When I think of The Palm, I envision a fancy New Yorker carrying shopping bags in one hand as she hails a cab with the other on her way to (insert pretentious voice here) “lunch at the Palm.”
So, when I first got the invitation to come in and try out the Palm, I ignored it. I’m in Charlotte, the Palm is in New York City. A couple of weeks later, I received a second invitation right when I was coincidentally preparing for a weekend trip to NYC. After mapping out the location of the Palm in Manhattan in relation to where I was staying, I began drafting a response email. But just before I hit send, something caught my eye. The invite was for the Palm in Charlotte. What the what? There’s a Palm in Charlotte??
Lesson #1: read emails thoroughly before archiving, deleting, and/or replying.
When people ask me for restaurant recommendations I often joke about avoiding four-dollar-sign restaurants. In my book, $$$$ means special occasions only. Luckily, I had a reason celebrate! My mom was in town for the weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity to get fancied up for a girls’ night at The Palm.
As we walked into the restaurant, I felt a little apprehensive. I still had the glamorous New Yorker image in my head, and I was wearing Gap flats after all, not Jimmy Choos. All these anxious feelings melted away as soon as I approached the hostess. From her smiling face, to the jolly restaurant managers, to the walls covered with caricatures of famous North Carolinians, it felt warm and welcoming, not the slightest bit hoity toity.
Lesson #2: never judge a restaurant by what you’ve seen in the movies
Once seated, we were promptly served one of the best bread baskets I’ve ever laid my paws on: a trio of breads locally sourced from Great Harvest Bread Company. There was raisin bread, whole white bread, and my personal favorite: the Dakota Bread with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and millet.
Mom and I were in the mood for some seafood, so we started with the Colossal Lump Crabmeat Cocktail ($24). After we both verbally affirmed our passion for horseradish, mom dropped a heaping spoonful into the cocktail sauce. I waited as she took her first bite. She was speechless, her eyes closed, her face quickly turning red. I waited for some sort of sign… Was it good? Was it bad? Was she choking??? When a smile stretched across her face, I took a piece of crab, dunked it in the doctored cocktail sauce, and popped it into my mouth. And that’s when I realized it wasn’t just any old horseradish. It was atomic. Breathtaking, nose-hair-burning, atomic horseradish. It was fantastic.
Along with the crab, we enjoyed the bacon wrapped scallops ($16). Though the bacon wasn’t especially flavorful, the balsamic and basil reduction served for dipping was the perfect tangy pairing for the scallops.
As we pondered the menu, I saw several salads that looked appetizing, including the Louis “Gigi” Delmaestro Salad with shrimp, green beans, tomato, onion, bacon, roasted red pepper, egg, and avocado over iceberg lettuce with a garlic vinaigrette ($16). (This is at the top of my to-try list for my next visit!)
The Palm is well known for their steak, and my Filet Mignon held up to the hype: tender, juicy, and cooked to my requested temperature. A 9 ounce filet is $45, while the 14 ounce filet is $49 and big enough to share. Steaks are served with your choice of sauce: brandy peppercorn, hollandaise, béarnaise, or chimichurri at an extra $1.50 each. I didn’t love my brandy peppercorn selection (it reminded me of gravy, and I was hoping for something spicy with a vinegar kick), but the steak was flavorful enough to enjoy sauceless.
Mom ordered the broiled Chilean Sea Bass served with lime-infused corn relish with red peppers and shallots ($38). I loved how light and bright this combination was, and it was my favorite dish of the night, which says quite a bit given I’m not usually a fan of fish!
And since we were at the Palm, we splurged on the Broiled Jumbo Nova Scotia Lobster Tail, which is served with lemon and melted butter (market price).
In addition to these plentiful protein options, there are some Italian entrée offerings on the menu, including chicken Parmesan and veal four ways (Marsala, martini, parmigana, and Milanese).
Entrées are served a-la-carte and there are several side dish options, which come in individual portions ($8 — big enough for two) or family style ($12). Two that caught my eye were the goat cheese whipped potatoes and asparagus with garlic lemon butter. This evening, however, we skipped the sides to save room for the delectable dessert menu.
There wasn’t much of a dessert debate–we were both set on the bag of warm made-to-order cinnamon sugar doughnuts served with chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces. As the manager put it, these doughnuts were “stupid good.” I concur–these doughnuts alone are worth a trip to the Palm!
The Palm recently began offering a weekday “power lunch” menu. It’s a three-course meal for $26 with lots to choose from, including salads, Filet Mignon Medallions, Salmon, and desserts.
Other than the delicious meal provided by the Palm, I was not paid for this review. This blog post and comments within are based on my own, honest opinions.