By: Diane Feen Contributing Writer
Fifth Avenue Grill has always maintained a special place in the hierarchy of restaurants with pedigree and patronage. The dark soothing wood paneling, the dim lighting setting the tone for mysticism or methodology, and the cuisine fit for royalty.
This landmark institution – that has been in downtown Delray for the past 29 years – is sacrosanct in its heralded position as a place to dine in refinement and refuge. That is not to say that the food is not equally as beloved. Quite to the contrary, the food is as coveted as the restaurant and is prepared with an eye for exclusivity and excellence.
It’s also a place where locals (and celebrities) dine in anonymity with ease.
The Simon family – who have lived in Delray Beach as long as the infrastructure – come to Fifth Avenue Grill as a rite of passage.
“Since its creation the Fifth Avenue Grille has been The place for fine dining, lunch or dinner, a position previously held by the Arcade Tap Room (until it closed). The interior was elegantly finished and furnished, with a structural, but visual, separation between the main dining room and the lounge/bar. And the food was excellent,” architect Roy Simon said.
Some things never change – but despite some of our primal urges for constancy – Fifth Avenue Grill has changed only one of its footnotes. And that is ownership. The new owner is Carl DeSantis, restauranteur, raconteur and savvy businessman. To know Carl is to know that this landmark restaurant is in good hands. Judy Zolnierek, a long time associate of DeSantis is also working closely with the management team on restaurant operations.
That’s something most of its regulars count on. And newcomers as well.
“My cup runneth over,” said Gail as she exited Fifth Avenue Grill with friends Dee and Anna. “The service was amazing (Alex), the food absolutely delicious (ground sirloin) and my servers care and personality were so engaging I can’t wait to come back,” said the Clermont resident who couldn’t help but enthusiastically embrace General Manager Glenn Fiedler on her way out.
Fiedler is the keeper of grace at this serene space that stops time and temperament with food to die for (not literally of course). Fiedler was working as a sommelier and server at Fifth Avenue Grill when it opened its glorious doors 29-years ago. He is now the General Manager and keeper of all things elegant. “We have recently replaced the chandeliers in the dining room but most everything will stay the same. Carl’s name is synonymous with quality for a reason,” said Fiedler.
It is Fiedler who will tell you that Fifth Avenue Grill is the only steakhouse in Delray Beach and that they have the largest wine list around. “We always win the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.”
There are 1020 different wines that range from a $4,600 bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild to a $26 bottle of Bollini Pinot Grigio. For a great glass of red wine try the Napa Valley Pahlmeyer Jayson.
If it’s food you want their world is your oyster. They have the finest cut of meats – from deep fried Fillet Mignon to Bone-In Filet Mignon, Prime Rib (made daily), New York Strip, Lamb Chops, Braised Short Ribs in Balsamic Red Wine Reduction and everything in between.
The Escargots Bourguignonne with duxelles and shallots are legendary, and the jumbo Lump Crabmeat with Belgium endive and Jalapeño Remoulade is perfect. Seafood entrees range from Lobster Tails to wild Alaskan Salmon and shrimp scampi.
They also have a divine lunch menu with favorites such as signature soups and salads (Barbados seafood salad is one), filet mignon, steakhouse burgers and entrees to impress.
When the holidays arrive there is no more festive place in town. With 75,000 Christmas lights – that take three weeks to set up – Fifth Avenue Grill turns into the North Pole with glittering fanfare that extends throughout the premises. It could make any scrooge smile with glee.
That is what entrances the Simon clan. “During the Christmas season the building comes alive with festive decorations. It has become a MUST to dine during that period for the pure enjoyment of admiring the decorations and the atmosphere created. On New Year’s Eve the Simon family and friends continue the tradition of celebrating the New Year’s arrival with a party, beginning the evening at the Fifth Avenue Grille. That legacy has been continuous since the 1930’s,” adds Roy.
Fifth Avenue Grill has Happy Hour from 4 to 7pm (Sunday and Tuesday to Friday) Brunch and Lunch. It’s a place where quietude and elegance co-mingle, and an 80-page wine list exists in all its splendor.
“We remain the same friendly and calm ambience where you don’t have to wear your diamond tiara to dine here. Our staff has been here for years and we continue to be a local treasure,” said Fiedler.
Fifth Avenue Grill is located at 821 SE Fifth Ave. Call 561-265-0122 for more information.