Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Spiffed-Up Entre Nous Delivers

October 6th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Entre Nous dining area

Entre Nous dining area

I went with friends last night to Entre Nous in their new location on U.S. 1 in North Palm Beach. What a transformation!

The rooms are beautifully done — it was nice under Mangia!, but the new decor is much warmer, and gives a more intimate experience, with banquettes and bistro benches along the walls, and tables strategically placed in the center of the room as well as around the great new bar.

We four went for just an appetizer or light meal, but it turned into something of a tasting affair.

First we were greeted by Candy Shreve, one of the co-owners — very friendly. Jason Laudenslager, the other owner, also came out to say hello. Kirk was our attentive waiter; he was prompt with most everything and took care to clean the table, pour water and deliver extras with no problem. A little more wine expertise, and he’d be the perfect waiter.

The chef sends out crostini with a delicious olive tapenade, and red-pepper hummus to munch while you’re choosing wines. We wanted a white — and went with the Trevor Jones Blend; it’s Australian and has a smooth balance that appeals to all our crowd ($32). (At home, this winery’s Boots Shiraz is one of our favorite “house” wines.) Their list, though small, offers several reasonable choices.

On the recommendation of my wine friend Andy Spilos, I had to try Chef Van Coyle’s clam chowder. A hearty bowl (enough to share) is a special this week ($7). Brimming with clams and in a chowder that’s neither too thick or thin, or floury (it’s more clear, but not the Rhode Island broth style), it’s flavorful, with potatoes, hints of applewood bacon, but with a definite citrusy hint that comes, we’re told, from lemon zest.

We chose a variety of salads for the rest of the meal: The classic “wedge” made the two guys happy. Nothing extraordinary about it, just a good iceberg wedge with red onion, tomatoes, and a garlic roquefort dressing ($6.50).

Robin, my work-weary buddy tonight, chose the Park Avenue salad: a plate of mixed organic greens, julienned apples, spiced pecan pieces and a vinaigrette of crumbled gorgonzola and champagne. Light and flavorful. My Mealmusic man Jimmy went with the shaved breasola salad ($10) — shaved pieces of cured beef fillet over organic greens, with a vinaigrette of black truffle, peccorino cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Almost as good as Cafe Boulud’s version.

My shrimp panzenlla was the hit, however: grilled marinated shrimp, on a stack layered with first, foccacia, then greens, roasted red peppers, thin crisp English cucumbers, more shrimp and dressed with a basil vinaigrette that soaks just a bit into the bread.Shrimp Panzenella Everyone oohed and ahhed over this one….and rightly so. It was both inspired and delicious. And at $9, a light meal.

A benefit of going in while they’re still in start-up stage: the chef sent out a plate of oysters Rockefeller for us to sample. My dining companions loved them — piled high with creamy spinach, flavored with caramelized onion and the fat oysters, presented on a rock-salt covered tray, they were eye appealing. I felt they were a tad too sweet, but was soundly outvoted by my friends. I think a glass of brut champagne would have changed my mind: our wine made them seem sweeter than they probably were. Again: My friends loved them. (If you try them, let me know what you think.)

My Mealmusic man says this is “My new favorite restaurant.”
Which means he’ll want to go often.
Entrees (with full plate of complements) range from $18 (airline chicken) to $35 for their 8-ounce barrel cut filet mignon — here, they use certified Hereford beef.

We’re not wealthy enough to do that often, so we’re going to take advantage of dishes like that shrimp panzenella at the bar, where a special menu offers low-price portions of main events. We LOVE it that they’ll be open after 9 p.m. — glory be! — a real restaurant with real food serving that late? Someone please help me support this and drop in late like we do!

entre nous logo

Entre Nous Bistro

  • 123 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach
  • (561) 863-5883; www.entrenousbistro.com
  • Open Tueday-Sunday, dinner only from 5 p.m.
  • Tags: Talking Tables

    3 responses so far ↓

    • 1 jimmyb // Oct 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm

      Really enjoyed the tapenade and the chowder, a very unusual but delightful flavor. I also liked the oysters and I think Jan was trying to be a bit too “gastronomically correct”

    • 2 Ben // Oct 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm

      This place sounds wonderful… and you know my phone number, so please call the next time you and entourage visit.

      Years ago, I visited a restaurant in Lake Worth and everything was small portions and we ordered about a dozen things and a bunch of forks… I loved every bite! Sounds like the same kind of experience can be had at Entre Nous Bistro.

    • 3 Charles Keefer // Oct 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

      A friend and I went to Entre Nous Wednesday night (10/08) and it was a delight except for the fact that we were the only diners in the restaurant. Eventually a couple of guys showed up to have drinks at the bar.

      We, too, had the wonderful shrimp panzenella and the oysters Rockefeller. I had the pork and she the “nothing but” crab cake. (Obviously, I didn’t take notes on the menu.) When time came for desert, we ordered the chocolate thingy and the chef brought out an apple tart with vanilla ice cream as well. Excellent.

      The meal was great, the service excellent, and the decor pleasing.

      Come on, people. Patronize this place. I want to go back.

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