[REVIEW] The Office in Delray (FL) Restaurant Review
-The Office was opened in 2009 across the street from its sister restaurant, Vic and Angelo’s with the tag line, “Where Casual Meets Refined”.
-Located on the corner spot of the bustling Delray strip, the Office offers ample patio seating along both exposed sides of its space.
-Inside, the main draw seems to be the busy bar, catering to the big sports fans looking to watch the game on their flat screen TVs. The dining room is comprised of wooden walls and ceiling, and a long row of mirrors above banquette seating and a few tightly packed freestanding tables.
-The décor is more Old Hollywood than Office. There are black and white photos of old Starlets on the wall where there probably should be stacks of paper, file folders and whiteboards.
-The placemats feature cute famous food quotes- some about burgers, some about booze, others just fun. Again, I’m not sure how they relate to the workplace, but I enjoyed reading them nonetheless.
-The noise level? Pretty loud for Palm Beach standards, but truly nothing when you compare it to the deafening misery that we sometimes find ourselves in back home.
-The patio was in high demand so we were sat indoors, close by to the open doors so that the temperature was relatively comfortable. The problem with our table was that it was directly under the garage-style door that must have retained some moisture from an earlier rain. The result was a persistent drip into our laps. Kind of annoying but I dealt with it.
-Our server was friendly without being obnoxious, and our food and drinks came quite promptly. I was happy that they managed to not screw up the timing (as so many of these more casual joints do) as I made it clear we wanted our appetizers before our main courses. Thankfully, it worked out just fine. The whole meal took about an hour and 10 minutes.
-The Office knows that when you’re working 9 to 5, there needs to be a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to look forward to at the end of the day. Thankfully, they figured that out pretty well with a solid drink menu.
-Beer is the clear go-to, with about 40 International and local beers on tap ($5.75-8), and a handful in bottle ($4.50-12).
-Wine drinkers can choose from about 25 largely Californian wines by the (massive) 8 oz glass ($11-20), while there are far more selections by the bottle or magnum.
-And then for the cocktail lovin’ girls like me there are about 17 creative cocktails with themed names like Mary’s Day Off or the Water Cooler. I would say it was heavily weighted to vodka drinks, but there was a diverse set of fresh fruit accompaniments, and supporting liqueurs going on to keep things interesting.
Pear Fection ($15)
Grey Goose Pear Vodka, Fresh Muddled Pear, Elderflower Liqueur, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Sweet Gomme
- My family went with a few brews by the pint, while I went for the Pear Fection which actually was pretty damn good. I was pleasantly surprised that the pear flavour was unmistakably fresh rather than artificial tasting (they even managed to nail that delicate pulpy texture of the pear), while the citrus balanced the sweetness out. This went down way too easily.
-The menu at the Office could be described as New American comfort food. You got a good list of burgers and sandwiches, playful takes on childhood faves (like tater tots and mac and cheese), Southern staples (like Fried Chicken), gastropub go-to’s (like fish and chips), and internationally inspired finger foods (like dumplings).
Warm Baked Pretzel Bread ($5)
Maldon Sea Salt, Cheddar Cheese Dip, Sam Adams Mustard
Solid pretzels buns and dips. They were served super warm so that they were crusty outside and warm and fluffy within. I also loved the mild cheese dip with the zip from the fresh grainy mustard. Good value for $5.
Chicken Shu-Mai Dumplings ($14)
Ponzu Sauce, Lemongrass Glaze, Micro Cilantro
Pretty good little dumplings, but I found them pricey for the portion and quality. The dumplings were supple and well seasoned but they could have used a little caramelized crust somewhere.
Perfect Onion Rings ($8)
Roasted Garlic Aioli
Super crispy, because it looked like they’d been double dredged, but they tasted a little stale- kind of like when the oil isn’t hot enough so you get a very heavy oily ring rather than a super light bite.
Fancy Fried Green Tomatoes ($14)
Spiced Shrimp, Cheddar Cheese, Green Onion Aioli, Crispy Pancetta Bits
I was a bit disappointed with this dish. The tomatoes were a little heavy and underseasoned, rather than light, crispy and bright. I also found the shrimp a touch overcooked and the cheddar semi-plastic-tasting. I wouldn’t likely order this one again.
Pork Tacos ($15)
Charred Pineapple, Avocado Butter, Sour Cream, Queso Fresco, Red Onion
This dish, in contrast, was delicious. The tacos were packed with tender pork and loaded with lots of salty cheese. They certainly weren’t remarkable tacos, but by Palm Beach standards, they were pretty tasty nonetheless.
The Best Crisp Brussels Sprouts ($8)
Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Probably my favourite dish of the day. The Brussels sprouts were super caramelized so that they were crispy, sticky, and sweet in contrast with the salty smoky bacon. We pretty much fought over these.
Grown Up Tater Tots ($8)
Bacon, Cheddar, Sour Cream, Chives
The tater tots were also pretty good. Basically they tasted like twice-stuffed potatoes that were formed into little balls and fried until crispy. They were very light on the outside and ethereally fluffy inside. I would go for this again.
-I didn't take note of the bill because we were dining with three others (who shared the apps and ate their own meals), but you can observe the cited prices above. In general, I found the meal to be cheaper than most I find in South Florida, but still overpriced for what we got. The food was decent, but nothing to get excited about, and the rest of the experience (service, drink, ambiance) I could probably take or leave. Overall, an acceptable choice for a casual meal on the Delray strip especially if you’re dining with kids or picky palates. But otherwise, I say use the Office for it’s strengths as a watering hole with an okay spread of snacks.