Monday, October 21, 2013

A Top-Notch Trip To Palm Beach's Brazilian Court Hotel

By: Anne M. Raso

I have always loved Cafe Boulud in New York and always use it to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. About 18 months ago, I discovered that they had a location in one of the top boutique hotels in the world, The Brazilian Court which is smack dab in the center of Palm Beach. I reviewed it here back then and admit that I found both the setting and the food even more alluring than the Upper East Side (Manhattan) location. There is just something wonderful about the quietness of the dining room and the way the huge windows look out onto the lushest and most exotic greenery in Palm Beach, including many large Bird Of Paradise plants.
Brazilian Court Courtyard Fountain

This time around, I took in the hotel's guest and functions rooms before sitting down to lunch with my mom. The Brazilian Court was built in 1926 and is built around a lush courtyard that has long been the favorite of many celebrities for its lushness and solitude. The centerpiece of the courtyard is a charming and famous fountain of a child pouring a bucket of water. Many people have gotten married in front of this fountain and when I went to check it out the other day, world famous party planner Colin Cowie was assisting a couple planning to take their vows there. I listened in for a moment as he told the couple and their attendants where they should stand and what type of flowers and other decor would be set up for their ceremony. Then I went into the ballroom and loved the hues of green and orange and the way that half of it could be totally open to the outdoors, allowing party guests access to both a ballroom vibe and courtyard charm!
Brazilian Court Courtyard
I noticed that thanks for the Hollywood legends that have stayed at the Brazilian Court, there were many suites named after Tinseltown heavyweights including Marlon Brando and Rudolf Valentino. I visited a two bedroom, two bathroom suite Joan RIvers stayed in recently and loved the lush orange and green tones used in the furniture and linens that mimicked a lot of the plant life outside in the courtyard. The large oversized furniture was welcoming, and the marble bathrooms were sleek and elegant--with oversized showers and soaker tubs! (Joan Rivers swore to the management upon leaving that this is the only place she will ever stay while in Palm Beach!) There are many reasons while the BC has won so many awards and has been voted the #12 best resort in the US!
Brazilian Court One Bedroom Suite
When it was time to sit down for lunch with my mom, we were touched that a special menu had been prepped just for us. It seems that Executive Chef Rick Mace and Chef Pattisier Eric Snow personally make up menus for the luncheons based on clients' dietary needs and preferences. They two young chefs totally pulled out the stops for us. We started out with Hiramasa Crudo ($21), which was made with yam puree, cubes of butternut squash and finished with ponzu vinaigrette and pieces of cilantro as well as Pintade En Ballotine ($18), which is pastry encrusted pieces of Guinea Hen with celery root, candied walnuts and drops of fennel apple mustard artistically dropped all over the plate. Both chefs have a futuristic eye for presentation of their dishes.
Hiramasa Crudo
We had a delightful pasta course of Sweet Potato Gnocchi ($26) with duck confit, citrus bread crumbs and crispy sage that I personally would say is the best pumpkin pasta I have every had. The duck confit added the right amount of saltiness and buttery flavor to the sweet gnocchi.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
My mom had the Grilled Loup De Mer ($36) as her entree--which was a skin-on grilled piece of branzino served with potato confit, grilled Romaine lettuce, Chanterelle mushrooms and brown butter lettuce cream. It was a dish of locally caught or grown items and the freshness was incredible. I had the All-Natural Amish Chicken ($29), which was served with carrot mille-feuille, Beech mushrooms and frilly mustard greens. The carrot mille-feuille was a work of art--there must have been 40 layers of sliced carrots that had been soaked in carrot juice and then baked into a sweet and sauce stack of wholesome goodness!
Amish Chicken
For dessert, my mom had a Pear Chestnut Gateau ($12), which was simple poached pears with chestnut chantilly and Poire Williams sorbet, while I has Pineapple Coconut Dacquoise, ($12) which was basically coconut sorbet sitting in a wonderfully creamy lemongrass anglaise. There was squares of poached pineapple on the plate as well, making for a little bit of tropical heaven. I have to add that the tuile cookie shaped like a pear on the top of my mother's dessert was simply too artistic to eat--but she did it!
Pear Chestnut Gateau
I noticed the diversity of the crowd that stays at the Brazilian Court and eats at Café Boulud. You indeed see a lot of Louis Vuitton bags, but there is the occasional rock star looking to stay out of the fray and even just young families looking for a quiet vacation. The cost of the rooms during the peak season start at $499 for a “studio suite” and $649 for a one-bedroom suite. If you can’t afford those prices, get a small taste of Palm Beach luxury by coming to Café Boulud for their daily $20.99 price fix lunch special. It’s Palm Beach’s best-kept secret and certainly it’s biggest bargain! For more info on both the hotel and restaurant, check out (Just LOOKING at this beautiful website can help you relax in the middle of a hectic workday, LOL!)

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