I’m now a pimento cheese convert. Big time. All thanks to Chef Lindsay Autry’s take on the Southern comfort food, which stars as one of her noted dishes on the menu of The Regional Kitchen & Public House.
This is Autry’s first restaurant to carry her brand, her dishes, her menu, her way of looking at loaded pimento cheese, which has a smoky, zesty and totally wonderful flavor. She and restaurateur Thierry Beaud (he of Pistache, PB Catch and Panaterie Café fame) opened this food venture in a large space as part of the CityPlace area on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach.
The restaurant fronts Okeechobee (651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561/557-6460), and is a half-block away from the Kravis Performing Arts Center, which means you can grab a bite before the curtain rises and still get to your seat on time.
The building around the restaurant is getting a facelift, and now scaffolding surrounds The Regional’s front door. But it still looks swanky, and it’s worth finding your way inside.
Space inside is divided into smaller areas, making it cozier than previous occupants had envisioned. It has a warm tone, with tin ceilings and lighted, nicely framed photos of things like cabbage held up as works of art.
On the plate, those ingredients are works of art, if the appetizers passed around during a housewarming recently are any sign. We tasted pickled shrimp with Old Bay and lemon; veggie Greek salad with beets, carrots and feta; fried chicken with house sauce; some melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi; tomato pie with cheeses; crispy Brussels sprouts with sea salt and cilantro and zesty sauce, and panna cotta and… it was all worth having seconds and thirds.
Appetizers and salads are priced from $8 to $13 (pickled shrimp are $12, tomato pie is $9), entrees go from $14 (patty melt) to $30 (grilled ribeye). And the pimento cheese, prepared tableside with garnishes, club crackers, seasonal crudité and Florida blue crab is $4. Yes, please!
There are two full bars, one in a private dining area (pictured) and the other in the lounge area. There’s an outdoor dining area, and a large wine cellar.
We’re looking forward to trying the dinner menu, and the cocktails, and the dessert menu. Word is it’s fully booked for the week at least, so we are hoping The Regional lives a long, healthy life on Okeechobee.
Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.
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