Florida State Bird
Raindancer Steak House in West Palm Beach
By: Charles Giuliano - Feb 10, 2024
The concierge recommended Raindancer Steak House (2300 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard ♦ West Palm Beach? (561) 684 2810). On our first attempt the traffic was hairy and we opted for what proved to be a wonderful barbecue restaurant literally across the busy highway, Park Avenue Barbecue and Grill.
While an enticing moniker we never learned what raindancer meant. The restaurant was founded in 1975 and retains the look, cuisine and tradition of the all but extinct American steak house.
The Norton Gallery in West Palm Beach was so immense and intense that it required two visits. The first time we had dinner at a local, mediocre, sushi restaurant.
The second Norton visit concluded around 4:30 PM. In this account timing proved to be crucial.
After several days the GPS route to our hotel was locked in. As was the offramp to a cluster of restaurants.
Having enjoyed barbecue we decided to seek the steak house. That entailed a tricky and hazardous u turn. In afternoon daylight it was readily negotiable.
We entered what proved to be an exotic dark cave. A guide dog would have helped to make our way to the table. As is too often the case, the hostess guided us to the worst possible seating. This was all the more annoying as at this hour the restaurant was sparsely attended.
After a subdued confrontation, looking about, she inquired where would you like to be seated? That should not have been necessary.
While artfully lit in a romantic manner is was so dark that we couldn’t read the menu. We fired up our smart phones to peruse the options. The steaks ranged from $59 to $89 not including add on options. As pensioners on the run we were open for anything.
The waiter was efficient but formal and distant, particularly, when we asked for water as our drinks. Clearly, we were not whales and he responded accordingly.
We settled into this vintage Little Italy experience serving the Florida branch of ersatz Mario Puzo characters. It is, after all, part of my Sicilian heritage. Always be sure to be seated with your back to a wall. You never know and better to be safe than sorry.
For once I grooved on the ambient music. It was a connoisseur’s selection of Ella, Frank, Sarah, Billie, Annie Ross, Billy Eckstein and Johnny Hartman.
The old school taste in music provided a fluid appreciation of an exquisite dining experience.
Overhearing the conversation at a nearby table the term Early Bird floated by.
I had the temerity to inquire of a passing waiter if they had any specials? The hostess and our server had not made a point of providing that information.
He responded positively and returned with the Early Bird menu. He added a jaunty quip that Early Bird is the official state bird of Florida.
We were well within the book-ends of 4 pm to 6pm. One must be seated by 5:45.
It is $27 for a prix fixe menu of salad, entrée, and dessert. Now that’s more like it, though I would have loved to try their porterhouse. I opted for filet mignon tips au poivre. The regular menu had that entrée at $32 not counting the Caesar salad and scrumptious crème brulee. Astrid opted for grilled sword fish.
Back in the day I enjoyed many an early bird dining with Mom and her friends in Palm Beach.
My dish entailed a generous serving of tips in au poivre reduction. In particular I enjoyed the hints of pepper. The meat was tender, well marinated and flavorful. We both chose baked potato, with butter for her, and sour cream for me.
After a delightful and romantic dinner, on the way out, I complemented the manager on their wonderful music. That proved to be yet another reason to check out this steak house.
Just be sure to be seated before 5:45 pm. On a second attempt we just missed the cutoff and opted for plan B; the terrific barbecue joint just across the street.