HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Palladin shows promise . . .

  • w

went to palladin last night at the time hotel in times
square (49th between broadway and 8th ave.). the place
is run (owned?) by Jean-louis palladin, who, at age
28, was the youngest chef to receive two michelin stars
in france. i'm 28 now, and the only michelins i've got
are on my 1991 used honda accord. anyway, the place
opened up about a week ago, so on a whim i decided to
check it out with a buddy of mine.

the adam tihany inspired decor i found less than
inspiring. the place was nice, but just didn't really
do anything for me. perhaps it was because i was
facing out and could see out the front of the
restaurant, which is all glass, and onto 49th street.
the fact that i was eating in an upscale restaurant in
times square was a bit weird, and i certainly didn't
need to be reminded of that. in my opinion, if you're
going to have a restaurant in times square, then the
room needs to feel like you're somewhere else, and this
room didn't do that for me.

my friend and i decided to go for the five course
tasting menu prepared by the chef, timothy myers. at
$65, i'd have to say that's a great price, since at
most other upscale places in the city, you're lucky to
get three courses for that much money. i noted on the
regular menu that prices seemed surprisingly reasonable
as well, with all entrees under 30 and most in the low
20s and appetizers in the low teens and even single
digits.

the first course was an ahi and hamachi carpaccio with
caviar and micro greens. the dish was good, though
definitely not as good as it sounds, or as it looked.
the fish was fresh, in alternating ribbons laid side by
side on the plate. although fresh, clean and simple,
the dish lacked any real spark or flavor. even the
caviar didn't add much to the dish, though it was a
good starter to whet the palate.

myers dialed it up a notch with the second course,
however, japanese octopus and squid salad with
asparagus, seaweed and black truffles. the dish was
exquisite and the best of the night, just the sort of
thing i was looking and hoping for from a place like
palladin. the japanese octopus was cut in round little
slivers and lined a mini mountain of the seaweed and
other vegetables, which were marinated in a nice light
vinagrette-type dressing. occasionally one could taste
a bit of cilantro, though i wished there was more of
it, as it really added a nice kick to the dish. the
flavors were fresh and clean, and mixed superbly.
needless to say i was happy.

next came the soft shell crab, close behind the octopus
salad as the best dish of the night. the crab was a
nice size and cooked to perfection. the sauce was
similar to a marsala, with a pile of assorted and very
tasty mushrooms which accompanied the crab beautifully.
the crab itself was excellent, juicy and tasty on the
inside, and soft and crackling on the outside. it
also went extremely well with our burgundy. if i could
have, i would have picked it up with my hands and just
started munching away. but i resisted my barbaric
impulses and plugged away with my fork and knife until
every claw was gone. the best soft shell crab i've had
in the past year. the only negative i'd have to say,
though, and not a big one at that, was that the sauce
tended to be a bit salty, although you didn't really
notice until well into the dish and by then you really
didn't care.

next came the cobia, which, from what i'm told, is a
type of sand shark. my friend didn't care for this
dish at all. i didn't find it too bad, though
definitely nothing too memorable. it's a white fish,
with a decent texture. it was served with a light
creamy buttery sauce (is that an oxymoron?) and a
vegetable medley, which i liked better than the fish.

the meat was also so-so. my friend got the oxtail,
which is always a good piece of meat. neither of us
cared for the bone marrow flan that came with it,
however. it was basically a bland goop that looked
like it didn't have much flavor, and in fact didn't. i
had the capon, which i guess is something related to a
chicken. i personally am not a big fan of chicken, so
the capon didn't do much for me either, though it was
good for what it was. the duck pate on the side,
however, although a tiny portion, was excellent.

finally, it was time for dessert. i had the banana
tart, with banana ice cream and banana flan. i
was thinking, maybe they should have called it bananana
or b-b-b-banana. or maybe they could have had a tie-in
with the upcoming disney movie and called it tarzan's
revenge (this is times square after all). but anyway,
although the dish sounded like banana overkill, i liked
it a lot. the thin slices of caramelized banana were
just right with the flaky crust underneath, and the
banana flan was excellent. the ice cream, while it
could have used a bit more flavor and texture, provided
the requisite coolness to make this dessert a
refreshing pleaser. my friend got the pear tart with
apple sorbet, which he liked better than my banana
tart, but i found to be unexciting. and the coffee was
very good.

all in all, i was quite happy with the meal, though i
definitely think the place could use a little work.
perhaps in a few weeks or months once they've worked
out the kinks the place will be much better. the same
goes for the service. although our waitress was
extremely nice, there were slight lapses in the
service. it took far too long to order the wine, and
when it came, the waitress forgot to use red wine
glasses, although this is something that i'm sure will
be fixed with time as well.

well, i guess that about does it. there were some hits
and misses, but given some time and a little bit of
work, i think this place has some potential. given the
competition, it's certainly a good bet pre or
post-theater, though i didn't notice a pre-theatre
menu. if anyone goes, hope you enjoy it and let me
know what you think. until next time, happy eating
everyone!

wonki

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. oops! Correction. . . the name of the chef is Timothy
    Dean, not Myers. I apologize.

