We’ve heard references to out-of-the-way places being called a hole-in-the-wall. Today we found one such restaurant, and it was not just a metaphor.
Clary’s Corner Cafe in Lake Worth is found through a side door into residential apartment tower. “Look for the red door on B street” was the direction I was given when I called because I couldn’t locate the place using the address. Not that I’m directionally challenged – I can find my way most anywhere. Just not here. What is that saying about easy things not being worthwhile, and worthwhile things not being easy? Well this was not easy, but is most certainly was worthwhile!
Clary’s is a Tuesday-Saturday breakfast and lunch spot off the beaten track in Lake Worth. Head east on Lucerne from US1, and turn north on B street and find a place to park. Look for the red door on the side of the building, and walk in through the pantry and next to grill….
Start looking over the menu, read the special board, and enjoy a slice of homemade, freshly grilled banana bread. It appeared on our table – I was told later it’s because they were running behind. The food didn’t arrive fast, but it’s preparation explained why. Everything is cooked to order. You want to substitute anything? Go right ahead, as they told me “We’re cooking for you.”
The banana bread was delicious, with fresh soft butter on the side. We spent a while trying to decide what to order.. I was between a menu item and a special item. “Have the special board item – we have the menu item every day!” was the advice I received. I chose the Pastrami Hash skillet – chunks of good peppery pastrami, mixed with home fries, covered with Swiss cheese, and then topped with two eggs (over easy was my choice). Add some fresh sourdough toast and hot coffee, and I was in heaven. Couldn’t get better I thought. Then the side order of hashbrown casserole arrived. Served on a plate, it had obviously just come off the grill since it was smooth, hot, and nicely carmelized on surface. Three of us at the table split the side order, and we all had plenty. It was a unanimous knockout decison — completely delicious! As Katie asked “Can I get this intravenously?”. I’m not a fan of chain restaurants at all, but I have always liked the hash brown casserole at Cracker Barrel. Just not anymore – I’ve been spoiled by this one at Clary’s. Nothing else will do.
Sheri and Katie decided to share a skillet — they took the pulled pork skillet, made from house-made pork cooked for 18 hours, and they chose provolone as their cheese of choice. There was nothing left of any of the food brought to the table. Several times the staff apologized that they were running behind, but it was obvious everyone was working hard, and all of the dishes that came out were hot, fresh, correct, and delicious. I will trade a few extra minutes to get something made properly, and as requested, rather than get something thrown together quickly to get it out of the kitchen. In general I see too many places willing to sacrifice the little details to make up time. I still see eating as an adventure, and I want to be places that feed that desire and make the adventure worthwhile. Clary’s Corner Cafe makes for a great adventure.