Dinner at The Palm
It's my birthday, so my best friends took us three to The Palm, West Hollywood edition.
We ordered a number of dishes to share, and as the birthday boy, I ordered a steak. 18oz strip. I asked for it cooked "the rare side of medium rare," and for once the very good waitress simply said, "Of course." And that is how it came out. Very good meat, aged properly, cooked a point. I went for the Béarnaise sauce, which was perfection. It seemed freshly made, fragile, almost. Often restaurant béarnaise over-reduces the wine/vinegar/shallot/tarragon/chervil flavor base,so that it becomes a little metallic. Not so tonight.
Started with excellently dressed, very well-balanced Caesar salad. A teeny more anchovy wouldn't have hurt.
Calamari, fried in corn meal, greaseless, tasted of squid. Thin strips of pepper and lemon were also fried, a few strips each amid the pile of calamari. The lemon especially was a revelation, not bitter at all. The marinara sauce was very hearty, too much really, for the delicate squid. A tiny dab was fine, though.
Excellent brussels sprouts, small, again perfectly cooked. Dunno the methods involved, but they worked. Bright green, still textured but done to a turn.
What they call hashed browns which are really little batons of fried/roasted spuds, addicting.
Crab cakes, tasting of crab, filler invisible, very crab-like but no fishiness I have encountered with lump crab meat before. Mild mango salsa.
Our waitress was utterly professional, non-robotic, friendly but just distant enough, not butting in or trying any up-selling arm-twisting.
Best meal I've had in ages. I don't eat often in the Land of $50 steaks, but having been disappointed in other LA steak-houses, The Palm was a revelation.
Unless they relented (which I sincerely hope), the Palm gave up the ghost on prime rib over a year ago now, claiming it was too expensive/not cost effective to keep on the regular menu (some branches will sometimes offer it on special, e.g. Dallas, but not yet in L.A.). It used to be they only made two a night and often sold out, then they switched to only offering it on weekends and finally not at all. It was the best in the City but now I have to content myself with an occasional visit to Lawry's (though I am rather fond of the Yorkshire pudding there).
The Palm is being forced to move for a new 5 story multi-use. Not sure when the closing date will be [construction on the new project is currently required to begin by 2016 under the approval from the City] or where it will move to--would hope West but presume it will stay in the area if it can. Strongly disagree on DT being better (let alone much) than the Palm.