So there we were, spending a most delightful shabbat in West Palm Beach as a scholar in residence, lecturing on Kashruth and the UTJ.
Considering that when we left NYC it was a cold day, the 77 degree Florida weather was a welcome relief.
Motzei shabbat, our host took us to Eilat Cafe in Boca Raton for a wonderful meal.
We have given this considerable thought. We are not exactly sure of what to write about this restaurant. Yes, the food was quite good, but the rest of the story is not quite as clear.
Our first thought was that we might be guilty of NYC snobbery. The more we thought about it, however, the more we thought that that was not the case. The restaurant serves very good food. The rest of the package leaves something to be desired.
As you approach the restaurant, you are confronted by a young tootsie seated outside the tightly closed door of the restaurant. Apparentlly, she is the guardian of the door as well as the keeper of the royal reservation log and waiting list. And, yes, you will wait for a table. We waited close to twenty minutes for a table (at 10:00pm no less) and that was in spite of the fact that none of the porch tables was reserved nor were they filled.
The tables are nicely set and comfortably spaced. The chairs are the same stackable plastic chairs that you use for your back yard BBQ. No heavy, wooden chairs here- just cheap plastic. In addition, each person who walks through the porch section causes the floor to bounce. Hang on to your bread!
Servers are clearly well taught and know their jobs. The food, of course, is the star of the show. The food is fantastic. Prices are a tad high, but then again, almost every Kosher pasta house (the only kind we do visit) we have eaten in charges way too much for what is essentially a bowl of noodles with sauce.
Portions are large and very tasty. We had the Penne Ala Vodka. As the menu promised, it was loaded with mushrooms (at least three kinds so far as we could tell), onions and garlic. The serving was huge- we struggled to finish it all! And it was taam gan eden.
Our host had an appetizer for dinner- the portabello mushroom. It is marinated and served with sundried tomatoes, garlic and spinach. It, too, was a huge portion.
Desserts at Cafe Eilat are in a class by themselves. First of all, if you go there, order one dessert for two people. It is quite impossible for one person to eat an entire dessert (after a full meal) there. The patisserie is stocked with enough carbs and sugar to send a diabetic into insulin shock! But, ooh la la, are they good! Of course, what dessert would be complete if it didn’t come on a “painted” plate? Ours was painted with chocolate sauce and raspberry sauce. To die for, simply to die for.
The decor inside is fairly non descript. The porch is the place to sit. Service is a bit on the slow side, but well worth the wait. Prices are, as we said, a tad too high. The restaurant claims to be Zagat rated.
According to our waiter, one off -menu offering that night was Chilean Sea Bass. We were quite skeptical as to what the fish really was as CSB is pretty much off of every one’s menus now due to international restrictions. Yet, at $34, we were not willing to take a chance. The restaurant did not inspire that kind of confidence.
Typically of kosher restaurants, one lady decided to share her cell phone conversation with the entire porch. Not one waiter suggested that she absent herself from the porch.
The restaurant is good. It has aspirations of greatness. As good as it is, it does not live up to those aspirations.
Eilat Cafe: 6853 SW 18 St.
Boca Raton, FL 33433
561 368 6880