Sunday, January 25, 2009

good cholesterol: the palm

the best way to celebrate growing older is to indulge in a meal that is sure to speed the process along. last week my father and i convened for a power lunch at the palm: tribeca for my 26th birthday. we left satisfied.

the palm: tribeca
206 west street

new york, ny 10013

you couldn't tell by the bird-shit stained scaffolding out front, but the palm is a classy place. no, not classy like a night at the opera; think more along the lines of a shoe shine or a shave from the barber, now we're on the same page.

the palm: tribeca occupies a sprawling venue that spans an entire city block. the decor is rather austere and decidedly masculine. borderline kitschy caricatures of celebrities and politicians adorn the walls and mahogany stretches as far as the eyes can see. it's the type of place where business men court clients and fathers take their sons for their birthdays.

--- stephen likes it!!

we arrived about 10 minutes early for our reservation and enjoyed a crisp brooklyn lager at the bar. the staff was friendly and accommodating. halfway through our first beer, we were escorted to our table. at this point, my father proceeded to steal a lunch menu.

much of the wait staff were young males, kind of gruff. you could tell they would rather be watching the game than taking your order, however, they were polite and professional nonetheless.

i ordered the 24oz rib eye, medium-rare while my father ordered the kobe beef burger, medium with sautéed onions. creamed spinach and sautéed brussels sprouts were the sides. a basket of bread was brought to the table to hold us over until our food came. it was at this point that my father ask to see the dinner menu, "because he was curious" - he proceeded to steal this menu as well.

-- bread basket

aint nothing special; the raisin bread was pretty tasty, the onion bread was dry and the white bread was...well, white bread

-- creamed spinach

above average. the iron-rich earthiness of the spinach was pleasantly accented by sweet notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. the spinach was fresh and robust, the sauce a creamy béchamel. this wasn't the frozen stuff; you could taste the love.

-- sautéed brussels sprouts w/ bacon, lobster, shitake mushrooms and marsala-butter sauce

everything but the kitchen sink? i don't know, i think i saw a faucet in there...
chefs love to put dishes like this on the menu; they utilize the odds and ends from different dishes that would otherwise go to waste. the chef saves $ and the customer gets an interesting "seasonal" dish. in my experience, dishes of this nature are either HIT or MISS. the palm HIT this dish out of the park, much to my stomach's delight. the sprouts were tooth-tender, no mush-mouths here. the salty bacon paired well with the loamy mushrooms, a true lesson in umami. the lobster, seemingly out of place, played nicely with the sprouts and wine sauce, while adding some much-welcomed bulk to the dish.

-- kobe beef burger

perhaps a bit pricey for a burger, but how can you go wrong, really? the meat "was like butter", for lack of a better idiom. there really are no words; either you've had kobe beef, or you haven't. this perfectly marbled masterpiece was well seasoned and cooked true to doneness. proudly perched atop a buttery brioche bun, a tangle of smothered onions adorned its crown. the fries, adequately crispy and as salty as the dickens.

-- 24 oz rib eye w/ bordelaise sauce

damn, just look at it; a sight to behold. 24oz of slaughterhouse goodness, at least an inch-and-a-half thick. noticed the well caramelized crust, and warm red center - cooked to perfection, but alas, not all that glitters is gold. shame on the cook who ruined this fine cut of meat by under seasoning it! perhaps "ruined" is a strong word, but under seasoning a cut of meat like this can demote a perfectly cooked steak to "just ok", and a "just ok" steak to sizzler.
seasoning gripes aside, the meat was of the highest quality; tender and juicy as all hell. some bordelaise sauce on the side provided enough tang to facilitate flavor homeostasis.

i'd be lying if i said i wouldn't return to the palm, however, if you are on a hunt for the best steak in NYC, perhaps you should go elsewhere first.

under seasoning? FOR SHAME!

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

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