Friday, February 5, 2010

Dinner at Palate 2.5.2010

For most of the week, I had forgotten about our reservation at Palate food + wine in Glendale. I had read uneven reviews about their service but it was dineLA Restaurant Week again - perfect time for us to try this place out. I had been curious about it for quite some time. My mom drove us past this space whenever we went to the mall as kids. It once housed Cinnabar, which closed before I was grown-up enough to know what I was missing. Everyone I spoke to who had been to Palate had the same opinion: A few really great dishes, phenomenal wine list. And, it's better sitting in the bar at the back.

For a shared pre-starter starter :), we ordered the Potted lamb with Picked turnips and beets w/celery salt, not on the dineLA menu. WOW. This was delicious. The turnips were per the waiter's recommendation and I loved it. Sergio didn't like it as much but he too was wowed by the lamb. The lamb is served in almost a pate-like consistency, in a glass mason jar, with long bread crisps. The little turnips were crunchy, sour, salty -- the perfect, perfect little chasers to the delicious fattiness of the lamb.

(potted lamb)

--From the dineLA menu--

Elsie: Warm Stinging Nettles Tart, served with red onions, pecorino and miniature roasted potatoes. Good. Not amazing but I might order it again.
Sergio: Goat tortelloni, with hazelnuts, green garlic, preserved lemon, goat milk butter. VERY good. One of the best of the night.

Main Course
Elsie: Pork belly, served with celery root, Brussels sprouts, kumquat+bacon+pistachio relish. (Picture at the top -- cute edible flower garnish.) VERY good as well. Sergio thought it was one of the other best dishes of the night. Crispy, savory, sweet, melty fat.... I couldn't finish it. A little heavy for me but undeniably flavorful.
Sergio: Pancetta wrapped salmon, served with forbidden rice, rhubarb chutney and garlic luv (huh?). YUK. YUK. YUK. Not good. Fishy. I had some of the rice and even that was incredibly fishy. We probably should have sent it back.

Elsie: Honey panna cotta in orange blossom water. I loved this one. The panna cotta was so light and creamy. The blossom water was like liquid springtime. Perfect.
Sergio: Chocolate pudding with creme fraiche and fleur de sel. The bits of salt were a great juxtaposition to the dense, rich chocolate. Sergio absolutely loved this one.

--end of dineLA menu--

Sergio: Single shot espresso. Burnt. More than Starbucks. He hated it. At least they took it off the bill because it was so late to arrive. The waiter was visibly embarrassed about that.

The Wine
Oh! The wine! Yes, we had two glasses each and every single one of these was lovely. I noticed a good cocktail menu as well.
Elsie: Vatan, Andre Sancerre Les Charmes 2008 Loire
Sergio: Cheseboro Pinot Noir 2009 Arroyo Seco

The experience in general was...interesting, just like the menu and chef's ingredient choices. We will definitely return but will choose to sit in the back bar area and order more of the Mason Jars, and definitely try the Porkfolio. We'll probably avoid the restaurant area for the most part. Our waiter was very accommodating and actually quite good. For the prices though...I don't know. It was too loud, the tables too tight, and kitchen unreliable. The vibe was much better in the back bar/wine store area, through which we walked to exit. All in all though, it was wonderful date night.

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