, a club is "An organization that offers its subscribers certain benefits, as discounts, bonuses, or interest, in return for regular purchases or payments."
While this can be defined by a number of institutions ranging from book clubs to shopping programs, the oldest record date back to the 14th century, such as La Court de Bonne Compagnie (the Court of Good Company) where members would congregate to drink and dine with likeminded companions.
These sorts of groups eventually morphed into Gentlemen's Clubs catering to the English upper middle class and aristocracy of the 18th century.
Yes, it's definitely a bit elitist, but many of these "members only" institutions still exist today.
The iconic Boca Raton Resort is one such institution.
We recently got a chance to dine at its newest sky level dining establishment The Blue - sans membership.
See Also: The Blue Opens at Boca Raton Resort
Set on the 27th floor of the hotel, in the former site of Cielo, the restaurant offers a selection of new American fare, raw bar items, craft cocktails, and rare wines with one of the best views in Broward and Palm Beach Counties (it overlooks the intracoastal and nearly 360 degree panoramas from Fort Lauderdale to Delray Beach).
Executive chef Christine Tenaud has prepared a menu of creative dishes, such as grilled lamb chops ($48) with corn and rosemary bread pudding, carrots, and mache with dijon vinaigrette; lobster three ways ($46) with a classic lobster roll, corn-potato chowder, and lobster mac; char grilled octopus ($17) with glazed pearl onions, gigande beans, pickled peppers, and tender frisee; and pretzel bites and spreads ($12) with gorgonzola and spicy mustard spread.
A native of Peru, who grew up in Florida, Tenaud's most recent position was at Essex House in New York City.
The menu also features a raw bar with at least one east coast and west coast oyster variety at all times, as well as stone crabs (in season), and king crabs.
The cocktail list offers a nice selection of cocktails with high-end ingredients, like Angel's Smoke ($16), Angel's Envy tobacco infused bourbon, orange bitters, and Snap organic liquor; The Marilyn ($14), gin, Lillet Blanc, and creme de cacao; and the Scorcese ($15), Solerno Blood Orange liquor, aperol, and lemon soda.
The extensive wine list offers a wide selection of lesser know wines; if you're looking to discover something new, sommelier Roberto Colombi will pick out a rare, but complementary pairing for your meal.
On our visit he served Jermann's Vinnae Ribolla Gialla (Ribollla Gialla is the predominant grape in the blend from northern Italy) with appetizers and C.G. Di Arie Barbera from the Sierra foothills in California -- both were pleasant and unexpected.
If you get a chance to go, make sure to save room for dessert. Tenaud offers whimsical takes on dessert with items like a trio of ice cream sandwiches ($12), PB &J, S'mores, and salted caramel ice cream with ginger snaps; pineapple carpaccio ($10); and red velvet shortcake ($10).
Although the restaurant is usually only open to resort guests and members, it does host special events -- and you may be able to get a member friend to finagle a reservation for you, if you're lucky.
The Blue is located at 501 E Camino Real in Boca Raton. Call 561-447-3222, or visit theblueboca.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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