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Spotlight

Todd English Opens Namesake Restaurant at EmKo

The Dixie Highway corridor usually goes under the radar, but with a culinary resurgence, it's alive and bustling with some of the hottest dining destinations West Palm Beach has seen in years. It's not downtown nor the island, but that's what makes this neck of the woods the town's best-kept secret. To top off the dynamic scene is Todd's from James Beard award-winning chef Todd English.

In January, English launched his namesake inside EmKo Palm Beach, a multipurpose art gallery boasting sculpture gardens and ample artistic attributes, attracting hefty crowds during season for lively dinners and brunches.

While Todd's is a contemporary dining venue today, the building once housed a 1925 Cadillac dealership with a few conversation starters still intact, like the original red and blue stripes on soaring pecky cypress ceilings and an antique convertible freight elevator that transports guests to numerous art-filled spaces.

A sculpture of a cheetah sitting on the bar and upbeat music create an unmatched ambiance for diners—all elements thought up by English and EmKo owner Leo Koel.

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Classic T.E. Burger

We recommend a trip to Todd's for happy hour specials including $10-and-under bites like the T.E. Calamari, Artichoke Tempura and Mini Salmon Cakes with sweet chili sauce and scallions paired with a Blue Thyme cocktail.

Stay for a while to savor several signature dishes English has been crafting since his early days in the kitchen. Locals who follow the renowned chef might be familiar with his Old School Tuscan Bolognese or Eggplant Parmigiana. But there are fresh takes as well, such as the Tuna Tartare, which blends Asian influences like crispy wonton and sriracha ginger, in addition to a stand-out, 36-ounce Tomahawk steak.

“The idea was to offer a variety of options, as Todd's is located in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood influenced by creative spaces, such as The Norton, The Armory Art Center or The EmKo Gallery,” English says.

Known for his huge portion sizes, there's a one-pound meatball, which is a mix of veal, pork and beef that's finished off with San Marzano tomatoes and whipped basil ricotta. English calls it the “super-size of the meatballs,” and it's a dish he'd make at home during “meatball weekend” watching football with his family.

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His other pride and joy, and seemingly everyone else's, is the white chocolate bread pudding. Pass on this dessert at your own peril; it's a smooth, luscious treat that is best shared with others.

“We see people acting like Meg Ryan in the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally,'” English jokes of his indulgent treat. “It's not uncommon for others to tell the waitstaff: ‘I'll have what she's having.'''

As for English, he's best known for popping around to tables and shaving truffles onto guests' plates when he's in town. He plans to make the Palm Beaches home soon—when he's not tending to his other restaurants around the world, including in Dubai, New York and Boston. That can only mean more mouth-watering dishes are yet to come.

Todd's at EmKo, 2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561.227.3511; emkopb.com