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Nov 5, 2006 02:43 AM

Palo Santo--sorry, I've got some gripes

Dinner at Palo Santo this evening.
Seated immediately at 6:20 PM.
Grilled endive salad with roasted red chilis and goat cheese: quite tasty
Beet and green bean salad: taste of beets hidden by excessive red wine vinaigrette (the same vinaigrette that appears on several other dishes on the menu)
Grilled sea bass (branzino, sea bream, whatever you call it): generous portion.
Described by waitress as being served over purple potatoes and green beans.
Found a single slice of potato, several green beans and a colorful radish. Waitress asked if all was okay..we pointed out absence of potatoes. She offered to bring some more potatoes.
More on this later.
Sides: tortillas: smoky and tasty..nice accompaniment to veggies.
seasonal veggies: kale with that red wine vinaigrette (this time, just enough to allow kale to come trhough).
Roasted plantain: very good.

Check arrived: $3 added for those potatoes. Asked waitress if she meant to charge us for the potatoes. She seemed embarrassed but indicated the chef told her to charge for them. Her explanation: the other diners were receiving similarly sparse servings of potatoes.
Sorry, but this seemed petty. For a new restaurant to charge an extra 3 bucks for what should have been a comp is risking much more than 3 bucks in future income.

They're still BYOB, so buy a nice Malbec before coming.
I'm gonna give them another chance, but hope they're more lighthanded with that red wine vinaigrette and don't charge for a plate they offered as a comp.

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  1. Had a really nice meal there on Friday, though there does seem to be some confusion about what's actually on the menu with the waitstaff...we had similar experience. My only gripe was that it was expensive. 40 without wine is just too pricey for that neighborhood (Applewood may the only place that's worth that money to me). Our dinner should've been 40 each with wine.

    1. Liked the chef's old place in williamsbrg; not so hot on Palo Santo. Overpriced, tiny portions, and not particularly distinguished wild pig. Girlfriend says that her chicken was really good, and has to agree that the service is out of it at best. Girlfriend: "Cactus salad to small a portion, overpeppered, but chicken was really tender and lots of it." Underwhelming is the way we'd look at it.
      Damn. Too bad.

      1. Let me clarify one thing, since my 'gripe' started this thread: I have no complaints about the pleasant serving staff. In fact, three different servers took care of our table (one of them attempted to give us another table's salads, which we politely pointed out) and one, Tara, agreed that the potato situation merited a separate plate of potatoes. The description of the sea bass included purple potatoes. We only found one single thin slice on our plate.
        Tara was clear that the potatoes would be a complimentary taste, since they were missing from our dish. She was genuinely embarrassed to tell me that the chef had insisted that we be charged for them. She offered to go back to the chef to discuss the situation, but I didn't want to have such a nice person compromise her job in any way by questioning the chef.

        The quality of the food and the serving sizes were fine for us. Our only complaint was that the red wine vinegar is used by the chef with a heavy hand. The beets, like the potatoes, are seasonal and local, purchased, we were told, at a farmers' market. We really wanted to enjoy
        these last few seasonal products of local farms, but the beets were absolutely lost in the heavy red wine vinegar. Our check, even with the potatoes in question, was $51 (we shared the sea bass, which was $22)...quite fair...add to that the fact that we were able to bring our favorite Argentinian Malbec, which cost $19 in a wine store and would probably end up costing $45 when Palo Santo gets its wine license.