The restaurant of his dreams would be an “all-day café meets neighborhood bistro,” chef Eric Baker told me some weeks before he and his partners opened Mazie’s on South Dixie Highway on the lot where Gulf Stream Bistro & Seafood Market once stood. Yes, the place would be stylish, would serve modernized dishes and cocktails, offer valet parking and take reservations. But at the heart of it, Baker, who served most recently as executive chef at the now-closed Max’s Harvest in Delray Beach, envisioned a spot where locals would feel so at home that they’d drop in several times a week.
The cool thing is Baker, along with partners Jason and Sandra Lakow, brought that vision to life.
Mazie’s is a sleek structure that frames a whole lot of heart and soul. This is evident in the clean, modern lines juxtaposed with exposed-brick touches, vintage family portraits and throwback posters. When you sit against one wall and gaze across the restaurant, past the busy dining room and open kitchen, you can take in the spirit of the place. It’s “big city” and “corner spot” all at once.
On a recent Tuesday night, I saw a mix of date-night couples and more casual families chattering over Baker’s comfort-inspired dishes. The communal spirit of the place reinforced the chef’s reasons for starting his dinner menu with shareable platters. At my table, we shared a warm curried crab dip ($16) that was rich, flavorful and served with hollowed-out mini bell peppers (for dipping) and small rounds of warm, fluffy naan. And because Tuesday is also homemade-pasta night, we shared a most delicious black olive agnolotti ($16, half portion). It was stuffed with goat cheese and tossed with charred cherry tomatoes, pancetta and burnt scallion vinaigrette.
There are heartier dishes, like Mazie’s earthy lamb meatloaf over polenta ($25) and chargrilled pork chop ($29), both worthy of our attention. And the restaurant serves daily specials, such as meat and potatoes from the wood-burning grill on Saturdays and tweaked Chinese “takeout” on Sundays. But I think the thing to do here is order starters, sides and nightly specials and share, share, share. It feels right in a place named for a chef’s beloved grandmother.
Once upon a time, Baker envisioned a neighborhood gem serving New World comfort food – and he built one. How lucky for West Palm.
- Located at 3815 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-323-2573; mazieswpb.com
- Open daily for lunch and brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner at 5 p.m.
- Deal: Mazie’s just launched a retro “Nachos & Cheesy Cocktails” happy hour, served all day at the bar and patio.