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For Dinner Under a "Palm"

I love palm trees. I love the way they sway in the breeze. I love their shape. But mostly I love what they represent to me; vacation. Since palm trees are not native to New York I only see them when I am away. I love being on vacation especially to gorgeous places that have palm trees. Those types of vacations are to relax and have some fun in the sun.

For those of you interested in a little bit of trivia, it is worth noting that there is only one block in Los Angeles that has palm trees. So when you see them in a movie or in a television show, it is the same block being filmed over and over again. Just a little something I learned when I visited Hollywood a few years ago.

Now I have a brand new association for the world palm and it is something I love just as much as vacation: food. For the last night of New York City’s Summer Restaurant Week 2012 I went to the Palm Restaurant. It was yet another item crossed off my much talked about current to do list ( It also completes my trilogy of infamous steakhouses.

As I have mentioned before ( have tried and loved Ruth Chris and Morton’s Steakhouse. Both are chains that have locations nationwide. No matter what city you visit either in you are ensured a great time, amazing food, and memories you will want to relive again and again.
For me the Palm has always been in that category for me. It too can be found just about anywhere and anytime I hear the name mentioned it is always followed by positive nouns and drooling mouths.

The original and very first Palm restaurant, Palm One, here in New York City opened in 1926 and still remains at the same location. Palm Too opened a cross the street in 1973 to help with some of the congestion. There is something about visiting a restaurant that is a part of N.Y.C. history. It has a certain atmosphere about it. There is a specific look, smell, and feel to the place. It is a place you want to visit so that you too can be associated with something of that stature. It is a far cry from these newer, trendier restaurants but there is something to be said for a restaurant that has remained open for over eighty years. It takes an adjustment at first but once you’re in, you go back in time.

When I first walked in I was surprised how small it seemed. I also had no idea about the drawings on the wall. According to my menu, artists would draw their likeness on the wall as a way to “sing for their supper” so to speak as there was many cartoon artists working in the area at the time this restaurant opened. It became a legendary tradition much the way that portraits of celebrities hang on the walls at Sardi’s in midtown. What is great about these faces and drawings is that the people are unfamiliar so you spend time looking around reading, examining, and taking in all that you see.

Since I was here for restaurant week I knew that is the menu I would be ordering from. As is typical for me I had glanced at it several times prior to arriving here but I didn’t memorize my order exactly. But when the time came this was my decision: the classic Caesar Salad and the twin tenderloin filets with atomic horseradish, chive whipped potatoes, topped with a wild mushroom and crab beurre blanc. For dessert I ordered the New York style cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

When it arrived this is what it all looked like.

I have to say this is one of the best Caesar salads I have ever had. It was so fresh, light, and crisp; I ate every last bite and could have probably eaten another if it was in front of me. Sometimes this is such a routine menu item that we expect it to taste like something that comes off an assembly line or rather out of a bag, but to my surprise it was just the opposite. It is one of the few salads I can recall off hand actually craving when thinking about it.

When my entrĂ©e came I was very excited looking at it. I cut into my steak, and took my first bites. But this too was a surprise but not the kind I was hoping for. While the steak was good, cooked to my specification, and in a delicious sauce, something seemed off. I tried it with some of the mashed potatoes and still nothing. I couldn’t figure out what it was. To be honest I still can’t put my finger on it exactly. Bite after bite I was eating good food but not food that made me dance on the inside. My only guess is that I had built it up in my head too much. I ate just about the entire thing and it was good but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for steak that day.

As for the dessert that was tasty too. The cheesecake was light and airy, sort of what you would expect if you made cheesecake with cream cheese and the recipe from the container. It was better than that but not your standard cheesecake. It was certainly not New York style cheesecake or whatever I associate that to be. I was happy it was light because I was so full but it is not a cheesecake I would ever order again.

I had three dinner companions in addition to anything similar I may have ordered this is what was at our table: mixed green salad, baby arugula salad, prime blackened boneless rib-eye steak, flourless chocolate cake, and the key lime pie.

This is what that looked like.

Their review was that the mixed green salad was good and the arugula salad was too plain. As for the rib-eye that was very satisfying to the person eating it and the rest of us had the filets. Since we each had a different dessert (there were two chocolate cakes) I got to bite them all. The key lime pie was refreshing and every time I see homemade key lime pie without fail there is someone wondering why it is not green. F.Y.I. the green is always dye people. The chocolate cake was some of the heaviest and stickiest I have ever seen. It was adhering to the plate and then to whoever ate it. It was almost too much work to finish it.  Everyone seemed full beyond belief and satisfied with their choices. They had anticipated this meal for awhile and the results did not disappoint. But being the critic that I am I try to always be objective.

Overall I had a pleasant experience at Palm and I am glad I got to experience this N.Y.C. institution. The tables around mine were all eating the lobster. I think if I go back is what I will try next. It was starting to look too good to me. I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side. Actually in the very beginning the Palm didn’t serve steak, so maybe that is where my fate lies. I am a believer in second chances and in that case I will try Palm Too.

The great thing about living in this city is that there is always another restaurant to try. I am now hearing I have to go to Del Frisco’s and Dylan Prime, and so on the list they go. One of these days I hope to actual accomplish everything and become full. But what fun would that be?

If you are starting to crave a good steak, and the smell is coming through the screen, now is probably a good time to make a reservation.

For The Palm:

For Another Review:

For More Steak:


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