Some 22 years ago, Ron Rosa founded POLPO RESTAURANT AND SALOON (in Greenwich, Conn) — an “[u]pscale Italian fare & seafood, paired with a premium wine list, in an old-world atmosphere with piano bar.” A native of Calabria, Rosa supposedly uses all his family recipes, together with some “regional dishes from Tuscany and Milano.” Since it gets glowing reviews, when we heard that an offshoot opened at Eau Palm Beach — 100 South Ocean Blvd, Manalapan (Florida) — we thought we’d visit the place.
POLPO PALM BEACH, is under the leadership of Executive Chef Neall Bailey who has worked at the Willard (in Washington, DC), Hotel Eden au Lac (in Switzerland), and has collaborated with the likes of Robert Sulatycky, Joachim Splichal, and three-star Michelin Chef, Antoine Westermann.
Given that backdrop, we had high hopes and started with one of our favorite dishes, the “Linguine con Vongole – white or red clam sauce” ($36 pre-tax/tip). We went for the “white,” which Food Network star Rachel Ray makes with anchovies. (Ray thinks they’re the “secret ingredient.”) For her version, you’ll need Manila clams, EVOO, anchovy fillets, garlic, thyme, lemon, chili paste or crushed red pepper, white wine or dry vermouth, salt, butter, parsley, linguine, micro celery for celery tops.
This dish needs to be packed with a nice balance of garlic and spicy flavors accompanied by firm (but not chewy) pasta. And most agree the fresh claims must add an unmistakable “tang of the sea.” And happily, that’s what we got here. While it was an enjoyable dish, we had an issue with Polpo’s parsimonious pasta portioning and price, ($45 post-tax/tip), so it ultimately rated a “B-.” Which, in the scheme of things, ain’t bad. (But I thought it deserved closer to a “C,” though.)
Well, at least it wasn’t a total clam-ity.
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