Deck 84 Steps Up to the Plate

Thursday night I got the chance to check out Deck 84 (840 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561/665-8484), Burt Rapoport’s casual New American eatery in the old Busch’s Seafood spot on the Intracoastal. And if the crowd that jammed the place like a swarm of hungry locusts was any indication, he’s got the season’s hottest new restaurant on his hands.

It was tough to see a lot of the restaurant’s design specifics given the wall-to-wall throng, but there’s no denying the spectacular setting, with 150 feet of dockage and outdoor dining right along the water, not to mention equally stellar views from indoor tables. The large rectangular bar already looks like a happy hour hotspot; throw in weekend live music and DIY Bloody Mary bar and you can expect the joint to be jumping.

I did manage to snag a few tastes off Deck’s extensive and user-friendly menu, done by chef Chuck Gittleman. The chicken lettuce wraps, Black Angus sliders and ricotta cheese-topped meatballs were all exactly the kind of dishes you’d like to eat sitting outdoors and watching boats crawl by on the Intracoastal. But top billing goes to three words: Cheeseburger Spring Rolls. With Deck’s own “special sauce” to dip them in, they’re ridiculously tasty. . . haute junque cuisine at its finest.

Deck 84 is open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Definitely worth a visit.