Cafe Boulud Showcases "Florida Cracker" Fare

Cafe Boulud Showcases "Florida Cracker" Fare

Palm Beach's Cafe Boulud, the sister restaurant to Manhattan's Upper East Side location, is cooking up something special this season with a limited-release menu that reflects one of Daniel Boulud's four culinary muses.

Every quarter, the Boulud menu changes to reflect a different facet of these four culinary ideas, beginning with "La Tradition" -- an interpretation of classic French cuisine. "La Saison" reflects a harmony with the seasons. "Le Potager" is named for the French vegetable garden. And "Le Voyage" offers a taste of Boulud's own interpretation of various world cuisines.

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With his most current "Le Voyage" section of the menu, executive chef Rick Mace has chosen to highlight the region's indigenous fare, bringing "the lost food and flavors of Florida" to the plate

Mace, who grew up in Ohio and relocated to South Florida in 2013, is articulate about all things culinary, and it's always interesting to hear him speak about food -- particularly Florida food and flavors. The current culinary offerings at Cafe Boulud are inspired in part by Native American Indian tribes and the Florida "cracker" (that's right, Mace said it: He's referring to the Colonial-era English and American pioneer settlers and their descendants) who first colonized Florida.

"I always wanted to delve into Florida's land and sea offerings and decided to make it the focus of the current Le Voyage menu," said Mace. "There is always a story to tell about food and where it came from, and to me, this is quite the story."

The menu, titled "Le Voyage: Florida Cuisine, 500 Years of Fusion," offers appetizers, main entrees, and desserts that source ingredients to reflect this theme. That includes Royal-red shrimp with Florida citrus, cucumber, and nasturtium (local watercress), and heirloom tomatoes with pickled watermelon rind, peanuts, and chèvre.

For the main course, patrons can try locally raised sheepshead with callaloo in a coconut and banana-flavored Jamaican curry. Mace also sources a duo of Kurobuta pork and venison, the former paired with elderberry, Johnny cakes, and swamp cabbage while the latter comes with preserved pumpkin, sunchoke, and cactus pear.

For a sweet "Florida-style" ending, the restaurant has prepared an Indian pudding pie with sweet corn sorbet, cornmeal tuile, and molasses. Or check out the passionfruit and roasted mango with coconut rice pudding and ambrosia sorbet.

Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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