While some in foodie circles have alluded to a growing boredom with the whole "farm to table" thing, it's difficult to fathom how one could tire of the often-superior flavor of a product that has been locally sourced. This is particularly true when the kitchen on the receiving end of the delivery recognizes the sanctity of "farm fresh" and does little to muck up nature's formula.
The "farm to fork" concept at Max's Harvest in Delray Beach is nowhere near wearing out its welcome. The kitchen staff, helmed by executive chef Chris Miracolo, finesses locally-sourced ingredients, like squash blossoms from Green Cay Farms and microgreens from Farmer Jay Pure Organics, into plate-sized works of art. This is among the reasons Miracolo took honors as the Best Palm Beach County Chef
in the New Times
' Best of Broward/Palm Beach 2012 issue released last week.
The best olive oil you ever will receive as a complimentary pre-meal treat.
Photo by Adam Boot
That the service and atmosphere are equally pleasing helped to tip the scales in favor of Max's Harvest as this year's Best Palm Beach County Restaurant
. During a recent dinner at Max's Harvest, this decision was reaffirmed. Everything tasted just so, from the never-ending supply of complimentary crusty bread (served with olive oil so fresh I had to restrain myself from picking up the bowl and drinking it like a fine wine) to the final bite of a ricotta gnocchi with locally-foraged mushrooms.
Goat cheese balls to die for.
Photo by Tricia Woolfenden
With a dining room split into two sections and a tranquil outdoor patio, diners can find a comfortable space to settle in and listen to servers as they offer vivid detail on the origin and prep of many of the restaurant's signature dishes. For a more lively meal and a view of the open kitchen, angle for a seat in the front room. Date night calls for a table in the back, where low lighting casts a flattering glow and well-spaced tables mean you won't feel as if you're sitting in your neighbors' laps for the duration of the meal. Service here is attentive without being overbearing (or worse; stuffy), and it quickly becomes clear that the staff at this Dennis Max endeavor have been trained to have a firm grasp on the menu from front to back.
Who knew squash blossoms could elicit such a response.
Photo by Tricia Woolfenden
See more of Max's Harvest with a food/restaurant slideshow here
. Or, go behind-the-scenes with Miracolo and Clean Plate Charlie to see how to make bacon
and how to make pork belly
. Click here
for a full list of the best food and drink winners for New Times'
Best Of Broward/Palm Beach 2012.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.