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Top Chef's Stephen Asprinio Opens Restaurant in West Palm Beach

Stephen Asprinio Opens His New Restaurant

As you may know, Top Chef Season 4 is just around the corner. It's hard to believe that we're already on the fourth installment, it seems like season one was just yesterday. The show just keeps getting better, however I have a special place in my heart for the season one folks. So when the gals at Karmic Kitchen tipped me off to the fact that Stephen Asprinio's restaurant Forte di Asprinio opened, I knew I'd have to share the info with you.

Stephen, known as the obnoxious wine guy from season one, has created his new space in West Palm Beach, Fl. The restaurant is said to be "modern chic" and will seat 175 folks inside and out. The menu will be "traditional Tuscan with progressive touches" but it's not going to be fusion.
And of course it couldn't be a place by Stephen if there wasn't wine. When asked about it he said:

We've got some unique wines not available anywhere else in the U.S. The cellar is more than 500 bottles - not bad for a space like this. Things like a '47 Cheval Blanc, several magnums, a Far Niente signed by the winemaker in its early days — things they couldn't get in Vegas, even.

So what do you guys think, are you interested in checking his new place out?

And in other news, according to his website, he's going to be the host of a new show and online wine course.

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eastcoastgirl eastcoastgirl 7 years
I would enjoy visiting the restaurant!! I bet it has real impeccable taste! I think he was very talented,wine tasting would be a treat there!
BocaDelVista BocaDelVista 8 years
Continued ... The bus crew consists of guys who look so much alike it can't be an accident, and they are as smooth as any I have ever seen .... one fellow poured our water so carefully, I almost felt bad for him when one drop fell on the table as he uprighted the bottle. Ten seconds later, his partner slipped by and without breaking stride or even looking, he discretely wiped away the one dot of water and moved on. The word "smooth" just keeps coming to mind. And I did notice that the staff seemed very happy and dedicated .... it all seemed very effortless. I don't know if Stephen found and trained this group of people himself or he stole them from someplace as a group, but after only a few days of operation I was absolutely amazed at how smoothly they worked as a unit. I was there on day three of operation. It was not without a few bumps however. But they know how to recover nicely (see below) About our experience : When we were seated we asked for a wine list. We ordered a bottle of the # 210 .... i hate myself right now for not recalling the variety - it was white. We didn't use the sommelier, not knowing there was one available. We waited for some time and no wine appeared. We sat for about ten minutes in the small, 1/4 full restaurant waiting, and nothing. Suddenly the Sommelier appears, two glasses with 3 oz pours in his hands. He apologizes for the delay and asks us to enjoy these complimentary Pino Grigios while we wait. Only moment later, our bottle appears and I spot Stephen near the front door ... suddenly all is right with the world. Can you tell I am a groupie ? Shame on me ! oh and of course the wine was divine !!!! He has a super wine list !!!! ok, the food !!! i loved it ... the lunch menu is set up so that there is a $15 lunch served all at once and a $25 lunch served in three separate courses. I went for the three courses, choosing pear parsnip soup, spinach-ricotta "nudie" (pasta) and a tangerine panna cotta desert. I really didn't know what pear/parsnip soup was going to taste like, and I was pleasantly surprised. The pear was very subtle, and the soup itself was smooth as glass. The spinach dish I ordered consisted of little golf ball sized orbs, green as they could be !! haha, shades of CJ's Tuna Casserole .... but it was delicious ! Light as air, which was surprising. I do wish I had maybe not ordered a cream soup and a creamy pasta at the same sitting, but ... live and learn. The tangerine panna cotta confused me a bit, having a lot of liquid on top that I wasn't sure about ... but I drank it as the server instructed and it was delightful. Accompanying the panna cotta was a large shard of sweet ... pastry? i don't know what to call it .... sooooooooo fancy !!! all balanced on it's edge on the fancy plate .... it was awesome ! a shot of fresh squeezed tangerine juice rounded out the triad .... it was just very special, good and very "special" know what I mean ? My husband ordered something described as "beet ravioli" to start, and chicken, with an apple desert. The ravioli portion was small but delicious, spread out across the plate artfully. The chicken portion also was not huge, but was perfectly cooked and was wonderful. The apple desert is apparently very popular, and was a big hit with some men my husband dined with on another occasion ( as was a tuna dish that has appeared on the menu). okay, ABOUT STEPHEN !!! he is absolutely warm and friendly and downright charming .... a complete testimony to the power of reality tv show editing and what it can do to a person's image. He could not have been more approachable and .... familiar. He starts talking to you like you've known each other forever, in this very comfortable kind of way. No affect, no arrogance, no pretension .... he is bone skinny, too !!! TV does add ten pounds, true true. His staff appears to really really like him and they are eager to please him. He seemed to relate to them in a very calm laid back way that I did not expect. But we did have a total "Stephen Moment" .... at one point he was standing there talking to us and the server brought out our entrees, then had to wait behind Stephen for a few seconds until Stephen noticed our food had arrived and he quickly stepped aside....hahha ... classic ! I can't recommend Forte enough !!!!!
