We have lofts, DART rail, and high-rise hotels. But for an authentic urban experience, nothing beats The Palm. Opened in 1983 in the West End, this Italian-accented steakhouse exudes casual, brash, big-city confidence. Chef Pedro Ortiz has worked for The Palm for 22 years, and his kitchen executes its time-tested recipes with precision and consistency.
Steaks are billed as Prime. A 24-ounce, bone-in ribeye bore a gorgeous black crust, with lots of salt and pepper perking up the meaty jus. Seafood included a 12-ounce slab of halibut that melted into snow-white flakes at the prod of a fork. The Slater appetizer paired shellfish: sweet crab cake with mango-pineapple salsa and butterflied shrimp over mustard sauce.
Here’s where to go for hearts of palm salad, which held extra-long stalks of the crunchy vegetable with wedges of tomato and hard-cooked egg over a bed of lettuce snipped into inedible shreds. Caesar was the real thing, with a rich eggy coating clinging to the romaine. The menu also offers pastas and veal.
Whether you find the worn wooden interior and trademark caricatures on the wall a plus or minus is a matter of taste, but no one appreciates absentee service. One waiter confided that he felt his job was to entertain. His clowning may have tickled the big party at the next table, whose food was promptly delivered. No such luck at my table for two. Lunch runs more efficiently, when downtown’s elite throngs the Palm’s business lunch, a steal at $16.95.
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