Thursday, May 23, 2024

The new Cafe Boulud

It doesn’t matter how long I live here—a zip up to Palm Beach, especially in season, is just a little bit more magic than most places in the known universe. Last Thursday was no exception, at a party designed to celebrate the reopening of Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court hotel after a significant renovation—or as they say on The Island—a refreshing.

First of all the bar (above photo by Nicholas Fecks) has moved to center stage and is all chic and sleek with pecky Cypress wood-paneled ceilings, limestone tile on the floor, a glow-y bar made of something like quartz—all very California-New York-Barcelona, as opposed to old Palm Beach. And the bar is important (DUH) not only as a social gathering spot but because it introduces a less fussy component to the restaurant in its all-day dining bar food—not exactly what you might associated with Chef Daniel Boulud in the past.  Think soups, salads and sandwiches, including a Maine lobster roll and a killer Cuban sandwich.

This more “approachable” motif is also reflected in the new menu designed by Boulud and Executive Chef Rick Mace, which balances light local dishes like Florida stone crabs and rock shrimp ceviche with Boulud signature dishes like bistro style steak tartare, soupe à l’oignon gratinée, pheasant pâté en croûte.

The Courtyard Terrace is still the same (yes!) and it was filled with all kinds of well wishers and chefs and hospitality types and foodie writers—in short, the most fun crowd you ever get in Palm Beach. The great man himself, Daniel Boulud, was there with his usual self-effacing charm as was Lauren Hastings, Senior Designer of LSI Designs, a division of Copperline Partners, who redesigned the space.

“Our goal was to create a contemporary, harmonious design for this classic French restaurant, that retains its trademark elegance, while providing a refreshing and totally accessible modern look that is comfortable and current,” she said.

It’s a new season now and it’s certainly a new vibe at Cafe Boulud: More fun, more accessible, more welcoming—but just as delicious.

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