Deck 84 opened 2 years ago in Delray Beach and marked the re-emergence of South Florida restauranteur Burt Rapoport, who teamed with Dennis Max in the 90's to open, and close, countless restaurants. Max and Rapoport were the first to use marketing to pump up their chefs; creating many of the false celebrities we have today.
In typical Rapoport fashion, they have a big parking lot but there is no self-parking. They have "complimentary valet parking" during lunch on Monday through Thursday only. Otherwise it's $3. Figure a $2 tip so it's either $2 or $5 to park. I parked in the Calypso lot and walked over, mainly because I had a lot of stuff in the car and I didn't want to have to bring it all in to the restaurant with me.
Prices are up across the board at this restaurant, which is also typical of these profit only motivated "restaurant groups". The $10 burger I had when they first opened is now $14 and cheese will run you another $2. Gouging is part of the deal here.
The entrance to the restaurant on Atlantic Avenue is just below the ramp to go over the bridge; you can easily see the canopy from in front of the Blue Anchor. Its not a very impressive entrance; it looks like the entrance to some cheap hotel, with a "front desk" that acts as the hostess stand and some crusty bathrooms to the right as you walk in. To the left and you're right in the bar. The place is pretty modern looking, with a faux marble bar that I guess is supposed to look like bamboo. There are canvas canopies all over with light blue and orange indicative of key west, and there is Key Westian music playing. But there's nothing that really resembles anything in Key West other than the marketing garb; including the menu.
It wasn't too hot, so I opted to eat outside. It turns out that this was a mistake, since the "patio" doesn't have any sort of cooling whatsoever; no misting system. You really don't want to sit on the patio in the summer; the central "deck" is covered and has A/C and fans.
I was here for Brunch, which they serve on Saturday and Sunday until 2pm, and the menu is extremely limited. The brunch menu has regressed as the prices have risen; they used to have 3 egg omelets and eggs with chorizo and manchego cheese. They also used to give you a choice of fruit or potatoes; now they give you both and charge an extra $1. There's no standard breakfast and only one kind of omelet; a side of bacon or sausage is $4 which is as much as you'd pay at a good hotel. I first ordered coffee, which is served in a big cup that wasn't filled to the top but the server managed to spill some into the saucer.
As you can see, the tables also have rust pock marks on them which is another good reason to eat inside. The coffee is pretty strong, which is how I like it, and they have yellow. I ordered the eggs benedict, primarily because it was the only thing they had that I would want to eat. With music ranging from Mishka to Anuea and no unlocked wireless, it's a good thing that I had a good 3G signal.
The eggs came out pretty quickly. On the menu it says that all brunch items come with a "fresh baked pastry", so you can imagine how difficult it was to withhold my laughter when I saw what it was.
It was sort of like a miniature coffeecake Jr. I noticed that I got 2 slices of canadian bacon on one and 1 slice on the other; I'm not sure if I got an extra slice or short-changed. The fruit looked old while the potatoes were quite good, with onions and bell peppers, and the hollandaise was fine even though it was clearly sitting in a pot for awhile. The muffin was the lowest quality available. The only significant criticism is that one of the eggs was cooked too long to a soft-boiled state.
It was a decent breakfast, and even though their $9 eggs benedict a year ago are now $11, it's not much more than other places charge. I read some reviews about bad service, but I had no complaints; the coffee was $3 which is a lot if you're not a big coffee drinker. At least it was good coffee. But this breakfast explains why we despise restaurants here in South Florida. They could have given more potatoes, a Thomas' muffin and some toast instead of the stupid cupcake and they'd be getting good reviews instead of cranky ones.
The big takeaway from this is that the hype of waterfront dining is a bit of a ruse; they have live music that started at 2pm, and I'd pictured a lively deck with swimwear clad people enjoying the sun. But there's none of that here. The band plays indoors on the covered deck; most of the crowd are well-heeled elderlies, and the patio that is actually outside is a second class dining area, with rusty tables away from the music and the air conditioning.
The bartender was busy chatting with some dudes on the other side of the bar and it was quite some time before she offered me a menu. The lunch menu is a bit weak; there are no entrees on the lunch menu. Just apps, salads, burgers and sandwiches. I didn't realize that the entries weren't available before 5pm (there is only one menu; the entrees just aren't available at lunch. So I needed some extra time to decide. I ordered some iced tea. I finally decided on a burger; not what I wanted. I can't see why fish and chips isn't available at lunch; or the fish tacos. Do they need a special grill for these? I wanted fish, but I didn't want to pay $15 for a mahi sandwich, given that I'm not big on mahi. Service was abysmal. I gave her 2 stars based on cup size alone. Ice tea was served without lemon; then when I asked for lemon she gave me 1 mini-slice suitable for a martini. The burger was served without salt, pepper or ketchup.
I had ordered the burger with Cheddar Cheese and I questioned her as it didn't look like cheddar. She said she wasn't sure if the cheddar was white or yellow. I said it looked like Blue Cheese; "No" she said, the blue cheese is all crumbly. A couple of bites confirmed it was blue cheese. I like blue cheese, and I was tired of asking for stuff. The burger was cooked properly and was pretty good. The cole slaw was a bit sweet and a bit vinegary for me, but it was good enough that I ate it all. The lettuce served no purpose. The burger, as you can see, is a patty.
The location of this place gives it some possibilities, but the menu certainly isn't a draw. I certainly can't get excited about going back anytime soon.