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Dec 27, 2010 10:08 AM

Need Delray Recommendation

Event though I live locally in Ft. Lauderdale I have friends staying in Delray and want to have dinner with them at a great place. Aside from 32 East I am not that famiiar with most of the better restaurants so need some ideas.

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  1. Well Delray has a TON of restaurants, but not a lot of better restaurants, lots of great restaurants but most are aimed at the upper casual side. That said, here are a few that are on the better or more upscale side...

    1. Sundy House. On one acre of botanical gardens so the ambiance itself is special and unique. Just gorgeous. However, the food is not consistently great. It's good, but can be very hit or miss. They do have a really great brunch on Sundays if you chose to make those kind of plans. Bottom line, don't have high expectations of the food and you should really enjoy yourself, and out of towners always love it.

    2. Cut 432, a "hip" steakhouse if you will. The usual steakhouse suspects with modern twists and a fun and modern decor. Quality is there and service on point. Great wine list and always a good experience every time I've been.

    3. Tramonti, I personally don't see what everyone loves about this place, but people love it and it's always busy. It's Italian and the food is good, but not spectacular. The ambiance is very nice though. Especially if you can get a table on the patio and watch all the people on Atlantic. The one thing I do like is the menu is large and laid out like it is in Italy, i.e. antipasto, pesce, pasta etc. However they have reduced that over the years. So you can go and eat like they do in Italy with multiple courses.

    4. Prime. This is brand new so I can't comment at all on it. But a steak/sushi/seafood is what they are calling themselves. It's a great and beautiful location, but so many restaurants have been in and out in this location so, not sure what will happen with this one.

    5. Brule Bistro. I love this little place. It's charming and the food is very good. The chef owner is very nice and talented. Great value to be had, but it's not fine dining, but the food almost is. I go here when I'm not in the mood for 32 east, but still want a great meal.

    I'm sure I'm forgeting someone, and I haven't been to Bamboo Fire, so I can't comment there. I'm sure someone on this board will fill you in there or just search for one of the numerous threads on it.

    All that said, I still think if it's amazing food you want, 32 East is by far my favorite and hands down choice. I just love their food and am never disappointed only amazed at the flawless execution and flavor profiles they produce still after all these years. It's not the best ambiance or service, however both good, just not great, but the food is just that good makes up for the imperfection elsewhere.

    1 Reply
    1. re: timxph

      2nd Cut432. One of the best happy hours in town on happy hour/bar food AND drinks. The dinners are great too, but it's kind of expensive. My friend had filet mignon and said it was the best she's ever had. I LOVE the ceviche, oysters rock, mini burgers, mac n cheese, brussel sprouts.. I can't remember what else I had at the bar, but it was all great and excellent hh pricing.

    2. Can anyone give a little more info on Brule and 32 East? Like: price points, type of food, reservations (in my case specifically Wednesday night--would I need them?). I'm in WPB, and my cousin is in FLL, looking to meet up in the middle for good food (me) and decent atmosphere (him). Thanks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Alcachofa

        Brule: moderate pricing (great value for quality imo), no entree is over $30 and they offer petite versions. apps start at $7 go to $14. Type of food is contemporary American bistro food. meats, fish, pastas, salads, etc. The website has the daily menu to see more. Brule does not take reservations. As far as the atmosphere, it's like a nice college place. I don't know if that makes sense, but it just reminds me of a great place you'd find in a liberal college town, like Boulder or Austin. But it's relatively small, maybe 60-75 seats. Some outdoor seating. A bit of an ecclectic mix of furnishings, black boards, nice colors and art. Only beer and wine served.

        32 East: A tad pricey, but not crazy. Apps range from 9-17ish and entrees from 25-40's. Again contemporaty american food, nice mix of it all. Their menu changes daily as well, but they don't post it on their website. I'd recommend reservations, even on a Wednesday to be safe this time of year. The food and atmosphere is more sophisticated then brule. The atmosphere is dark and jazzy. Could be a set for a madmen episode. Kinda retro sophisticated vibe. Food is always perfectly prepared, Chef Nick is very talented.

