Lunch at The Palm in West Hollywood
Clientele for lunch is predominantly the business crowd, with an average age of 50+. But there are a couple of tables with younger people, seemingly celebrating something. I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock, given the relatively expensive price for lunch.
Service was friendly and knowledgeable, but the lunch took 90 minutes for no apparent reason. The bread dish is large, with 3 types of bread. I especially like the fresh sourdough.
The soup special was tomato mushroom. It was awful: Watery and spicy, which was not advertised. It was like watery tomato juice and jalapeno juice… with 2 half mushrooms thrown in. The mushrooms were flavorful, but this dish was unseasoned, unbalanced and under-thought.
But the chicken parmesan was among the best I’ve ever had (reminded me a little of the version at Anna’s back in the day, but this was better). It was breaded so a little crunchy, and the cheese was melted perfectly. The chicken was moist, though thoroughly cooked, and there was a whole roasted garlic between the chicken and the cheese. The sauce was properly cooked down, but retained its full tomato flavor. This tasted more Italian than my pasta the previous day at Maggiano’s, a self-described Italian restaurant. It was served with linguini with marinara sauce, which was flavorful, but a little overcooked.
As sides, we shared the fries/onion rings combo and steamed spinach. The combo was a mound of fried food about six inches high, covering a nine inch plate. This would have been enough for a table of six, but we were only two. The “fries” are more like potato chips, not fries. And they’re not thick enough to make them texturally interesting. And the onion “rings” are akin to the fried onions you find on Grandma’s green beans over thanksgiving. They’re not rings, but rather thin slivers that are fried. It’s a tasty dish, for about five bites. Then it gets monotonous.
The steamed spinach on the other hand was the opposite. It was literally nothing other than a small plate of steamed spinach. No sauce, no lemon, no seasoning, no nothing. Frankly, I liked it; but I may not have liked it so much if we didn’t have the other more interesting tastes on the table.
Dessert was the New York cheesecake, and it was killer. This is a delicious version of the dish, with a sharpness to the cheese that screams richness.
The Palm Restaurant
9001 Santa Monica Boulevard (Between Doheny & San Vicente)
9001 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Cooked incorrectly? Send it back. Under seasoned? Season it at the table. Restaurants get blasted endlessly on both sides of this "seasoning" issue. How can they know what every darn person likes in the way of seasoning? But it is far, far better that they season carefully (under) than over. If your steak is over seasoned it's over and nothing to be done. Under, you can add some S&P at the table and you're good to go.
I have the Palm recently on my radar screen for their burger. I've read it's only served at lunch and I've only been able to make it to the Palm for dinner.
Across the board dinner seems a bit aged yet consistent. Good service and an upbeat atmosphere. Kinda a place you'd take the parents if so inclined but that's not a knock.
After being bribed with a martini to sign up for their Club, I finally relented. I got the feeling I could have held out for two)
Thanks lil mikey, the chicken parm and cheesecake are now on the radar as well.