#RediscoverDiplomat, the current resort promotion, exactly describes my intention upon dining at Point Royal. It has been over two decades since I stepped inside The Diplomat Beach Resort. I also hadn’t visited a Geoffrey Zakarian restaurant since 2011’s Tudor House. Oh, how I mourned that restaurant closing…and their Fruity Pebbles Donuts. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to check out this new restaurant and thrice remodeled space.
The hotel offers complimentary valet and self-parking across the street. The vast atrium area leading to the restaurant resembles nothing of the past. Heavy on the ocean-themed decor and working off a palette of blues/corals, the new Diplomat toes the line between tropical-chic and cruise-ship cachet. It’s clear Point Royal has adopted their very own understated nautical vibe: capiz shell chandeliers, sandy-shaded woods, woven rattan chairs, and neutral fabric with pops of navy blue.
Service began immediately upon sitting and continued with some stumbles along the way. Unfortunately for me, most of the dishes I’d researched and predetermined I’d be ordering, no longer existed or had been modified. Apparently heeding public opinion, Point Royal switched serving sizes and sliced prices since opening four months ago. Notably, the popular Butter Poached Lobster Roll (was $35, now $22) and Pomegranate Glazed Short Rib (was $42, now $24) are now half the size. The Fresh Linguine and Clams replace the Fresh Spaghetti; the Ricotta Dumplings replace the Ricotta Agnolotti. Goodbye Colorado Lamb Tartare. Goodbye Peanut Butter & Jelly ice cream. No! Say it isn’t so! But I understand. Much will change as the restaurant carves their way into the South Florida dining scene. Still, I wanted to try so many of these, especially that PB&J ice cream. So much so, it’s even the first thing I asked about once seated. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when the waitress insisted it hadn’t been on the menu for a while.
WHAT I TRIED
The Lobster Roll, Short Rib, and Ricotta Dumplings
- A buttered potato bun and a generous serving of equally buttery lobster- topped with a lightly tangy mayo-mustard dressing- made the Lobster Roll a keeper. Given my favorite one is no longer available (from the old PB Steak), I guess I’ve found its replacement. Although, not sure what happened to the Bibb lettuce I’d seen plated with the roll in every photo. Mine arrived with a small lonely lemon sliver.
- Filled with Florida blue crab and doused in a light lemon butter sauce, the velvety Ricotta Dumplings make a lovely menu addition.
- I have to admit that online photos also enticed me to order the Short Rib, even though it’s not something I often love. The new size change mentioned earlier seems fitting. The pomegranate glaze added a nice floral, yet earthy quality to the perfectly cooked and fall-off-the-bone ribs.
- Lastly, it’s worth noting that the dressings and sauces used in every dish are Point Royal’s forte. Most dishes heavily depended on them.
Service left a lot to be desired.
- For the price of dinner for two ($224.00), the overall service should have been knowledgeable, and professional. Too many hiccups affected the overall experience. The “approachable American Cuisine” restaurant falls into the “dishes come out as they are ready” category I so greatly detest. No thanks. I do not wish to start dinner with my entree, then followed by my appetizer, and then followed by my salad. Despite the waitress’ promises to course items out, the food overlapped each other and arrived without rhyme or reason. Last to arrive? The salad. Awesome. It’s a good thing I didn’t place my dessert order at the beginning of dinner. Speaking of…
- Remember that PB&J ice cream I so greatly coveted? To the waitress’ surprise, the dessert menu listed the flavor as available after all: homemade, creamy, and everything I dreamed it would be. Worth the wait. Sadly, unlike Point Royal.
Here’s hoping this isn’t yet another restaurant attempting to get by on celebrity-chef fame alone. Name recognition will not get you far for very long in South Florida, but improving the hospitality end of it will. The location conveniently works for nearby residents whose options lack and for hotel guests. For now, it seems like this newcomer needs some time to mature before it can blossom. And maybe some Fruity Pebbles Donuts.