Restaurants & Bars

Palate Food + Wine

lotta_cox | Jul 18, 2009 06:55 AM

Palate Food + Wine
933 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204-2107
(818) 662-9463

Food people, neighborhood people, bloggers, newspapers and magazines have all been going on and on and on about Palate Food + Wine since the day they opened their doors about a year ago. I went once with a good friend, sat at the bar and had such piss poor service it took me nearly a year to bring myself to go back despite the fact that it is in my neighborhood, I eat out constantly, and blog about eating like I have verbal diarrhea. You would think I would have given it a second shot. Well, I finally did this week, and what a difference a year makes. The food was delicious, the service was excellent (at times maybe too excellent) and even the people sitting next to us contributed to upleveling our enjoyment.

Supper started off a little slow with one of the busser/support personel bringing us a delicious plate of wheat bread with radish, sea salt and herb garnished butter. The butter was amazing on its own. It would be great spread over the bread while laying on a red checked blanket under a tree in the park drinking a nice cold rose from stemless glassware. The butter is housemade and has an almost cheesey quality.

After a little bit our server arrived and gave us "the speech". How long Palate has been open, explaining the progressive nature of the plates on the menu in size and complexity, the chef's pedigree, upcoming events, the wine list, restaurant philosophy and so forth. Honestly, it was a little exhaustive, in my opinion. Certainly no fault of the server, I am sure it is a standard shpiel. But it kinda wore me out. Bring me some wine before I have to listen to anyone else talk. And that last bit is all me and my job, the majority of which is spent hearing people out patiently. And it is the middle of a busy summer, in the middle of a busy week. I could happily not talk nor listen to talk for several days straight at this point. Things got better after the wine came.

One side of the menu contains an entire selection of pickled veg. We ordered pickled cauliflower, which was a little on the sweet side but nice. The pickling did not overtake the integrity of the fresh cauliflower taste. We also ordered pickled cucumbers. Elsewhere, we simply call these pickles. I love that these, like the cauliflower, were only slightly pickled. Lots of fresh cucumberey flavors popping through the vinegar and herbs.

We both ordered a potted meat. I tried the lamb. It was very good, although the curing process seemed to take over the flavors of the lamb. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good and the texture was marvelous, but it was not particularly lamby. If I had to guess, I would have said the meat in question was pork. However, I enjoyed both the format of the presentation and the meat itself. D's potted meat was shrimps, and they were fantastic. Shrimpy without being fishy, light textured, a hair creamy. I want this again. Planning to go again at the end of the month for the Cirque du Fromage, I may also order the potted shrimps. Just lovely.

For a main course, I ate this beautiful and generous arugula salad with summer stone fruit (peaches), haricots verts, red onion and hazelnuts. It was maybe a hair too liberally dressed but the dressing was light in flavor and I could feel the ever so slight crunch of sea salt all the way through.

For a main course, D ordered local halibut with baby artichokes and dragon beans. The halibut, as one would expect, was firm and meaty and the accompanying veg were the perffect foil for its meaty texture and light taste. The dish was delicious, light and summery. What the hades is a dragon bean? The Wise Geek says,

"The dragon tongue bean was first raised in the Netherlands, when farmers began to experiment with bean varietals looking for a sweet, waxy bean. The snap beans take around two months to mature, while the shell beans require an extra month or two to fully develop and dry on the vine. People who want to grow dragon tongue beans should plan on finding a sunny spot in the garden and working the soil with lots of compost and mulch to make it congenial for beans. Space the plants well apart so that they have room to grow, and keep them moist but not saturated in water."

A little later we headed into the back wine bar. Knowing there was a retail space somewhere in the back nohow informed me this was a beautimous earthy wine bar with food and whatnot.I sampled a summertime appropriate Torrontes, light and a little more tart than I typically expect from a Torrontes.

review with pics:

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