It couldn’t have been a more perfect evening than January 18th, 2023 to celebrate Chef Daniel Boulud or the extraordinary success of his second location for the renowned Café Boulud at The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach. The tall, majestic coconut palms for which Palm Beach Island was named were swaying in a gentle, balmy breeze off the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The night celebrated a milestone, marked a reunion, and homecoming of sorts. Café Boulud Palm Beach opened in 2003 at The Brazilian Court Hotel, after owner Richard Schlesinger convinced Chef Boulud to bring his cuisine to Palm Beach after his first visit to the area. Boulud fell in love with Palm Beach, and Café Boulud became a natural fit in Palm Beach as it is the winter home of many of his sophisticated New York clientele, and The Brazilian Court, as Chef Boulud says is the “Jewel in the gem that is Palm Beach.” Boulud’s Palm Beach location has remained a sparkling jewel in his empire of restaurants. Since his fateful first visit and decision to open a restaurant, Palm Beach has been an instrumental part of Chef Boulud’s life; it’s also where Daniel met his wife, Katherine, who he married in 2013!
As a long-time South Floridian with a New York background who fancies fine dining and has been on a first-name basis with many of the nation’s top chefs and restaurant owners since childhood, attending this celebration and tribute to Chef Daniel was wonderful. Not only is Daniel Boulud one of the most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs in the world, it is a true testament to the kind of person he is that every Executive Chef who worked at Café Boulud Palm Beach from its inception attended the gala, and presented their own culinary creations. Starting with Chef Zach Bell, a Boulud alum who was handpicked by Daniel Boulud after working for him at Daniel in New York to lead the kitchen at the new Café Boulud Palm Beach in 2003. After a number of years, Zach went on to be Executive Chef at Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, where I was a member. Believe me when I say, I was ecstatic to hear that someone of his caliber would be our new chef! Zach is now at Lost Tree Country Club in North Palm Beach, returning to Café Boulud Palm Beach to share his sumptuous Quiche with Caviar. Rick Mace, another notable South Florida Chef who succeeded Bell and now has his own restaurant, Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach (we dined there as a matter of chance a few nights before, and loved the vibe and the food!) Chef Mace returned to share a succulent BBQ version of Pastrami as well as Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri. Chefs past and present posed for photos with Chef Boulud and mingled with guests while showing off their culinary talents along with a host of Boulud favorites, perfectly prepared by Executive Chef Dieter Samign, including the most sumptuous Charcuterie table I’ve ever seen, mini-Lobster Rolls, Caviar and Buckwheat Blinis, Crab Cakes, and my personal favorite, Daniel Boulud’s Chickpea Fries with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis. (I secretly hoped they would be served, and they did not disappoint!)
Aside from being one of the most recognized chefs on the planet, Chef Boulud is a down-to-earth guy, who has his fingers on the pulse of what’s going on—with some 20 restaurants worldwide, he still takes the time to know his customers on a personal level. I first met Chef Boulud seven years ago when he was dining out at another Palm Beach restaurant with Chef Marcello Fiorentino of the renowned Marcello’s La Sirena in West Palm Beach, another favorite. Before I knew it, both Marcello and Daniel Boulud were at my table—Marcello wanted to introduce Daniel, who was most enthusiastic about my then upcoming book and passion for cuisine and writing for Venü Magazine and my own blog. Fast forward—Chef Boulud not only remembered meeting me back in 2016, he also knew I had just been a wine judge at the American Fine Wine Competition in Miami several days before. With several hundred high-profile guests and clients, literally the “Who’s Who” of Palm Beach and New York Society, I was most impressed that Chef Boulud took the time to know about me—that says a lot!
The majestic, historic courtyard at the gorgeous Brazilian Court Hotel was transformed into an Ipanema Nightclub meets Palm Beach for one of the most spectacular soirées of the season! Picture swaying illuminated palm trees, freely flowing Champagne, wine, and cocktails, caviar at every turn, exquisite passed hors d’oeuvres, food stations ranging from meat to seafood, to charcuterie, and beautiful desserts and macarons, and a table adorned with gorgeous fresh fruit, and authentic Brazilian dancers—One Night in Rio is definitely a night to remember!
Café Boulud Palm Beach features a French-American menu, created by Chef Daniel Boulud and Executive Chef Dieter Samijn, which parallels that of Café Boulud New York with a touch of South Florida flavor. With a spotlight on the incredible seafood and produce of the region, the menu showcases classic French dishes synonymous with Boulud himself, modernized to suit the cosmopolitan palate of Palm Beach. Think Local Spiced Mahi with Key West Pink Shrimp and Curry Leaf, Pan Seared Scallops with Brussels sprouts and Miso Jus and classic Dover Sole Meunière filleted tableside.
The place to see and be seen, the dramatically backlit bar is a must for guests looking to enjoy inventive cocktails and craft beers served throughout the day, or to enjoy the crowd and scenery. The Bar menu served throughout the day features dishes perfect for sharing. A long-time favorite for brunch, Café Boulud always features something to please the palate and stimulate the senses.
The Courtyard Terrace at the Brazilian Court and the restaurant’s elegant Dining Rooms with a shimmery ceiling made from seashells and Pecky Cypress have long been the place for Palm Beach locals to be entertained in style, to throw a lavish event or host a memorable wedding day. The wine cellar is filled with vintages from every continent and led by their on-staff sommelier. The impressive array of selections is arranged by grape variety and their team of experts is always available to suggest pairings for your dining experience. ☐