenly!

  • 2 Michelle // Nov 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks for trying Patio Delray, Jan. I just knew you would love it as much as me and my friend, Mary Aperavich. I had the green salad with mango dressing, sea bass and homemade raspberry sorbet/ice cream when I went. I rolled out of there happy!!

  • 3 Scott Simmons // Nov 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    A lovely experience, to be sure. That potato salad was a winner, any way you slice it.

  • 4 William // Nov 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I was not impressed with the food. Very un-original and a throw back to the eighties… I’ve definitely had better.

  • 5 Nicole // Nov 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    My girlfriend and I ate here tonight after taking our dogs for a walk. Our dogs are regular restaurant diners but they are still dogs – they take a few minutes to lay down and be quiet. No one has ever had anything but wonderful comments to make about our dogs – until tonight. The manager – who I assume to be Lily – was extremely rude before we had even sat down – commenting on how annoying dogs can be at dinner and asking us to move them. My comment anyone else who may be looking for a relaxing dinner outside – don’t bring your dogs here – or to the managers – don’t allow dogs. Although they say they are pet friendly in their outside dining area – they are not. Also, there were 3 waiters working – all whom were nervous every time Lily came by them. She clearly is not giving them enough positive encouragement if they are scared whenever she came around. It is note worth that all 3 were extremely personable and helpful when they were not being monitored so closely. Lily should learn to trust her staff and not breathe over their necks. We placed our orders – an appetizer and an entree to split (only because we were not very hungry – we have plenty of money to be spending at restaurants…) The food was pleasant and I very much agree that the potatoes were delicious. But considering how painfully obvious it was that the manager did not want my girlfriend and I there, the food service was slow. When the check was finally brought over – the appetizer had not been marked as per the Happy Hour special – at half price. My girlfriend and I already felt so unwelcome that we decided it was not worth our effort to argue the matter.
    It is a great shame this experience to Patio Delray was not wonderful because we walk by that restaurant several times a week and we were both hoping it would become a favorite stop on the way home.
    I have never felt so unwelcome at a restaurant. I really hope the managers can learn to let their business grow by being friendly to the locals, letting their staff members be confident and successful hosts, and to honor their Happy Hour prices….
    Or I hope a new restaurant will move into the area just as fast as the last 3 have over the past year.

  • 6 Mary Aperaavich // Nov 13, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Dirk and Lili have created a fabulous restaurant experience. The food, service, entainment and atmosphere are all over the top.

  • 7 Jessica Aperavich // Nov 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I have eaten at Patio Delray about four or five times and have thought it’s wonderful each and every time. I don’t want to start a blog fight but have to disagree with a couple of Nicole’s comments.
    I was there Thursday night as well. I was meeting friends for dinner before having to attend a party near by. Too bad Nicole didn’t ask to speak with the owners, I had the treat of eating dinner next to them at the bar. I have to say I was also impressed with their own quality control. One appetizer and entree was good but it wasn’t up to their standards and they went back to the kitchen immediately to take corrective action. Having been around opening restaurants that’s encouraging to see. Patio Delray hasn’t even had a Grand Opening yet! I’m sure they would have loved Nicole’s feedback first hand while they are working out the kinks these few weeks.
    As far as the 1/2 price appetizers, while sitting at the bar a server and the bartender came to one of the owners for him to apply the discount. I guess the new computer system still had some issues, I know how that can be. Sometimes you have to bring it to someone’s attention.
    This is also neither here nor there but I’ve run into friends there that had their dogs with them and they all seemed very happy.
    I’ve enjoyed the amazing food and delicious wine and recommend it to absolutely everyone. I’m looking forward to the few minor kinks being worked out and this place becoming a staple for Delray Beach dining. (So much so that I’ve booked my rehearsal dinner there before my upcoming wedding.)

  • 8 Jan Norris // Nov 14, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I appreciate everyone who comments, but several comments that were unbased personal attacks (and copied from other web sites) have been removed from this thread.
    My readers want to read honest opinions about restaurants – good or bad. Experiences vary for everyone. Give your opinion about your experience and don’t conjecture about someone else’s. Take personal attacks elsewhere – the web is full of sites where you can be a published jerk.

  • 9 Dirk B // Nov 15, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Dear Nicolle,

    Thanks for leaving your feedback on Patio Delray.
    I will not comment on the dog issue since being a dog owner myself (we have 2 newfies and a mud) I know how emotional the subject is.
    Especially when it come to restaurants where the needs and desires of regular diners meet those of people loving their pets.
    But here is to the things that concern your experience with our restaurant:

    As for the nervous wait staff: we were open barely for two weeks when you came by.
    Our personnel is therefore brand spanking new and chances are that you where served by someone who was very fresh in serving our guests and therefore a little nervous.

    Please don’t mistake the eagerness to be good at their jobs and be attentive to our diners for fear and nervousness.

    I believe we have a great team of people working together. Of cause it will take a little while to get to know each other well and have a perfect flow of things.

    Please be a little patient with this newly born establishment. Trust me Lily and I both have fait that when the little kinks that always come with new adventures (computer system ect.) are ironed out our diners have a good time at the patio and the staff will be happy to spend their working hours here.

    I deeply regret that the happy hour item was not properly marked down. I’ve been fighting with this POS (I believe they mean Point Of Sale even I can think of another name for it) for the last 3 month and just now (100hrs later) get the upper hand.

    If you had said something I am sure Lily would have gladly corrected the mistake.
    Sorry about that.

    I am happy that you liked the food since that is one of our most important priorities.
    We have worked very hard on the menu/recipes and are glad to hear that our guests like it.

    Anyhow, I am sad you did not have a good experience when you came by.
    Your comments have been heard and will help us to make the Patio Delray a prime spot to spend an evening in a relaxed atmosphere under friends.

    Wish you all the best,

    Dirk B

  • 10 Goldstein // Sep 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Dogs and restaurant what a unsanitary mix. Did we return to 17th century? Why would anyone impose on the public their selfish and odd taste to dine with a animal. So unappetizing.

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