The Palm is a classic New York institution, serving delicious steaks and seafood since the 1920s. Its continued success led the restaurant to rapidly expand, with three locations in Manhattan and even more throughout the United States. Even with it’s growing success and chain of successful locations, The Palm is still family owned and operated sticking to a tradition of high quality food and excellent service.
Charactures of famous guests cover the walls, making The Palm less stuffy and up tight then most old-school New York steakhouses.
On a normal night, I would never find myself venturing to the Palm, but this is Restaurant Week. I try and find at least one classic New York City steakhouse to indulge my meat-lovers cravings. I decided to meet my sister and cousin, Douglas, who just moved to the city for dinner on a weekday night. We opted to go to original Palm location, found on 2nd Avenue near Grand Central Station. The place seems tiny at first, with an extremely narrow entrance. We were led to an additional room on the right side of the restaurant, and quickly realized there was even more seating upstairs. It’s deceiving shape leads me to believe that the lay out of the restaurant hasn’t changed in a century.
We glanced over the drink menu to start, They offer two different sized glasses of wine, allowing you to essentially order a glass and half to hold you over for the entire meal. This is a wonderful alternative when you’re thinking about ordering a bottle, but one person wants red and the other wants white.
While the sizzling lobsters and gigantic pieces of steak whizzed past us, we focused our attention of the slightly simpler Restaurant Week menu. Leigh and I decided to completely different routes with Leigh ordering seafood, while I ordered gazpacho and steak. My cousin, Douglas, went for a combination, ordering the baked oysters and steak.
The first course arrived, with the gorgeous baked lobsters and a sloppily plated bowl of watermelon gazpacho.
I feel like a cynical judge on Chopped or Top Chef criticizing the contestant for their inability to wipe the rim of the bowl. At first glance, the dish seemed forgotten and I questioned my choice. However the flavor of gazpacho was spot on and just as refreshing as I had hoped. The utilization of watermelon added a light sweetness, which played up the natural flavor of the pieces of jumbo lump crab meat sitting in the middle of the bowl. Tomato almost seemed like an after thought lingering on the palate with each bite. It was a lovely, light soup.
The real winner was the baked oysters. After a scarring incident at Picca in LA with scallops and cheese, Leigh and I have both been reluctant to order a similar dish. This dish at the Palm completely changed our perspective on the combination of cheese and seafood.
These delectable baked oysters packed so much flavor onto the little half shell. The creaminess of the goat cheese and spinach mixed with the briny oyster. All of the natural juices from the oyster mixed with the rich cheese and spinach mixture, giving off a saltiness to each bite. The acidic lemon juice helped to cut through the richness of the oyster. It was one of the most delicious and flavorful bites of baked seafood I have ever enjoyed.
Next, it was time for the entire purpose of our visit; steaks and scallops. I ordered the chimichurri marinated prime skirt steak with truffle shoestring fries.
The chimichurri marinade managed to turn an unimpressive cut of steak into something juicy, herbaceous and crisp. The classic pairing of steak frites is enhanced by the truffle oil, giving off a subtle earthiness that plays well against the chimichurri.
I chose to add a side of the Hash Brown Potatoes, which former New York Times food critic, Ruth Reichel, declared to be the best in the city.
These buttery, rich and crispy potatoes are heavenly. The inside is creamy, but contains it’s shape. But it’s the crispy outside pieces that are the most delicious and wildly addictive. I want to have a bowl of these little pieces of potato served every morning next to a perfectly cooked over-easy egg and juicy piece of steak.
Combining the steak and hash browns creates the most incredible bite; sweet, salty and rich. I think I went to steak and potato heaven with these two dishes put together.
I then reached across the table for a taste of Leigh’s Jumbo Sea Scallops and Citrus Risotto.
The creamy citrus risotto was tart and rich providing the ideal contrast against the lightly seared sea scallops. The crust on the scallops encased all of the juices and flavors, keeping the pieces moist. Squeezing the lemon on top of the scallop further ties the dish together. It’s a great alternative for those who tend to shy away from red meat.
Finally, it was time for dessert. We ordered all three to share.
This cake tasted like pure chocolate frosting, which is not a bad thing. It was super rich and no amount of raspberry sauce would mellow down the heaviness of this dessert. Just a few bites did the trick, filling any craving for something sweet.
I wished the keylime flavor was a bit more prominent in the dish, since these type of lime is known for its overly tart flavor. The berry compote added a sweetness to the pie. Good dessert, not great.
Probably my least favorite of the three desserts. The white chocolate mousse had a gritty texture, making it really hard to eat.
The Palm should probably just stick to making savory dishes and stray away from sweets.
I’m really glad I can cross this New York Institution off of my ever growing “To Do” list. The steak was delicious, oysters extremely memorable, and hash browns were to die for. It’s a classic place that every New Yorker should try at least once in their life. But unless it’s restaurant week, be prepared to drop heavy bucks and be sure to skip dessert.
The Palm – 832 Second Avenue – New York, NY
Location: Midtown East, NY
Perfect For: Special Occasions, Business Dinners
Reservations: Recommended, via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Baked Oysters, Chimichurri Marinated Steak