Last week my friend Lisa came to town. Lisa is a die-hard Bostonian. Each time she visits I lobby her to move to South Florida, but no dice. It’s probably a good thing – if she lived here she would be my best friend and neither of us would ever get any work done.
So Lisa and I had one chance to have dinner together. Lisa is a restaurant connoisseur; in fact I think her middle name is Zagat. We spent all afternoon touring West Palm Beach and deciding which downtown restaurant would fit the bill for our special night.
We settled on two possibilities, right next to each other on world-famous Clematis Street. We would either go to one of my regular haunts, Don Ramon, or its new next door neighbor, Kabuki.
On the way there, though, we walked past Wine Dive, and were drawn in by its unique vibe. We sat at a high-top table in front, so we were in the shelter of the restaurant and dining alfresco at the same time. Ah, the beauty of South Florida in the winter!
We loved the atmosphere, and the interesting menu, which featured exotic martinis made with pear juice and lychee and food choices like wild boar and rabbit. Of course, the wine list was extensive, and the tapas menu was varied. I was excited to see my favorite offering, falafel, on the menu. Joy! I was going to have a contestant on my search for the perfect falafel.
We ordered our martinis and got into the serious business of choosing our food. I let Lisa steer – she is the consummate expert.
Our server, who was friendly and adorable, came back to tell us they were out of the ingredients needed to make our martinis, and to make any of the exotic martinis, other than the chocolate one. Neither of us wanted a chocolate martini before dinner. We both agree that chocolate martinis, though wonderful, are dessert drinks.
Well, we decided that since the place was called Wine Dive, maybe we better order wine. I have to admit, the wine was lovely.
We ordered an assortment of tapas to share. From column A we ordered four-cheese flatbread with truffles, from column B a “warm dive salad” and from column C my beloved falafel and some tuna tacos.
Our server told us they were out of the rabbit, which we didn’t care about. He also thought they might be out of the ingredients for our salad, and they were definitely out of my falafel. Oh no! So of the things we ordered, at least half of them were not available. That’s weird, right?
As it turned out, our salad was available, and was delicious. We also got the lobster mac and cheese, which was to die for.
As our meal went on, we found that everything was mighty tasty, plentiful enough, and fun to share. The background music was perfect, and the food presentation was divine. Had our server not disappeared for most of our meal we probably would have drunk some more wine.
My friend Lisa would make a meal at McDonalds a fun and classic experience, so it is probably hard to give a fair review to the restaurant itself, but here goes.
Wine Dive gets an A for atmosphere and food quality and a D for food availability and service. With all the great choices available on Clematis, unless you are willing to spin the wheel and maybe get what you want, or unless you have a hankering for wild boar, you might want to think twice before bringing a first date or a business associate there. For an evening out with a great adventurous friend, I recommend it.