HMF at The Breakers Remains a Palm Beach Legend

HMFWomen wearing deep shades of Guarani’s sexy red lipstick welcome guests to a night of relaxed, Gatsby-sequel glamour at HMF, the signature restaurant at The Breakers, Palm Beach. This 5-star, classic American resort with a list of regulars that reads like a who’s who of high society, recently opened this bar and restaurant bearing the initials of its founder, Henry Morrison Flagler.

HMF was the magnate behind Standard Oil, and put the capital P in Palm Beach when he developed his legendary compound, The Breakers, named after the waves of the Atlantic which break against the rocks at the base of the hotel.

The Breakers is one of those special places to at least come for a drink, if not to stay in one of their ocean-inspired rooms. HMF’s Florentine ceiling and lively jazz sets a mid-century atmosphere. Modern, seasonal cooking features old-fashioned favorites as well as exotic, new, food-truck inspired dishes inviting tapas-style tasting.

Related: Royal Street Offers Up Classy New Orleans

HMF is a destination in its own right. Step away from the wine-cellar bar and the martinis into the lounge-like dining area for starters like an heirloom-tomato salad sourced from community growers, topped with basil from the kitchen gardens. Gnocchi was light as air, soft pillows of silky ricotta dressed in fresh-made passata almost tasted healthy.

Service is attentive and friendly, with a strong sense of what the kitchen does best. We’ve just polished off a wood-fired artichoke buttery with olive oil, when we’re steered to the pizza. Yes, pizza. The Margherita knocks our socks off with its thin, papery crust and those fresh, local tomatoes making another welcome appearance.
We finish with a toffee, chocolate-chip cookie baked in a cast-iron pan resulting in a warm, gooey mess topped with sea salt caramel gelato just to make things right.

If you happen to be here for two nights, try the Flagler Steakhouse for the obvious, but save room for dessert. Gargantuan portions of key lime pie and the most moist six-layer chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted are presented with the proviso, “We purposely serve too much so you can take it home and enjoy it the next day.” Some, I won’t name names, have to beg for the plates to be cleared to save us from ourselves.