Not even a few weeks into season, and West Palm Beach's Kitchen is already running on a two-week, pre-booking reservation schedule. The 36-seat dining room is booked full each night as chef-owner Matthew Byrne, once Tiger Wood's private chef, prepares his small tasting menu.
To expand the concept while still keeping with the original vision, Byrne and his wife, Aliza, recently took over the newly-vacated space next door to their small bistro. Dubbed simply The Den at Kitchen, the room is a causal extension of the main concept, offering a space that has multiple uses.
The new 700-square-foot Den is less formal, explains Aliza, with a five-table banquette and three-seat wine bar that is able to serve as a waiting room for those with reservations, a private seating area for large parties or chef's tastings, and (on busy nights) can provide a table for walk-ins without reservations.
"What we found, recently, is that we needed more space," said Aliza. "The nice thing about the Den is that it allows us to accommodate more customers, and we don't have to worry about taking up a table if they only want a single dish and a glass of wine."
Byrne and his wife can also plan for private dining parties of larger groups, she added. Previous, the private chef's table in an adjoining room could only seat 12. Now, as many as 21 people can enjoy a taste of Byrne's 4-course tasting menu for $70 per person, a compilation of the season's menu.
"Everyone gets to try a little bit of everything, and we work with everyone's dietary wishes," said Byrne. "This type of cooking is really Matthew's specialty, and he just shines when he's working in this setting. It's part of our contented to success."
The addition is encouraging for Byrne and Aliza, who have upheld their philosophy of keeping it simple. In the past year, their contemporary American brasserie has managed to produce an experience second-to-none in the West Palm Beach area. Both are there nightly to ensure your experience is no different than walking into their own home -- just one of the many reasons New Times named them "best new restaurant in Palm Beach County" this year.
A Philadelphia-native, Byrne began cooking at the age of 12, working in the kitchen after school at the restaurant next door to his mother's office. There, he fell in love with the industry, helping chefs to do the small chores and eventually working the line right alongside them. During his earlier years, Byrne was fortunate enough to work with some of the area's top chefs, including those at Bistro St. Tropez, where he was introduced to a family that would later ask him to be their private chef in both Pennsylvania and -- for several months out of the year -- South Florida. Later, he was introduced to Tiger Woods, and became not only his personal chef, but also the estate manager of his Jupiter home.
Kitchen offers six seatings each night (6 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m.; and 8 p.m., 8:15 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.). The restaurant is located at 319 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-249-2281, or visit kitchenpb.com.
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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