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Why all the hype about Palate Food & Wine?

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After reading so many raves about Palate Food & Wine in Glendale, I was really disappointed by the experience I had there. First of all, the decor is very strange--those giant urns with grapes and the 80s-style neon light are off-putting. And the table clothes were rumpled and messy-looking. But I would have happily overlooked those things if the food had been as good as promised by many reveiwers. But it was really average: the "Porkfolio" plate was skimpy for the price and not as interesting or varied as similar plates I've had at Lou or AOC. The pickled root vegetables consisted of about 4 tiny carrots that tasted like they'd spent about 5 minutes at most being pickled. The larger dishes we tried were OK, but pretty bland--all of them could have used more salt. I will say the services was very good--our waiter was engaging and helpful, especially with wine suggestions. But I came away underwhelmed by the food and annoyed I had schlepped all the way out to Glendale for such a blah meal. Did I miss something?

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  1. Interesting. I've yet to go (although I have just started working in the area), but it does get raves, and J. Gold did just list it as one of his 99 Essential LA Restaurants in the newewst LA Weekly edition.

    1. I love the decor. However, the night I went to eat at the bar my service was so poor I left without eating. I really want to go again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lotta_cox

        Does it still look like it did when it was Cinnabar? I was curious why Gold didn't mention that Palate is in the former Cinnabar space.

        1. re: Briggs

          Because the place was so drastically re-done that Cinnabar would never come to mind, just looking at the place. The bar is in the same location at the north end of the space, yet a very plain, not the Chinese ornate version from Alvin & Flame Simon.
          There is also seating up the stairway past the bathrooms toward the new wine shop and the loading dock area, so the size is also about 2+ times larger than Cinnabar.
          And the cooking is about as different as two restaurants could be.

      2. I too thought that they could have put a few more slices of salami on the Porkfolio as well. Overall I had a good meal with great wine but one thing really bugged me: my entree, a seafood stew, was cold. I don't know why in LA it's acceptable to serve cold/lukewarm hot food but it happens to me quite a lot.

        http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

        1. i have to disclaim that i was here with a bachelorette party (although a pretty unobnoxious one as far as these things go), and while all the items sounded interesting -- like all the little tidbits in mason jars; all these simple preparations of good ingredients that should be amazing --, none of it really blew me away. we did have some really nice wines, but the food itself was not amazing. nor was the service -- slow and addled at our table, plus an argument broke out between a few waiters out in one of the hallways.

          after hearing so much about this place, and being really impressed with the unusual space, it really didn't meet my expectations.

          1. Contrary to the preceding comment, I first ate at Palate last Thursday. It was such a great experience I returned this Saturday. The Porkfolio was the finest quality of cured pork I've experienced since Italy. The quality was exquisite and the portion was sufficient but not excessive. The other dishes all seemed appropriately seasoned and were innovative. Additionally, the menu had changed between Thursday and Saturday. The wine list is one of the better ones in LA area. There are many other clever features including choices in coffee, teas, spirits, portions, appetizers, and probably other things I don't remember. This is truly a welcome addition to the new innovative group of restaurants in LA metro.

            1. I have been reluctant to say it, so wanting a great place in the Glendale area, but I can't argue with your assessment. Great ideas and really great names on the menu (I love the idea of a pickle of the day and the Porkfolio), but it underwhelms.
              The wine list is really interesting and value priced, but the wines are generally on a par with the reasonable prices - not many (any?) are knockouts. And the featured pickled vegetables will ruin any wine.
              Service can be irregular but hasn't been a major put off and the owner is always engaging and eager to please.
              Maybe this is another example of overhyping - when you expect a lot, a restaurant is always hard pressed to meet it's expectations. But then again, even without expectations this would hardly blow anyone away.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Griller141

                I have to say that I read a lot of very positive things about this place and was excited to try it. Now that I have, I must say - DON'T BOTHER. While the food was OK - the service was HORRIBLE. I was at the bar and the bartender was never out of eyesight. Nevertheless, my wineglass was often empty, my water never refilled, my second course forgotten about and for the brief moment that I was considering ordering more, I was ignored for an eternity. I love great wine and great food but in these times, when going out is more of a splurge than a year ago - this place is not worth the bother.