Rack's Fish House and Oyster Bar

Last Activity: Jun 18th, 2014

racks fish house oyster bar

Location

5 SE 2nd Ave
Delray Beach, FL 33444
561-450-6718
What's Nearby

Critic's Rating

Rating3.0
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review: 01/21/13

Information

Hours11:30-10pm
Dress CodeNeat Casual ParkingStreet, Valet
CCYes AlcoholFull Bar
OutdoorYes ReservationsYes
DeliveryNo

Critic's Review

Gary Rack is one of the South Florida Restauranteurs created with marketing money and not a great restaurant. He reminds me a lot of Tim Petrillo; he calls Karen Hanlon Design, he puts a lot of fancy sounding stuff on the menu and bam, a restaurant is born. I didn't particularly care for Table 42 in Boca, and I was turned off by Rack's Downtown as they advertised half price appetizers at happy hour but they delivered a smaller than normal portion. But he does build nice restaurants, and you can't fight the buzz.

With the opening on MLK day, traffic was light so a trip up to Delray was very pleasant. If you don't know your way around Delray you'll have trouble finding parking. There's little to no parking around the restaurant, and there's no lot; there's a valet out front in a pinch. I know where to park about 2 blocks away; luckily the dark clouds didn't break while I was on the way over.

To his credit, Rack has delivered a handsome restaurant, with rope ceilings and mixed textures. I'm not sure if Karen Hanlon did this design, but the bar has the same defective design for TV watching as YOLO and Nick's New Haven Pizza. These TVs can't be seen unless you're sitting at the bar.

Racks Delray Interior

Racks Delray Interior

The booths have big wooden tables with a sort of burlap upholstery; they're a little bit tight. I think large people might not be comfortable. Of course the hostess tried to seat me at a table in the middle of the room at 2:50pm. I asked for a booth.

Rack

Rack's Delray Booths

Edison bulbs with inverted bicycle baskets round out the decor. It's fancy schmancy. There New Orleans style jazz playing; but mostly its a loud room. Only about 1/3 full and I could clearly hear the conversation from 2 tables over.>

There's a nice oyster bar in the back.

racks_oyster_bar.jpg

My server was good, particularly for a first day of business. There were a few specials but none appealed to me. I'd checked out the menu before coming; It's sort of a Cape Cod meets the French Quarter theme; a mix of New England favorites and New Orleans spice. It seemed on the expensive side; $24 for a lobster roll with Linda Bean's next door. The salmon sounded good, but I wanted to try a couple of items and $26 was too much for lunch. I ended up getting the Country Pork and Beans; Pork Ribs with Boston Baked Beans. They also have a raw bar and a "Kettle" section; I pictured a kettle of mussels like you get at Blue Moon and ordered some of those.

A runner brought out the ribs, and he noticed that I didn't have silverware; he brought me a fork and a knife. But I still needed a napkin, and an oyster fork. Finally I had everything I needed.

Racks Delray Ribs

Racks Delray Ribs

The ribs reminded me of the portion at the Royal Pig Pub; $16 for 1/3 rack. I tasted the beans first; VERY sweet. They could have used a bit more baking, but they were better than most BBQ joint beans.

There were only 3 ribs; a lot of meat for 3 ribs; it was a little fatty and dry tasting. I had to ask for some BBQ sauce. Overall, pretty good ribs, but not really enough for $16. It's also too big a portion of beans; you can't and shouldn't eat that many brown sugar laden beans. This should come with a smaller portion of beans and some cole slaw to balance out the flavors.

Note to the chef: lose the garnish. It sticks to everything and just gets in the way.

The mussels were in a broth with a lot of onions and fennel. What immediately struck me was that this wasn't the "kettle" I was expecting. This was a pretty small portion.

Racks Delray Mussels

Racks Delray Mussels

16 mussels for $14. Do the math. They were fine but I didn't really care for the broth, which had some jalapenos in it; and the bread wasn't the best kind for dipping. Overall a poorly thought-out dish.

racks_mussels_broth.jpg

$38 for a lunch of 2 apps and I can't say I had enough food.

No Italian wines by the glass, but I'm getting used to that. The bar is pretty nice although with a crowd it's going to be very cramped; like YOLO there isn't much room inside for much of a scene. It certainly brightens up the neighborhood; Another handsome and expensive space in Delray Beach.

Showing 8 Comments

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SteveReply
Recently met a server that works here. I was told that the owner of this restaurant decided that when he dines here that he will no longer leave a tip for the employee who serves him his meal. He apparently doesn't feel this is necessary because it is his place and he can do as he pleases. Better hire a food taster!
GinaReply
Looks like they took your advice. Got more ribs, less beans for $14. Nice going.
JeremyReply
Went to the raw bar on Sunday (7/7) with a friend. David was friendly and explained the different oysters. The happy hour prices aren't bad. We had two dozen oysters, two apps, dessert, and eight beers - check was $66.

As for parking, I believe there is a garage at the end of the street. Regardless, parking in Delray is always difficult unless you valet (which is right out front).

Overall, I really liked the place, but don't think I would go back for anything other than happy hour.
PaulaReply
I find it quite funny when people complain about prices in a restaurant when they are on the menu. And further more who goes to a brand new spot in delray the first week and thinks it will be quiet. Not to mention a friday night dinner service??? Stay home, people like you are what make dining experiences negative!!
AdministratorReply
And how can you tell what the portion size is from the menu? Are you implying that if I get 3 ribs for $16 or 8 ribs for $16 I shouldn't mention it because the menu warned me that it was $16? I also expect to get a big pot of mussels for $14, particularly when the menu says "Kettles". Does that look like a kettle of mussels? Who charges $1 per mussel?

I don't see anyone has mentioned a friday night dinner service. It was a Monday afternoon.
bERNIEReply
$102.00 for lunch...3 persons no alcohol! Will NEVER RETUTN!!!
MarianaReply
Holy moly! That is a bit ridiculous. I live in Wellington. Even Olis, The Grille and Players Club aren't that pricey up in polo country.
AdministratorReply
You should have gone for the alcohol. It would be $30 more, but it wouldn't seem as bad. I warned you.