    1. I just wanted to mention that I had a fabulous dinner
      at Palladin in DC way back when. His hair may look
      like Weird Al's, but he knows what he's doing.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Jessica

        actually, my friend who came with me has eaten at
        Palladin in DC as well. he thinks the DC spot is
        better, at least for now.

        not only does his hair look like Weird Al, HE looks
        like Weird Al, glasses and everything. :-)

        1. re: wonki

          come to think of it, maybe he is weird al - remember
          the song eat it? - "eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it . .
          ."

          hmmmm . . .

          1. re: wonki

            I know someone who works there and I can't say more or
            I'll get the person in trouble. I've eaten there, the
            5 course tasting and I agree with most of the first
            post. However, Jean Louis was there that night and
            there have been far too many nights he's not
            there....Kitchen and staff need supervision from him,
            not Tim.
            Look for another, even more upscale place in the
            future.......Remember.....DC had Palladin upstairs and
            the far superior Jean Louis downstairs

            1. re: Michael

              DID ANY ONE SEE THE REVIEW IN NEW YORK MAGAZINE,GAEL
              GREENE, TO SAY THE LEAST, WAS NOT AT ALL IMPRESSED.
              FROM THE DECOR TO THE FOOD, IT WAS THUMBS DOWN.

              1. re: RENEE

                No offense meant .....I hope you are not one of those
                who only go to a restaurant on the say-so of food
                critics.

                The food so far has not reached the standards that I
                used to experience at the old Palladin in DC. And
                Jean Louis is away from the restaurant quite often. As
                Wonki said, it does show promise (if Jean Louis and
                Timothy Dean whips the kitchen into shape).

                1. re: Gary Cheong

                  I DO NOT BASE MY CHOICES SOLEY ON THE WORDS OF THE
                  FOOD CRITICS, THEY TOO HAVE THEIR "FAVORITES."
                  FRIENDS OF MINE, WHOSE OPINIONS I RESPECT, LOVED THE
                  RESTAURANT IN WASHINGTON, HOWEVER, THEY DID NOT FIND
                  PALLADIN TO THEIR
                  LIKING.
                  FOR THE PRICES THAT THESE RESTAURANTS CHARGE, THEY
                  SHOULD BE CLOSE TO
                  PERFECTION.

                  1. re: RENEE

                    > I DO NOT BASE MY CHOICES SOLEY ON THE WORDS OF THE
                    > FOOD CRITICS, THEY TOO HAVE THEIR "FAVORITES."

                    Good for you! But not need to "shout".

                    1. re: RENEE

                      also, you say that for the prices these restaurants
                      charge, they should be close to perfection. i
                      wholeheartedly agree with you that places with
                      ridiculous prices better deliver the goods (just check
                      out my post on joe's shanghai), but if you read my
                      review, you'll notice that prices at palladin aren't as
                      outrageous as most other upscale places, so i think
                      palladin gets a little more leeway there.

        2. Was there for lunch 2 days ago. Tim now has a few
          specials on the menu.

          Had a superb ragout of baby eels with garlic oil. I
          was in heaven! I'm told that the season for baby eels
          is coming to an end. It's worth the trip just for the
          baby eels.

          1. I visited Palladin last night and was disappointed.
            The promise Wonki and Gary mentioned in their posts is
            still that-potential-and has yet to bloom. And the
            prices have been raised since you've been there,
            Wonki-two apps, two entrees and two glasses of wine
            came to $150 with tax and a (generous-the service was
            very good) tip. The atmosphere is not so bad if you're
            further back in the room where 49th is not visible, but
            the bar reminded me of one in an airport. But the
            banquette was comfy and the noise and light levels are
            more than acceptable.

            My paupiette of diver scallops and foie gras, wrapped
            in a cabbage leaf, was visually stunning, whacked open
            like a big golf ball and resting on two pale and paler
            green ribbons of sauce. But the plate was so hot that
            all that beautful scallop meat was rubbery by the time
            I dug in, and the foie gras on the surface was
            overcooked as well. My friend's foie gras with rhubarb
            was COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the rhubarb. The
            caramelized strips, napped in an intense ruby sauce
            with a vinegary edge, were delicious- but what's the
            point of that if they blow the poor little piece of
            foie gras (at $21 for an appetizer) off the map?

            Entrees were equally alluring with a similar letdown.
            My seared black grouper, cooked perfectly-crisp and
            greaseles skin atop a pearly hunk of fish with the
            just-cooked slightly yielding texture I love, sat atop
            a lobster and red-wine sauce that was sooo salty that
            the subtle complexity I discerned a slight whiff of was
            buried. It takes a lot of talent to produce such a
            thin and intense reduction of wine and shellfish, so
            why completely subsume the flavor with a fistful of
            salt? And there was too much truffle juice in the
            sauce, which made it black and weird-looking-like there
            was squid ink in it. My friend's suckling pig was
            bland-cut in chunks, skin not crispy enough and again,
            a much too salty sauce. A great deal of care and
            thought has obviously gone into this menu, but it
            definitely needs more than a little tweaking and/or
            more Jean-Louis in the kitchen. I was very impressed
            by the two white wines I tasted off the by-the-glass
            list-a Benziger fume blanc with unexpected depth and a
            beautiful white burgundy-and not too pricey at $7 and
            $9 respectively. The list of bottles is highly
            intriguing, but a quick once-over gave me the
            impression that prices are all over the place.

            The happy ending is that we went to Jean-Georges and
            sat at the bar for dessert. Had the fabulous cherry
            variation-one more sublime thing about this sublime
            restaurant.