Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fabulous Find: Chef Clay Conley's Buccan in Palm Beach!

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
I was very reluctant to write this post in the same way I am reluctant to give out the name of my favorite hairdresser...simply because when word gets out about something fabulous, everybody wants to try it! Such is the case with Palm Beach's newest dining option, Buccan (boo-kahn). This "progressive American grill" has only been open a few short months but, I am happy to report, it is nothing short of fabulous and at a (relatively) reasonable price point!

Buccan is the concept of gastronomically gifted Chef Clay Conley, formerly of Azul at Miami's posh Mandarin Oriental, who also worked under the tutelage of Todd English for over a decade, becoming Culinary Director for all 18 restaurants at the age of 29. Conley has finally stepped out on his own with Buccan which is a native South American and Caribbean name for a wooden framework on which meat was roasted or smoked, similar to a barbecue. The concept is a refreshing change to the Palm Beach culinary scene with its relaxed yet sophisticated Hamptons-esque decor that includes a vibrant bar scene, cozy "living room" lounge area, communal dining table and dining room complete with Chef's tables adjacent to the kitchen. 

Moi & Chef Clay Conley
The focus of the menu is its mouth watering small plates, served tapas style under headings such as "Raw," ""Crispy," "Flour and Water" (pasta), and "Wood-Fire Roasted" but there is a section of "Large Plates" as well if you're so inclined. Favorites included the Mushroom flatbread with Marsala-glazed onions, gruyere & black truffle vinaigrette; Shortrib empanadas with salsa criolla and aji amarillo; Spring pea risotto with seared bay scallops, mushroom vinaigrette & truffle; and Bacon wrapped tuna with sherry gastric, fava beans & grilled baby Vidalia onions. Believe me, I could go on!

Bacon Wrapped Tuna & Baby Vidalias
The menu is printed daily to reflect any changes Chef Conley deems necessary and the restaurant supports local farmers and  "sustainability efforts." The "By the Glass" wine list also has a lovely selection of both Old and New World offerings (maybe a few too many Chardonnays but who's counting) and some creative specialty cocktails including the Chez Suzette (elderflower liqueur, lemon and sparkling rose) as well as the Buccan T (vodka, black tea, cranberry, citrus, basil and agave nectar).

Buccan is located at 350 S. County Road on the corner of Australian Avenue in the space formerly occupied by Beach Bistro and Galaxy Grille. Next time you are headed up to Palm Beach, pack your appetite in your Louis Vuitton handbag and give it a try - I'd love to hear what you think!



  1. What an interesting new idea. Wish I was closer and could try it.

  2. I will have to try this when visiting my friend in WPB.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful place...and that cocktail sounds like something I could use right now :)


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