A lot of restaurants talk a big game when it comes to “farm-to-table’’ menu ingredients, but The Cooper in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., lives it every day. It helps, of course, to be within two hours or less of some of the most fertile farm land in the U.S., not to mention only a few minutes from the fishing grounds of the Atlantic Ocean.
Oh yes, Executive Chef Adam Brown is one of the best in South Florida – he’s twice been on the winning team at the Delray Beach Garlic Festival – and brings a passion for farm-to-table cuisine that’s to match. Thus, Brown and The Cooper a perfect culinary match.
Located along trendy PGA Blvd., The Cooper specializes foods and beverages sourced whenever possible from local farms, food artisans, small-batch distillers, and craft brewers. Founded in May 2014 by noted restaurateur Richard Rosenthal, The Cooper mixes sustainable seasonal dishes with classic American cuisine tweaked with a little Mediterranean and South American flavors.
“American Eclectic’’ Brown calls it.
Brown recently unveiled The Cooper’s Fall/Winter menu that is resplendent with locally grown herbs and vegetables, as well as fish.
The Fall Harvest Salad, for example, features local spicy arugula and Tuscan kale, shaved radish, roasted beets, carrots, squash, toasted pepitas, creamy goat cheese, spicy pickled wax beans and cider emulsion. My favorite way to begin a meal at The Cooper, however, is with the Salumi and Cheese Board that offers guests a selection of three cheeses and three meats with garnishes. Try it and you’ll discover what it’s one of the more popular items on the menu.
For those who prefer more eclectic starters, try the Grilled Spanish Octopus with roasted fingerling potatoes, crushed olives, chorizo, kale and salsa verde. The octopus is slowly braised in extra virgin olive oil and then charred on a grill for added flavor.
The Korean lamb ribs are another on the “must have’’ list. The dish features 16 lamb ribs, 24-hour, Korean-style marinated, slow roasted and char grilled, accompanied by traditional kimchee and dipping sauce.
For entrees, The Cooper’s Fall/Winter menu features a variety of steaks, including a terrific center cut filet mignon, as well as Yellowtail Snapper from the Keys, and from Northeast Florida, Amelia Island Shrimp Spaghettini with local heirloom tomatoes, shaved garlic, white wine, pomodoro, broccolini and torn basil.
The Cooper has added Saturdays to its brunch schedule, which includes bottomless mimosas and a gourmet Bloody Mary bar. Mixologist David Bouchard also has broadened the bar’s craft cocktail offerings with the addition of three new drinks: The Cooper Cooler, Trader Vic Mai Tai, and the Paper Plane.
Each goes great with Mini Cooper Sliders or even the Bacon-Braised Brussels Sprouts.
American Eclectic cuisine? Yes. But I just call it “delicious.’’