The Breakers' Flagler Steakhouse: Rich Traditions of American Luxury in Palm Beach
What Palm Beach's Breakers hotel has done so well over the past 120 years, is continue to maintain its rich traditions while entering a new era of luxury. Each year, the owners have spent around $20 million to revitalize the historic property while keeping it true to its heritage. Over $250 million has been invested in the past decade, but modern additions aren’t part of its current plans however.
The most recently revamped and updated spaces have been designed in homage to Henry Morrison Flagler, the Standard Oil founder who originally opened it as The Palm Beach Inn in 1896. A man with highly refined taste—whose own 55-room mansion nearby is now the famed Flagler Museum—he’s the perfect figure to represent both what the ultimate luxury resort is now and what it always will be. While many brands try to create a similar pedigree for themselves, The Breakers is the real thing.
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Henry’s heirs’ latest triumph is the Flagler Steakhouse, recently reopened at The Breakers’ private golf club adjacent to the hotel grounds. Fully keeping with its sister restaurant HMF, the supper-club style hotspot is located in The Breakers’ Florentine Room which opened in 2012 with a heady dose of Jazz Age flair. Adam D. Tihany, the renowned interior designer (whose new book we profiled recently), created the look for HMF and acted as design consultant to Peacock + Lewis Architects on the Flagler Steakhouse, giving it the same sense of refined decadence. Where HMF went for a Great-Gatsby vibe suitable to its palatial architecture, the Flagler is more a celebration of classic American country club style, the ideal preppy enclave where generations of stylish sportsmen and women have sipped and dined on American classic porterhouse steaks and dry Martinis.
What Tihany and co. have done is add a few modern twists, almost exaggerating the red, white and blueblood décor scheme in places by opening up and optimizing the space for more of a luxurious social club feel. Being The Breakers, it is of course an exclusive spot, but more importantly it’s also a lot of fun. They’ve hit the mark making it festive in all the right ways: clubby, rich, warm and well staged to see and be seen. And then they knock you out with perfectly pitched service, cocktails, wine and of course cuisine.
Taken all together it’s nothing short of magnificent, every bit as fabulous as a restaurant bearing The Breaker’s imprimatur should be, an experience you will regale envious friends and family with for months to come. The word steak is in the name, and of course, steak is the menu’s centerpiece, from beautiful bone-in filet mignon to a dry-aged tomahawk rib chop that will make jaws drop.
There is a lot more to love, however, including a marvelous tower of shellfish and raw bar selections, fish dishes with plenty of panache and all manner of gourmet sides, salads and desserts. Forget rubbery salmon filets, gummy chicken breasts and lime green Jello—country club fare was never like this growing up—Flagler Steakhouse has masterfully remixed all the classics.