Heart of Darkness

Great white hunters get jungle fever at the Leopard Lounge

Other appetizers worth trying: duck ragout with potato cake, she crab soup, fresh tomato bruschetta, seared ahi tuna with wakame salad -- all relatively exotic when set against a list of entrées (priced from $21 to $36) straight out of some fusty old London men´s club. You´ve got your steak, your chicken Paillard with mashed potatoes, your seared sea bass, your snapper français with potato gnocchi and ginger-tomato chutney, your rack of lamb, and your center-cut pork chop. If these dishes are as competently put together as my chicken parm schnitzel ($21) or my spouse´s New York strip ($36 served with a baked potato and asparagus), they´ll neither disappoint nor rock you. The chicken schnitzel had been pounded thin and crisp, coated with Parmesan and crumbs, served with a wedge of lemon and a perfectly respectable mound of butter-laden mashed potatoes. It was underseasoned and definitely needed a good soaking with the lemon. The New York strip had been beautifully seared outside and wasn´t overcooked. It was a huge piece of meat, generous to a fault, although the beef itself I thought a tad on the stringy side (really good steak is getting harder and harder to find these days). The baked potato was fine, the asparagus crisp and green.

For dessert ($8), a key lime tart had the right texture but a bitter aftertaste. Toffee pudding -- a square of bready toffee cake soaked in extra-sweet butterscotch sauce with a scoop of vanilla ice cream -- tasted just like a really good stack of breakfast pancakes smothered in syrup. I´d recommend instead something from the menu of the flirty dessert cocktails and after-dinner drinks.

Here´s another thing I love about the Leopard Lounge it´s got all kinds of specials going on; it´s like it never says die. It throws open those doors at 7 a.m. and doesn´t close until 1:30 in the morning. You could come back a dozen times and never repeat your experience. There´s a daily afternoon tea, for instance. And a prime rib night on Tuesdays for $24.95. Happy hour every single afternoon from 5 to 7. A ¨romantic rendezvous¨ prix fixe for $140 for two. And all kinds of entertainment, from drag shows to dance bands. Then there´s the clientele...

Joe Rocco

Location Info

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The Leopard Lounge

363 Cocoanut Row
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Palm Beach

Details

The Leopard Lounge Supper Club, at the Chesterfield Hotel, 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach. Open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch 7 a.m. till 2:30 p.m.; afternoon tea 3 till 5 p.m.; dinner daily 6:30 p.m. till 1:30 a.m. Late-night menu. Call 561-659-5800.
Palm Beach

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Terminally hip out-of-towners like to come to Palm Beach and dis our tatty old Leopard -- just do a blog search if you´re looking for material. Yeah, there´s a lounge singer with his Casio belting out Barry White tunes. (Listen, he does OK with them! And what song could better pair with the swirling red ceiling than ¨Ecstasy¨?) There are the sartorially inept jokers wearing $700 lime-green slacks (Where do they find them? Oh, right, two blocks away on Worth Avenue); the Southern lady lawyers screaming into their cell phones; the big shots ordering $400 bottles of champagne; the doyennes -- newly resurfaced skin stretched tight and shiny as latex over jutting cheek and collarbones. You´ll get your occasional celeb sighting here, but in season, it´s mostly octogenarian romancers getting freaky on this dance floor. Go ahead and laugh, but the essence of Palm Beach life, its glorious hypocrisies and bad hair, has been condensed here into a swell little microcosm that can´t fail to amuse you. If only because, like Capt. Kurtz going slowly mad in his jungle lair, you´re so thoroughly not of it.

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