The Palm

Josh wanted to get out of town this weekend so him and his friend drove out to the Hamptons with us for a few days.  It is so nice to be looking at a different landscape for a few days. 

Fred had it in his head on the way out that we should go to The Palm for dinner.  The first time I ever ate at the Palm was when I was living in Los Angeles, my senior year of college.  I had an internship which was part of the curriculum.  Back then we actually got paid for these jobs.  I was working as an assistant buyer at Robinsons in the mens department.  Great semester.  My Mom came out and took me to The Palm for dinner.  I had never been and it was definitely a treat to go.

Since then, I have been to the Palm a few other times in different cities.  Always the same decor, always the same menu.  There are a few restaurants who have had incredible success just replicating their concept across the world.  Think high end fast food.  Nobu, Morton's, The Palm, etc. 

The last time I went to The Palm was probably in the Hamptons and it was easily 4 years ago at best.  My last time ever might have been last night.  Bottom line, except for the steaks which are definitely delicious, the rest of the food sucks.  Nothing as truly changed on that menu in 25 years.  They have added the seared raw tuna with black sesame seeds and nori because that is not a 25 year old dish.  They have also added more fish to the menu but as a whole, the food is way over priced and bland.

We all began with salads.  Josh did the tuna I described which after 2 pieces, he'd had enough.  Just overwhelmingly heavy and not that good.  I had the hearts of palm salad minus the olives and eggs.  Chopped iceberg lettuce with chunks of tomatoes around the edge of the plate and 20 pieces of heart of palm lying down the center.  No dressing, totally bland, mealy tomatoes and just yuck.  Josh's friend went for the Caesar salad which was chopped iceberg lettuce laden with so much dressing he even said you can't eat that much of it.  Fred probably made the right call.  The classic hunk of iceberg with blue cheese dressing on the side.  Did I mention the bread was stale?  That always sets the tone for the type of meal you are about to have.

We all did steak.  Rib eyes and New York strips.  Way too much but that is the schtick.  I remember going to Morton's once in Chicago on a business trip.  The guy I worked for went up and down on his weight like no other.  He was not a big guy and could put away the food.  He begged me to dare him to order the 40 ounce steak.  I refused but he did put down a 24 ounce one which is a ridiculous amount of meat. 

For sides, we had the cream spinach which was more cream than spinach and so much butter it basically tasted like butter.  The mushrooms are okay but again the flavor is not in the mushrooms but the butter. 

One of their schticks is to bring around pieces of desserts on a plate that are the size of your head at the end to choose from.  We went with a piece of the chocolate cake.  The taste brought me back to my childhood where my Mom used to buy the frozen Pepperidge Farm chocolate cakes that we'd keep around in the freezer.  Tasted the same.

We had a fun night but The Palm is so old school that back in the day, it was a treat and fantastic.  Now, to me, it is tired, over priced and just not that good.  As my friend asked me, who we bumped into last night at the Palm, on email after dinner, "how was your meal?  I think that place kind of sucks!".  She hit the nail right on the head.  It sucks.