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Palladin shows promise . . .


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Restaurants & Bars Manhattan

Palladin shows promise . . .

wonki | | Apr 28, 1999 04:17 PM

went to palladin last night at the time hotel in times
square (49th between broadway and 8th ave.). the place
is run (owned?) by Jean-louis palladin, who, at age
28, was the youngest chef to receive two michelin stars
in france. i'm 28 now, and the only michelins i've got
are on my 1991 used honda accord. anyway, the place
opened up about a week ago, so on a whim i decided to
check it out with a buddy of mine.

the adam tihany inspired decor i found less than
inspiring. the place was nice, but just didn't really
do anything for me. perhaps it was because i was
facing out and could see out the front of the
restaurant, which is all glass, and onto 49th street.
the fact that i was eating in an upscale restaurant in
times square was a bit weird, and i certainly didn't
need to be reminded of that. in my opinion, if you're
going to have a restaurant in times square, then the
room needs to feel like you're somewhere else, and this
room didn't do that for me.

my friend and i decided to go for the five course
tasting menu prepared by the chef, timothy myers. at
$65, i'd have to say that's a great price, since at
most other upscale places in the city, you're lucky to
get three courses for that much money. i noted on the
regular menu that prices seemed surprisingly reasonable
as well, with all entrees under 30 and most in the low
20s and appetizers in the low teens and even single

the first course was an ahi and hamachi carpaccio with
caviar and micro greens. the dish was good, though
definitely not as good as it sounds, or as it looked.
the fish was fresh, in alternating ribbons laid side by
side on the plate. although fresh, clean and simple,
the dish lacked any real spark or flavor. even the
caviar didn't add much to the dish, though it was a
good starter to whet the palate.

myers dialed it up a notch with the second course,
however, japanese octopus and squid salad with
asparagus, seaweed and black truffles. the dish was
exquisite and the best of the night, just the sort of
thing i was looking and hoping for from a place like
palladin. the japanese octopus was cut in round little
slivers and lined a mini mountain of the seaweed and
other vegetables, which were marinated in a nice light
vinagrette-type dressing. occasionally one could taste
a bit of cilantro, though i wished there was more of
it, as it really added a nice kick to the dish. the
flavors were fresh and clean, and mixed superbly.
needless to say i was happy.

next came the soft shell crab, close behind the octopus
salad as the best dish of the night. the crab was a
nice size and cooked to perfection. the sauce was
similar to a marsala, with a pile of assorted and very
tasty mushrooms which accompanied the crab beautifully.
the crab itself was excellent, juicy and tasty on the
inside, and soft and crackling on the outside. it
also went extremely well with our burgundy. if i could
have, i would have picked it up with my hands and just
started munching away. but i resisted my barbaric
impulses and plugged away with my fork and knife until
every claw was gone. the best soft shell crab i've had
in the past year. the only negative i'd have to say,
though, and not a big one at that, was that the sauce
tended to be a bit salty, although you didn't really
notice until well into the dish and by then you really
didn't care.

next came the cobia, which, from what i'm told, is a
type of sand shark. my friend didn't care for this
dish at all. i didn't find it too bad, though
definitely nothing too memorable. it's a white fish,
with a decent texture. it was served with a light
creamy buttery sauce (is that an oxymoron?) and a
vegetable medley, which i liked better than the fish.

the meat was also so-so. my friend got the oxtail,
which is always a good piece of meat. neither of us
cared for the bone marrow flan that came with it,
however. it was basically a bland goop that looked
like it didn't have much flavor, and in fact didn't. i
had the capon, which i guess is something related to a
chicken. i personally am not a big fan of chicken, so
the capon didn't do much for me either, though it was
good for what it was. the duck pate on the side,
however, although a tiny portion, was excellent.

finally, it was time for dessert. i had the banana
tart, with banana ice cream and banana flan. i
was thinking, maybe they should have called it bananana
or b-b-b-banana. or maybe they could have had a tie-in
with the upcoming disney movie and called it tarzan's
revenge (this is times square after all). but anyway,
although the dish sounded like banana overkill, i liked
it a lot. the thin slices of caramelized banana were
just right with the flaky crust underneath, and the
banana flan was excellent. the ice cream, while it
could have used a bit more flavor and texture, provided
the requisite coolness to make this dessert a
refreshing pleaser. my friend got the pear tart with
apple sorbet, which he liked better than my banana
tart, but i found to be unexciting. and the coffee was
very good.

all in all, i was quite happy with the meal, though i
definitely think the place could use a little work.
perhaps in a few weeks or months once they've worked
out the kinks the place will be much better. the same
goes for the service. although our waitress was
extremely nice, there were slight lapses in the
service. it took far too long to order the wine, and
when it came, the waitress forgot to use red wine
glasses, although this is something that i'm sure will
be fixed with time as well.

well, i guess that about does it. there were some hits
and misses, but given some time and a little bit of
work, i think this place has some potential. given the
competition, it's certainly a good bet pre or
post-theater, though i didn't notice a pre-theatre
menu. if anyone goes, hope you enjoy it and let me
know what you think. until next time, happy eating