BocaDelVista BocaDelVista 8 years
Stephen's restaurant is WONDERFUL !! I am so happy and relieved to get to tell you this ... I didn't know what to expect at all. I dreaded having to come on and write something nasty - especially about a new place just trying to get off the ground. You know I would never lie to you !!! But - thankfully - all I can do is rave. I have been once for lunch, and my husband has now been to lunch three or four times. Every meal has been a huge hit with us both and with the people my husband has entertained there. But let me give you the details .... the setting : very open to the street right in downtown west palm beach, with some outdoor dining on the sidewalk .... good people watching location (you can see AND be seen). Weekday lunch crowd consisted mainly of Ladies Who Shop With Tiny Dogs in their Purses, a couple of attorneys from the nearby courthouse, and some seniors being attended by nurses (not lying, this is palm beach, remember). Large grey tiles on the floor anchor the fuschia (fuschia!) upholstered chrome chairs, while sheer fuschia (fuschia!) silky draperies soften the florida sunshine streaming into the restaurant. The interior is divided by metal "chain" curtains that delineate the dining and bar areas (I managed to MISS noticing the bar, but it gives me something to tell you about next time, doesn't it?) I must comment upon the crystal, dishes and silver, being that Stephen was so picky about such touches on the show - he has not gotten any less choosey !!! Very large oversized white plates in various shapes dominate, supported by a myriad of tinier bowls and plates .... each one with it's unique purpose, carefully arranged, but not "too" fussy .... the bowl from which I sampled the pear parsnip soup was as wide as a toilet tank lid with a little indentation in the center where the soup sat. You just knew that soup was gonna be special !! I loved the silver - big and chunky, it is quite masculine and balances all the fuschia (!) and oversized china. The soup spoon is a bit squarish, however, and being that the soup was so divine and I wanted to get every drop, it was a bit challenging to use. I noticed another lady having the same issue with her soup spoon. Am I giving you too much detail ? Sorry. The crystal was "Schott," I believe, not something like super expensive Riedel. Very nice though, with the flat angle at the bottom - like the Riedel Sommelier style. Very nice. The Service: I won't deny that it took a long time, almost 90 minutes for lunch. But when you are loving every minute of it, who cares ? Stephen has really put a lot of work into assembling a staff that works like a Rolls Royce ... I am totally serious. The level of professionalism is really quite refreshing for Florida, which can be so ..... not. He has three (i believe he said) Sommeliers on staff, and the one I met could be Stephen's brother - looks, acts just like stephen. Just the smoothest guy ever, so polished. When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a woman who could be Sophia Loren's sister, and she twirls about in chiffon .... an older man came into the restaurant just to tell her how much she looked like Sophia Loren. The bus crew consists of guys who look s
ESTONE ESTONE 8 years
I never really liked him on the show but I really think that I would enjoy his restaurant. The combination of food and wine together is really interesting to me.
SugarFreak SugarFreak 8 years
ohhhhhhhh!
chairsmissing chairsmissing 8 years
That sounds like an amazing restaurant, I hope to get to FL to see my mom and go soon! I'm also way psyched about the Top Chef cookbook coming out soon that I just heard about: http://www.amazon.com/Top-Chef-Cookbook-Melcher-Media/dp/0811864308/ref=br_lf_m_1000147831_1_10_ttl?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=books&pf_rd_p=366623801&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1000147831&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0EBN44WZZATFRC5T2AQ3
verdugo verdugo 8 years
still not one mention of the food, all he talks about is wine
ms660bk ms660bk 8 years
I'd like to buy him a new suit. one that fits him perhaps? :)
AmberHoney AmberHoney 8 years
I'd go if I was in FL; always up for a new food experience. I await the report also.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
hmm..you know, as pompous as he is - there might be merit in his place. i might have to check it out and luckily i'm going to be in boca raton this weekend (yes - i'm going home for a few days) and i can check it out
Food Food 8 years
Boca - You'll have to make sure and let us know how it is! We want a full report!
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
I would go. Always open for trying new places. But he missed the boat on naming the place. I think he should have called it Forte di Douche Nozzle, but that's just me! ;)
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
Wow Boca that is awesome. I would definately go if I was in the area. Not because I liked him but he was certainly very interesting. I cant wait for the next season to start, hello when is it going to be on!? This guy was so funny tho, everyone hated him.
BocaDelVista BocaDelVista 8 years
My husband is eating at Stephen's new place RIGHT NOW ... he ordered the chicken caesar and some type of apple dessert. He can't sample any of the fine wines, tho, poor dear has to get back to court after lunch. But he promises to take me to dinner tomorrow and I will report back with all the juicy details .... until then !!! Bon Appetit !!
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 8 years
everyone has their own restaurant now a days! geeeez lol
SugarCat SugarCat 8 years
I'd love to go to a wine tasting there!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I would love to eat there! i love stephen!!!!
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