Tried out La Palette at their new location this past Thursday evening. Wonderful! I'd been to this restaurant several times before when they were still in their Kensington Market location and it's still spectacular.
I was a bit skeptical on how it would compare to their old digs since the new space is considerably larger and the area is not known for particularly great food. They did not disappoint though! They've taken over the old Taro Grill spot and made it their own. I love the open concept kitchen - the only drawback being it got smoky as the kitchen got busier - maybe they could invest in improved ventilation....
Service was very friendly and attentive, but not suffocating. The owner and one other guy were waiting on a full back-half of the restaurant.. The decor is warm and intimate, especially towards the back of the room. It's dimly lit, making it a bit more romantic and the wall art is interesting enough to keep you occupied if you're waiting for the rest of your party to show.
Menu was witty and full of delicious options! I managed to narrow down my entree to about 6 options and decided ultimately to go with the prix fixe for $32. For that price, you can choose from a wide and tasty selection of apps, entree and dessert. I went for the escargots, whitefish fillet and lemon torte.
The escargots were perfect, neither soggy nor chewy and layered with some greens. It was a nice escape from the usual garlic butter-laden dishes one usually gets. The fish was served with a tangy slaw that I wasn't able to finish after I'd devoured the fish. The whitefish was very moist and fresh and the crisped skin added a nice crunch to each bite. This was also served with a mash with mussels mixed and sprinkled with melted cheese. An unusual combination, to be sure, but once you try a bite, the smoky flavours will literally melt in your mouth! The meal was finished off with a lemon torte. Admittedly, I've had better desserts here. The lemon curd was too creamy for my taste and lacked "tanginess" and the crust tasted undercooked. The presentation was very attractive though. The meal was washed down with a glass of Grenache Blanc - first time I've ever had this wine and it was so easy to drink and started off very mellow and light, becoming more fruity as it warmed.
My date had the prix fixe as well. He chose some different options: pate, the venison ribs with a delectable turnip (?) mash and julienne beets and the sorbet to finish. He adored the pate and the ribs fell right off the bone and were so nicely matched by the sweetness of the mash and beets. The sorbet was a great finish to a somewhat heavier meal.
The meal totaled to about $100, not including tips.
One last thing! A pair of musicians showed up and provided live music! One gentleman was on an accordion (I think) and the other was on a violin. It was lively and fun and unobtrusive - we were still able to maintain a conversation without yelling. They played gypsy-esque music reminiscent of a scene out of the Red Violin. They created a fun energy and made this place that much more enjoyable.
Hope this helps anyone considering checking this place out. They're known for serving some interesting meats, but vegetarians will have plenty of options as well. I know I'll definitely be back to work my way through the rest of the menu!
492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA