Aliza Byrne lights up the doorway when she welcomes diners to Kitchen, the small bistro she opened with her chef-husband, Matthew Byrne, in the fall of 2013. A woman of striking, Palm Beach-svelte looks, she greets you in the disarming way of an expert dinner party host welcoming you to her home.
Moments later, you’re catching snippets of often juicy conversation from the adjacent tables (yes, the place is that intimate) and discerning the berry-spice-oak notes in a glass of Hitching Post pinot noir, feeling very much at home.
You may not realize it, but you have hit upon the reason the Byrnes opened Kitchen in the first place – they envisioned the space as an extension of their home and hearth. It’s a tiny, well-utilized space in a small plaza on Belvedere Road near downtown West Palm. Tiny but not trivial.
There’s nothing trivial about chef Byrne’s approach to ingredient-driven, modern American cooking. Byrne, a former personal chef who spent seven years cooking for golf great Tiger Woods, offers a menu that’s as inspired by the season as it is by his comfort food likings.
A simple asparagus appetizer is made lush with a salty wrapping of prosciutto, a smear of French goat cheese, a poached egg crown and a bed of toasted bread crumbs – meet chef Byrne’s rendition of bacon, eggs and toast.
Among entrée options, you’ll find the Kitchen Burger, a loaded-to-the-hilt burger of three cuts of meat (brisket, grass-fed chuck and short ribs), luxed up foie gras and caramelized onions. There’s also Chef Byrne’s favorite: a buttery chicken schnitzel topped with a seasoned tangle of arugula and sweet onion and a gorgeous fried egg. That egg breaks over the lightly acidic greens, finding an echo of richness in the crispy cutlet.
ADDRESS: 319 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach
2013 review rating: FOOD: A; SERVICE: A