The word is out about the teal building on the corner of NE 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Delray Beach, the 3rd and 3rd eatery and bar, where inventive grub happens daily and where cocktails are more than a methodical pour.
Inside, is owner’s John Paul Kline’s living room: a laid-back space he created (even with some of his own furniture). There are soft leather couches, intimate tables, a rustic four-sided bar and a listening room where Kline has a tuned piano, a pair of acoustic plug-in guitars and an amp and speakers for local musicians to drop by and entertain. The walls are filled with the work of local artists, who helped decorate.
This is the very definition of a hangout for locals, by locals, a place that instantly feels like it has been here for years.
The food, however, feels as modern as it does homey.
Take the lamb belly ($14). The unique flavor of lamb settles into the background to round out the dish, without overpowering it, as a thin layer of skin is nicely crisped. It sits over a puree of ramps, alongside braised pearl onions, tender fiddlehead ferns and local tomatoes.
Nothing on the plate is just for show, as the braised pearl onions, tender fiddlehead ferns and local tomatoes are each cooked as if they were the main course. It’s fine that the 3rd and 3rd building is nondescript. All the better to show off its bold, daring menu.
3rd and 3rd: at 301 NE Third Avenue, Delray Beach; 561-303-1939; 3rdand3rd.com; Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., when most drinks are 2-for-1.