Jardin Restaurant is set to open on West Palm Beach’s historic Clematis Street on April 25, and from the looks of it, it has all the makings of an instant neighborhood favorite – including courtyard garden seating and a chef’s counter with views of the kitchen!
With inventive seasonal dishes that highlight local flavors, a killer array of craft cocktails, and a dazzling dessert menu (that includes a DOUGHNUT TOWER!), Jardin is ready to bloom in flavorful fashion, and we’re putting it at the top of our to-eat list for our next trip to West Palm Beach.
We asked the newlywed team behind the eatery, Executive Pastry Chef Stephanie Cohen and Executive Chef Jordan Lerman, about their connections to the coast, their shared vision for the restaurant, and what they listen to while they cook!
The first time we saw the courtyard at the space, we immediately thought of a beautiful garden filled with flowers and trees. Jardin was also the name of the building, and coincidentally, jardin means “garden” in Spanish, French, and Italian, which paralleled with the vision for our cuisine style. Jordan’s roots came from Israel, and Stephanie’s roots came from Panama, while being traditionally French-trained. This melting pot background that we both have gave birth to the idea of a restaurant where flavors melted into one cuisine – our Jardin.
What are your own connections to the coast?
Stephanie: I grew up in Panama City, Panama. Every weekend was spent by the water side, feasting on freshly caught fish, fried to crispy perfection with aromatic lime squeezed all over; compete with a side dish of yucca al mojo. To this day, every time I smell fried fish, I swear I can smell the salinity of the sea.
Jordan: I grew up in South Florida, right in West Palm Beach, and remember going fishing with my dad whenever we could. Our vacations were always to other beach areas or somewhere in the Caribbean. When I moved to Israel, I was not able to live near the ocean for the first time, and as soon as I had a chance to move to a coastal town called Akko, which was an ancient port hub, I did. I can still vividly remember walking through the outdoor markets near the docks in Akko.
How does your West Palm Beach location inspire and inform your menu?Starting off with our craft cocktail menu, we pulled flavors from the neighboring streets: hibiscus, tamarind, and olives. We have a tamarind sour made with an egg white that was inspired by the name of a nearby street. The dinner and brunch menus take heavy inspiration from the South Florida area as a whole, as we use ingredients such as alligator, and flavors from places such as Cuba and the Caribbean, which have a heavy influence on the area.
What about having West Palm Beach as the home for your restaurant excites you most?
We’re most excited about having guests with so many different backgrounds. West Palm Beach is an area where you can find people from different areas around the world, with different cultures, flavor profiles, and tastes. We’re incredibly excited to connect with guests and be able to offer our take on American food to them.
It’s no secret we love cocktails here at Coastal. What is your “Traveler’s Companion” cocktail list?
We came up with this idea because we’re constantly trying out new foods. We realized that, yes, we all know bourbon, gin, and mezcal, but have you heard of mastiha or aquavit? Our insatiable hunger for new, fun flavors led us to discover cocktails that can be made with much more than your typical run-of-the-mill vodka. Our Traveler’s Companion list will take our guests on a culinary tour around the world, where ingredients such as dill and szechuan forgo their typical place in the kitchen and become a highlighted item in a cocktail.
The two of you are newlyweds – what it’s like to work together?
This may be surprising, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! There is something very magical when you create a new dish and you’re lucky enough to have your loved one to share it with. We get to create dishes from scratch, as well as enjoy them together. Also, if either of us makes a dish that is not as amazing as it should be, we will be the first to tell one another!
What are your favorite menu items?
The Crispy Hummus is probably one of our favorites. It hits all the needs of a great first bite off a menu (salty, spicy, acidic, umami) and it really highlights who we are with flavors (Stephanie with the Spanish-style chorizo and Jordan with the hummus flavors).
The Duck Choripan is another one of our favorites: it was inspired from a trip we took together the first time I met Stephanie’s parents in Panama. They took us to a little “hole-in-the-wall” place off the highway, where they served traditional choripan in a few different flavors. I distinctly remember the blood sausage and Argentinian-style chorizo sandwich. They made all the items in-house, from bread and sausage to sauces. We really like the idea of paying homage to that past and bringing it to the present with a great house-made item.
What are your can’t-leave-Jardin-without-eating-it menu items?
The charcuterie is a must-try item because it’s made completely in-house. The flavors and preparation of the meats will always change; when we run out of something or something new is ready from aging, it will run on the board. So if you don’t try it when you come in, you may not get to try that particular item ever again!
Do you listen to music while you cook?
We like to listen to music when it’s just the two of us cooking and creating new dishes. We tend to listen to artists like Carlos Vives, with a little classic rock thrown in the mix.
Favorite food destinations?
It’s a tough call between New York and New Orleans. Some of the best food we have had in recent memory was during our honeymoon in New Orleans at La Petite Grocery, Shaya, and Cochon Butcher. We’d like to head over to Italy next year so we can explore more about how pastas are made.
Perfect spring meal?
Anything with peas, wild mushrooms, or wild greens. Pasta dishes are always great when they are kept simple, with a little ham or guanciale with some peas and wild mushrooms.
Jardin Restaurant opens at 330 Clematis Street on April 25. Make your reservations here!
Thanks to South Moon Photography for the beautiful photos.
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