RACK’S FISH HOUSE & OYSTER BAR
5 SE 2nd Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444
Reviewed and Photographed by: Les Noteworthy
Food & Service : This cozy eatery is located just two doors off Delray Beach’s famous “Restaurant Row” (Atlantic Avenue). It features an open air/ inside-outside bar, side walk tables, tightly packed interior, about 18 closely positioned bar stools with only a narrow walkway between a series of small tables. An open “show kitchen” as well as an open raw bar with seating is a plus for your visual entertainment . Tables were positioned in all available spaces, accommodating approximately 60 diners, plus the bar and raw bar seating. It offers a somewhat noisy, lively feel, yet still warm and inviting.
We were ushered to our table by their very charming hostess, and promptly greeted by our server. Clad in the uniform white shirt, casually loosened dark tie and black bistro apron, our friendly server was telling us he would bring water and then describe the specials, which he did. He was articulate in their description, as well as confident in his recommendations.
We continued to browse the menu and ordered conch ceviche ($14.00) with a side of truffle Parmesan fries as starters. Just before the starters arrived, our server swung by again to finish taking our order. My guest selected the Diver Scallops and Pork Belly, served with truffle mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts, while I opted for the Twin Crab Cakes with Cole slaw and cauliflower. Our server offered to substitute another vegetable for the
cauliflower if I preferred. I selected asparagus, but would have actually ordered a side of asparagus had he not made the offer. Memo to server…don’t offer until asked!
Our starters were promptly delivered… we shared and enjoyed thoroughly! The Ceviche was a perfectly sized portion, both beautiful and delicious! It was served in a lettuce cup, lovingly married with thinly shaved red and green bell peppers, red onion, cilantro and lime juice, finished with thinly shaved jalapeño medallions. Aside the lettuce cup was a mound of chilled sweet corn and lump of cold cinnamon spiced sweet potato, neither of which contributed anything to the dish. The fries were crispy on arrival, topped with lots of grated Parmesan and aromatic truffle oil. Yum!
Perhaps because my guest and I were chatting and not directly attending to the business of simply eating, our entrees arrived before our appetizer plates were completed or cleared, a fine dining faux pas. Because of the casual nature Rack’s it was not perceived as offensive, just a bit sloppy on the timing. It was a large table, so we pushed the appetizers aside to make room for the entree plates. The food runner did offer to remove them, but we declined as we were still picking.
When our server returned for his obligatory check back, I ordered a second glass of wine which sadly never arrived. I had to ask another server to help out, and it was then delivered almost immediately.
Entrees were nicely plated and thoughtfully positioned with the proteins displayed closest to each of us. The scallops were beautifully caramelized, although unevenly cooked, while the pork belly was incorporated in the sprouts more like lardons than a whole piece of pork belly, which in my opinion was not how the menu portrayed it. The dish was however delicious.
My crab cakes were somewhat small-ish, and clearly over cooked, served with only a small stainless ramekin of Cole slaw, grilled half lemon and asparagus left to fill an otherwise empty large plate. The asparagus was perfect, the Cole slaw tasty and the crab cakes were rich and full of lump crab meat. The cakes, despite their appearance were amply filling, but desperately lacked seasoning. I would recommend revising the presentation by using a smaller plate which might, in turn, make the portion appear larger.
When our plates were cleared we passed on dessert and coffee, although it was offered, and were presented with the bill clipped onto a small clipboard. This was a nice, casual alternative to the traditional check presenter.
As always, I ask myself, would I return to Rack’s Fish House & Oyster Bar? The answer is yes! It features a vibrant atmosphere, tasty food, generally efficient serviceand yet leans towards being a bit pricey for the atmosphere, quality and general feel of the room.
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely yes, given the above negative considerations and observations. Stop by Rack’s Fish House & Oyster Bar and tell them Les from DinnerReviews.com sent you! Enjoy!