Delights, disappointments at PB Catch

PB Catch Seafood and Raw Bar is the latest addition to the Palm Beach restaurant scene. Located at 251 Sunrise Ave., it’s the latest venture of the partners behind the successful West Palm Beach French bistro, Pistache.

The décor is upscale modern yet comfortable and inviting, with cushy white leather setting, well-designed lighting and lots of mahogany wood. A large raw bar runs the length of the main dining room and is semi-detached from the lounge and bar area. PB has successfully created a lovely upscale casual space.

I am told that the menu changes regularly depending on the local seafood purveyors’ inventory. PB Catch’s menu has a mission statement: “Proudly promoting local fishing and sustainable seafood programs.”
I have been there a number of times, and the experience has varied from really good to not so good.

The first visit was a recent Saturday night, and the place was fairly packed at around 8 pm. We chose to sit in a nice, cozy table in the more intimate lounge area off the bar. We started with the appetizer sampler ($22), which consisted of tuna tartare, cerviche and crab and coconut salad. All three were fresh and delicious. For dinner, I had the grouper – simply grilled but scrumptious. In between courses, we tried a shooter, which consisted of a Blue Point oyster, Grey Goose vodka and cocktail sauce. It was a bad choice — the vodka was so overpowering you could barely taste, no less enjoy, the oyster.

On a second visit, we sat at the raw bar, which is really lovely with lots of oysters and other fresh shellfish on display. The only drawback is that you have your back to the main dining room, so there is no opportunity to people watch, which is usually half the fun on the island.

We tried the Wianno oysters ($18 for a half-dozen) from Nantucket Sound, and they were a bit small but tasty. We also had the mussels ($12), which were done in lemon grass and coconut milk broth and served with a large piece of toasted bread (crostini). The dish was outstanding – the mussels were plump and tasty, and the broth was yummy.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the mahi-mahi ($29) entrée, which was done with a parmesan-macadamia-zucchini crust and a side arugula salad with avocado, orange slices and toasted coconut. The fish was extremely bland and slightly mushy. The salad was dry, tasteless and lacked the goodies described above. We took a few bites and left the rest. We also had a side of caramelized soy-infused Brussels sprouts and French fries (all sides are $7). The Brussels sprouts were more than infused — they were swimming in the soy sauce. Thank goodness the French fries were good. When the waiter removed our plates and asked us how everything was, we told him that our entrée was very disappointing. He dismissed our comment, and we left after settling our check.

At these prices and PB Catch’s location, you would expect that (what appeared to be) a seasoned professional waiter would acknowledge a problem with an entrée that was barely eaten. Needless to say, the experience was very disappointing.

PB Catch is open Monday through Saturday, with the raw bar and lounge serving from 4 p.m. The full dinner menu will be available from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Appetizers range from $12 to $18, and entrees are $15 to $39. There is a full bar and extensive wine list. For reservations, call 561-655-5558.

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