Some jokes just write themselves, and because I’m feeling especially lazy before heading in to the New Year where I’ll have to be a real functioning person again, I’ll let you take it from here after that title. Deck 84, the go-to place in Delray Beach for al fresco dining, live music, and Sunday Funday shenanigans (okay, Saturday too if we’re being honest about how much we Delrayians shenaniganize). To me, Deck 84 defines the vibe of Delray and is a true staple; before I moved to Delray and knew little about the town, it’s the place that I would always use to characterize the bustling yet laid back “Little Town By The Sea.” But just like any tried and true restaurant, in order to stay relevant, it needs to re-create and re-vamp every once in a while, which is why new Chef Michael Romano is serving up a new menu with flair (and crab dishes) to spare! I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try it, and good news for all: you’re gonna love it!
Step in to Deck and you feel like you’re on vacation (although at any given point probably about 30% of the people there are, and 5-10% of them on permanent vacation aka Snowbirds). Order a signature cocktail, and you’ll TASTE the vacation. And you EARNED it! (Tip: if you don’t believe that, just repeat it over and over again until you do – that’s what I do). For my first drink I chose my go-to, the Blackberry Lemonade, made with Bayou Rum, Creme de Mure, Lemon, Black Cherries and Club Soda. Seriously, where was this when I was 10 years old setting up my lemonade stand at the park across the street? So refreshing. Be careful – it goes down so smoothly you may forget there’s alcohol in it. Best to have a DD in place or your Uber account set up – it’s the one responsibility you can’t ignore on vacation! My second drink was another no-brainer, as soon as I saw the word “mule,” I immediately went after it. Side note: I went to Muhlenberg College for my B.A. and our mascot was the Mule. It might be the least intimidating mascot like, ever, but I find it funny that in my adult life I’ve come to love the Mule in such a different way. The Tropical Mule is made with Deep Eddy Peach Vodka, Pineapple Juice and Ginger Beer. It’s like Mules Gone Wild.
If pizza is BAE, then flatbreads are BAE’s hotter, leaner, sexier cousin. Get a flatbread that combines sweet and savory, and you’ve just taken it to the next level, which is exactly what Chef Michael did with the Brie & Pear Flatbread: poached pear, brie, miso bacon brittle, lemon-balsamic reduction and baby arugula. Yes, you read correctly: MISO BACON BRITTLE. Just when you thought bacon couldn’t get any better, BOOM!
I promised you’d get crabs, right? Well the first crabby dish that we got to sample was the Jumbo Lump Crab Stack, which is layers of crab, avocado, mango, pickled red onion and served with a chipotle remoulade for dipping. Every bite is so fresh; these are definitely the flavors of vacation.
These wings must have come from a chicken on steroids – they’re enormous! And not just big in size, the Sweet Thai Chicken Wings are large in flavor too! Sit outside at the bar with your Kalik (Bahamian beer – you cannot call yourself a beer lover without trying it) and these sweet and spicy wings while you watch your favorite sports game and BOOM – it doesn’t even matter which team is winning, because you are.
I like to think of this blog the same way Deck approaches their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes – NO FILLER. Just get right to the meat of things. Getting a crab cake with filler may be worse than actually getting crabs, although I luckily couldn’t tell you from experience. I probably need to quell the innuendos for a bit, or I may lose readers more quickly than the Giants lost their dignity this NFL season. PS, this dish is served with a mango salsa and asparagus. That sentence may have been an afterthought, but the taste isn’t.
Ready for more crab? Of course you are when it’s this good. This time it comes in fried rice form, served under a fresh, rare Tuna Steak, one of the most beautiful cuts I have ever sampled and seasoned just right. There’s also some delicious sautéed spinach thrown in there, and the plate is adorned with wasabi crema and spicy mayo to add in that much needed kick.
We’ve pretty much drained the sea, so it looks like it’s time to move on to conquering the land – and Deck 84 does this with one hell of a perfect Prime Flat Iron Steak. If my meat is still moo-ing when it hits the table, then I am one happy camper. This was an expertly grilled piece of meat, cooked to about medium rare and served with roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans and red wine sauce. It’s an entree worthy of a King, Queen, and even a Joker or two (like myself).
You bet I saved the biggest and baddest for last. Meet (meat) the House Smoked Brisket Sandwich – BBQ glaze, smoked chile cheddar, pickled red onion, and smokey aioli, on a ciabatta roll and served with, of course, french fries. THIS, ladies and gentlemen and glutton, is how you do a sandwich. GO BIG OR GO HOME! Biting in to that smokey, tender meat, I felt like I was right back in Texas. No one in Delray is doing brisket like this; it’s a total standout.
And of course, I gotta be Fashionably French Fries. This kimono I got through Stichfix. If you haven’t tried Stichfix yet, you’re missing out on a whole new world of fashion. They send you 5 items a month (tops, bottoms, shoes, bags accessories). Keep the ones you love and send back what you don’t. Everything that is sent is based on a style profile that you fill out to tailor the picks to YOU. It’s like a personal stylist sending you a present every month! Try it here: https://stitchfix.com/referral/11279438?sod=w&som=c
Whether you’re on vacation or not, treat yo’self!! Leaving a meal like this without a sweet ending is like leaving Florida without a tan or seeing a drunk start a bar fight. We were treated to the Chocolate Layer Cake which is locally sourced from Take The Cake Fort Lauderdale and the Coconut Shell, filled with creamy coconut gelato, a mango sorbet center, and toasted coconut shavings. Want to make this a real dessert party?? Add in a Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum Floater for just $4. It will be the best $4 you’ve ever spent – I could feel myself getting buzzed with each delicious, decadent, creamy bite. That’s the magic of Deck 84 – come in feeling crabby, and leave feeling full, slightly buzzed, but most of all, happy.
Still need New Year’s Eve plans? Head to Deck tonight! They’ll have their full regular menu in addition to a la carte specials. Live music from Bruja from 8:30pm-12:30 a.m. And of course they will be getting in to the spirit with fun party hats, noisemakers, and more. Not a bad way to enter in to 2018!
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.