        Hope that helps. I think you'll be happy with either choice depending on how much you want to spend. 32 east is going to be more of a 'great dining experience' where as brule is going to be more like a 'nice relaxed dinner'.

        1. re: timxph

          Thanks for the info. Cousin's wife suggested Dada, and it looks like that is good also.

          1. re: Alcachofa

            Dada has been excellent every time we've been there...

      2. I had a bad experience at 32 East . They refused to honor a reservation for my party of 8 on Friday night, after it had been confirmed twice by phone earlier in the day. Unpardonable.

        That said, it stands alone as the best fine dining in DRB. I had a bad experience, and I haven't been back since on principle. But before that, I ate there once a week. The food and service are excellent, great drinks and excellent wine list, and if you eat outdoors, there is a non-stop parade of comically bad behavior and ill-advised fashion choices strolling and rolling by for entertainment. It's quite floor show.

        Sundy is nice if you are there during the day to enjoy the gardens. Just beware if they have a big wedding or other event - you will definitely pay the price in bad service.

        Locals call Tramonti's Tramplemonti's. It's extremely crowded, uncomfortably so for my tastes. You have to yell to converse. The food's pretty good, and if you get a good waiter, so is the service. I'd go to Lake Worth (Il Paradiso or Rustico) or south to Boca's Trattoria Romano for high end Italian.

        Brule serves good food in an informal atmosphere. Takeouts from there have been consistently above average, but I've never eaten inside. I like it, nice place with good food, but I wouldn't call it a "great place".

        Tell us more what a "great place" is for you and maybe we can provide more leads

        1 Reply
        1. re: 4ZFood

          You're certainly right about Tramonti packing them in there. I've always enjoyed their food, though it can get a little tight.

        2. Thanks for all these recommendations. We ended up at 32 East and it was a disappointment. Not the same great food execution we experienced last time. Going to Cabana on Friday and hope it's going to be a better choice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DolceFarNiente

            If it sounds like you would like 32 East food but more in a DaDa environement, I continue to recommend Tryst as my fav place in Delray. Especially delightful to dine outdoors this time of year.
            It's actually sort of the result of a mixed-marriage between those two places, with "shared" owners and mgmt. And i think you get the best of both worlds there.

            1. re: CFByrne

              Thanks - I will definitely try it!!

          2. I definitely think DaDa should be on the recommend list. Excellent dinner there Wednesday night. I think I saw somewhere it described as "comfort food with a twist". That description is selling it short (primarily because the phrase is sooooooooooooo overdone). Great mix of entrees and appetizers, nice patio space just far enough away from the zoo-like Atlantic, resonable prices.

            The Chicken Del Rio was very satisfying, and Mrs Alcachofa had the Salmon in a maple and habanero glaze. (If you are chili-averse, don't worry, this was not spicy at all.) The appetizers also were enjoyable, with everyone especially enjoying the beef tenderlion skewers and the mozzarella and avocado salad.

            Only quibble would be that the wine list is lame, and the cocktail list was just fruity mojitos... not exactly evidence of any care in the alcohol element of their menu. But would definitely return.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Alcachofa

              Agree the wine list is weak, but I think DaDa is a place with above average character and interesting food. Much more casual than 32E. The meatloaf is excellent, the turkey mignons are interesting (dressing is overly spiced for my tastes), the above-mentioned salmon is very good, and their fish specials are always fresh and tasty. A nice place without spending a ton of money, and valet parking.

              1. re: 4ZFood

                I definitely enjoy the turkey mignon. It's a thanksgiving dinner wrapped in bacon... Yum

              2. re: Alcachofa

                I'm pretty sure they can make any cocktail but they emphasize mojitos. They certainly have a full bar, a friend of mine always has Jack Daniels there.

                1. re: smartie

                  Yes, I understand they have a full bar, but I don't know if they really know what to do with it.

                  Would like to repeat I enjoyed the place and would recommend it.