I wasn’t sure what to expect at HMF, the new drinking and dining venue at The Breakers in Palm Beach.
After all, HMF – named for the landmark resort’s founder, Henry Morrison Flagler – was replacing L’Escalier, one of my favorite fine dining experiences. Wouldn’t I miss the white-jacketed waiters serving with one hand behind their backs, wheeling a silver vessel filled with different champagnes up to the table before dinner?
As we left the lobby, the sound of Cole Porter music filled the hall – the first sign HMF was going to be different from the more formal L’Escalier. New York designer Adam D. Tihany has transformed the Florentine Room, a large space that used to contain the Tapestry bar and L’Escalier, into a stylish and sophisticated space.
Everything on the large menu of small plates here was full of flavor, with fresh, quality ingredients. The Greek Spiced Lamb Sliders on Pita ($19) were tender with just the right amount of spice. The Orecchiette pasta with Tuscan duck sausage and wild mushrooms ($22) was fragrant and creamy. The Churrasco Steak Chimichurri ($24) was tender, and the best chimichurri I’ve ever tasted.
The cocktails – my husband’s classic Manhattan ($15.50) and my Mojito Royale ($13) with rum, lemon grass and kaffir lime syrup – were well worth another round. Cocktails range from $10.50 to $15.50.
We may still miss the white-jacketed waiters, but we liked our first experience at HMF so much that we have been back. We didn’t have reservations, which you really need now because HMF has become the place to be on the island. Everywhere we go people are talking about how much fun it is and how good the food is.
But, one tip: Don’t try bribing for faster seating. A woman in front of us kept pushing a $100 bill at the hostess who made it clear – in a nice way – that they do not accept money for tables.
—Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
HMF, The Breakers, One South County Road, Palm Beach, 561-659-8480, hmfpalmbeach.com.