• Vegan Field Report: Darbster in Florida

    December 4th, 2010quarrygirlflorida, more restaurants (not LA)

    hey everyone! time for a vegan field report. this one comes to us from all the way across the country in west palm beach, florida. check out chicavegan’s review of darbster!

    Last week, I went to South Florida to visit my family there before the Holidays and for my little sister’s 18th birthday. I had already dined at Sublime before, and Miami is a little too far for me, so I decided to go up to West Palm Beach to try “Darbster” for the first time, a dog-friendly restaurant, tucked away from the busy Dixie Hwy. My older brother and younger sister came along; neither of them are vegan, and were quite curious and intrigued.

    At first glance, I personally did not like the service. We were greeted from the Bar and asked to seat ourselves, which it’s fine by me, except that it was a tricky task! You see, Darbster is mostly an outdoor restaurant, with a beautiful patio, but this late at night (8:00 pm), it was number one: packed! and number two: so dark you could not see a table even if they were available! So why didn’t the waitress just help us out? Just wondering.

    After we finally found a table, the waitress took a really long time to come by and bring us the menus. She was very friendly, but the service was slow. I then realized there were only two staff members running the bar, waiting the tables, and busing them as well.

    The patio was so dark we could not read the Menu! My brother had to use the light from his phone to try to read something. I just ordered our drinks and kept an eye open for tables clearing up inside, where it was slightly better lit. This happened soon, and we quickly moved indoors. If we had been able to read the Menus, we would have ordered better wine! Their selection is actually pretty decent.

    Once there, I ordered a bunch of stuff right away! First we got the Sliders as the appetizer (pictured above): ”steak” patties, onions, lettuce w/ alan’s sauce & sweet gherkin on sesame bun for $9. The sliders were ok. Nothing too impressive, just good old veggie burgers. One of them, some how, was slightly burned.

    We also got the rawvioli, mac and cheeze, reuben, and chikn’ parmesan for all three of us to share.

    Rawvioli Beet “Pasta” * - stuffed with garlic herb cheeze & marinara sauce w/ salad. $12

    The rawvioli beet “pasta” was pretty good. Interesting mix of textures. A slight sweet kick to it. Good portion too.

    Mac & Cheeze - elbow pasta in a creamy cheeze sauce. $4

    None of us liked the Mac & Cheeze. I don’t know if I’ve been spoiled by the great Macs here in LA and I had high standards, but this one was very disappointing. It was not “creamy”, as described on the Menu. It was actually dry, a little sour, and with a weird texture.

    Chikn’ Parmesan - pan fried chikn’ w/ marinara and cheeze served over pasta. $12

    The Chikn Parmesan was not exciting either. Something anyone could do at home, and not worth $12. The pasta was overcooked, and the sauce was too sweet.

    Tempeh Reuben - marinated tempeh, sauerkraut & sauce. $8

    Now, the Reuben was fucking awesome! The tempeh was cooked right so the sauerkraut & sauce complemented everything perfectly! As tasty as any traditional Reuben! And a good portion for $8.

    Finally, for dessert we ordered the brownie, carrot cake, bananas foster, and a chocolate ganache with raspberries they had on the Specials Board.

    Bananas Foster - warm rum & maple sauce with ice cream. $6

    The Bananas Foster was nothing special. Again, something anyone could make at home. It was also too sweet (and I’m known for liking things too sweet, so this one must have been even extra sweet to the average mortal). It had way too much liquid on the bottom.I did like the ice cream on top. It was smooth and not too sweet. It balanced out the sweet bananas.

    Brownie - giant rich brownie with chocolate sauce, nut. optional: w/ ice cream. $7

    My sister ordered the regular brownie. But I’m sure we got the raw brownie with ice cream…? Any way, it was good! Great flavor, great texture. I like how thick it was. I have had better brownies, but this one was ok and worth the $7. And once again, the ice cream made it better!

    Carrot Cake - spicy & moist with walnuts & cream cheeze frosting. $7

    Now, the carrot cake was by far the best carrot cake I’ve had my entire life. Vegan and/or traditional. It was delicious! It was sweet, and soft and textured at the same time. The icing on top was also delicious. Soft, still pouring down the cake. Sweet but not overpowering.

    chocolate ganache

    The chocolate ganache, not on the menu, was probably one of the best vegan desserts I’ve ever had, as well. This one is very decadent, but not too much. Great chocolate. Great raspberry sauce on top. Everything about it was excellent.

    I think if I ever go back to Darbster, I would probably sit at the counter and enjoy some drinks (alcoholic or not) and order appetizers or desserts only.

    I applaud the fact that they opened in a region where most people don’t even know what vegan is.

    They also have a Brunch every Sunday with live music. And Sunday night is open for everyone to bring their four-legged friends…they even get a discount for it!

    8020 S Dixie Hwy
    West Palm Beach, FL 33405
    (561) 586-2622

    Tags: ,

4 responses to “Vegan Field Report: Darbster in Florida” RSS icon

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Thanks for the review!! Those vegan desserts look very tempting, especially the brownie and ice-cream one.

  • totally going to be there in a few weeks!

  • huh. this is right down the street from my house…never knew about it.

  • Excellent review – thank you. My wife and I went through West Palm Beach last week and, with the help of your review, we decided to have Sunday brunch at Darbster. We loved it! The food was “pure” by our own vegan standards, but tasty enough to appeal to just about anyone. The atmosphere was relaxed, and we enjoyed the outside dining, the folk music, and the addition of diners’ four-footed friends. The crowd was young and thoughtful-looking. The staff was extremely attentive and friendly. We definitely plan on going back if we’re ever in the neigh’. This restaurant, and The Raw Kitchen, are the only vegan restaurants in the Palm Beach area, and both are terrific.

Leave a reply