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