Palm Beach Steakhouses and Grills

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Yet another new steakhouse opened in Palm Beach this year, “The Meat Market,” with all the glitz of a New York garmento ’50s restaurant and bar that expects a scene more appropriate to Miami Beach than to Palm Beach. It replaces a failed mafia-style steakhouse; one wonders why people make such investments. We went to see for ourselves and agree with the word around town that it won’t last.

It got me to thinking about the way Palm Beach and close-by West Palm Beach have changed in the last few years as regards steakhouses and grills.

First, there was the “Flagler Steakhouse,” owned and operated by the Breakers Hotel. It’s fabulous, re-designed and expensive. We prefer to sit on the terrace…what could be nicer than a beautiful night on a beautiful terrace? As this restaurant is owned by The Breakers, they run a shuttle bus. Tables of 10 or 15 people dining inside is normal — and noisy. Eat outside or eat elsewhere.

Realizing that there was a market for high end steakhouses, “Morton’s” opened 10 or 15 years ago. We think they deliver the best steaks in town. Somehow, we always forget to go. Shame on us.

Then came “Ruth’s Chris.” We’ve never been there.

Meanwhile, the Hillstone Group opened “The Palm Beach Grill” on the Island and it was a huge success. To this day it’s hard to get a reservation, and when you do, you generally have to wait 15 minutes at the bar unless you come at 9pm.

Eddie, long the manager of the Palm Beach Grill, opened “Table 26” with a group of local investors. It’s a great hit.

Noticing the Grill’s success, a different group of local investors opened “Buccan,” similar genre as the Grill, different menu. Very successful.

This, of course, begat “Bricktops,” which is a chain founded by one of the founders of the Hillstone Group. Its menu is almost exactly like that of “The Palm Beach Grill,” and it’s good, but as it came here second, it’s known as a wannabe.

And then came “Del Frisco’s” with yet another grill right down the block from The Palm Beach Grill. They are doing everything right and nobody is returning. They were busy last year as everyone gave them a try and liked them. They are virtually empty this year as there are just too many of the same kind of restaurant on this little island.

What Palm Beach does not have is good ethnic food. We hear that Chin Chin has closed and is looking for a lease. Jimmy, come on down!!!

Doug Anderson

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