Forget The Palm restaurants

SWMBO and I ate at the Palm on 19th Street in DC for many years. It was long the ultimate in Italian steakhouses. The food went downhill and then improved. We went there last night for her birthday. The place has IMO become just another expense account dump. Food was mediocre. The service was cloying and obsequious. They couldn't even get the takehomes right. i cut up my 837 Club card today and have written them They will not see us again.  pl

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19 Responses to Forget The Palm restaurants

  1. turcopolier says:

    I had forgotten what stiff necked snobs a lot Europeans are until someone wrote a comment about this that implied that we do not appreciate what high class restaurants really are. imagine, taking leftovers home. Well, pilgrims, I have eaten in more Michelin three star restaurants than most people and I find such snobbishness detestable. This reminds of the grand opening of the Sheraton hotel in Sanaa long ago. A group of Gulf investors had built the place. Guests were flown in from all across the world. The musical entertainment extended across the hotel with bands and orchestras in every ballroom. The food was excellent and an army of Filipino wait staff had been imported. SWMBO and I were invited and we attended in the company of the French military attache and his lady. They were close friends and a bizarrely grandiose but magnificent and enjoyable evening was the result. At dinner we had Porterhouse steaks imported from the US. Steaks of that quality and cut are a rarity in France. The French couple owned a beautiful greyhound bitch named “Jenny.” At the end of dinner I remarked that the dog would have liked the bones. The Filipino headwaiter heard that and whisked the plates off the table, returning in a few minutes with an aluminum foil sculpture in the form of a swan. “Yes, sir,” he said to me. “Jenny’s treats are inside.” I guess he did not now how to behave either.

  2. Vig says:

    Hmm? Some of us “stiff necked [European] snobs” may have encountered the nice custom along with the word doggy bag as used colloguially by our US friends.
    That’s not allowed to be used anymore?
    Mind you, come to think of it, those friends except for one didn’t have dogs. But quite frequently the content of the “doggy bag/foam food containers” provided an extra meal the next day. For the not so big eaters among us, that is. 😉

  3. turcopolier says:

    Typically rigid German thought and expression.

  4. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Well, you evidently are quite the connoisseur of restaurants, and I say that not to mock you in any way, but to respect your expertise on the matter.
    Some years ago I suggested you try the Ambar Restaurant in Clarendon, and inform us of your impressions of it.
    It gets very good reviews food-wise (anybody can check that out),
    but what I found particularly intriguing was the atmosphere it exudes.
    I used to walk past it six evenings a week.
    There would almost invariably be a crowd occupying the street-side tables, with waiters flitting around sometimes speaking in some Balkan language.
    It seemed like the type of place Boris and Natasha would have favored, smoking cigarettes at its entrance.
    I’d still like to hear your take on it.
    Were such places the right places for meeting contacts? A non-HUMINT person is curious.

  5. turcopolier says:

    I livrd in a lot of places and like good food and service. That is all. It is true that restaurants are useful for meetings with people you do not know very well. Almost everyone will accept a free meal.

  6. Paco says:

    I would not be surprised if you confess to have eaten a lot better in some not so high class diners in some god forgotten place than in those Michelin that you mentioned. I miss the old days in Spain when in any road eatery -where lots of trucks where parked, that was the call sign- they would put bread and wine on the table, free of charge. Trying to copy those “high class” french joints the overall quality of food -the main thing for me- has suffered a lot, prices have gone up, menus are pages long, and they charge you for the linen and napkins. I guess I’m getting old and suffering the good old days syndrome.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Yes. I like a good diner. We have an excellent one a couple of miles from home where we could have eaten quite well for 10% of the tariff at The Palm.

  8. Barbara Ann says:

    The “Jenny” story is great, that is good service. I hope the experience at the Palm did not mar SWMBO’s birthday celebrations.
    I see the Sultan has suggested to the UN GA that if the “peace corridor” in N Syria is extended to the Deir ez-Zor-Raqqa line he can resettle 3M Syrian refugees there. In the very same speech he decried Israel’s creeping annexation of Palestine. Irony, it seems, is no barrier to neo-Ottoman ambition.

  9. walrus says:

    We had no troubles with asking for takeaway leftovers in Italy or France two months ago. No one raised an eyebrow. It must be a German thing.
    As a matter of fact, in seven weeks in Britain, France and Italy we experienced only helpful friendly people. The one exception was a German in Venice who accused my wife, piloting her suitcases through the crowds as you do, of “blocking his way”. The bugger got away before I could catch him.

  10. walrus says:

    In Europe we travelled by car this time (4034 km.) We avoided cities and stayed AirBnB. We used internet travel forums to scope small towns near our route for restaurant recommendations for lunch. We found wonderful food in tiny towns well off the beaten tourist track. Not one bad meal. I now have a gnocchi addiction.

  11. JamesT says:

    Since you are a connoisseur of fine steaks I would recommend that you try Argentinian if you have not already.

  12. prawnik says:

    Genevieve d’Arrieux pointed out that there are two kinds of restaurants.
    High end places in metro areas, where you primarily go in order to see and be seen.
    More humble places, often in the provinces somewhere, where you go in order to eat food.
    It’s an overly broad statement, but there is some truth in it. I’ve eaten a lot of mediocre food in tony establishments, and I’ve eaten like a king in the back of Mexican grocery store.

  13. different clue says:

    Train-travel layovers have twice allowed me to spend some free-time hours in DC. Both times I went to a Brazilian steak house called Fogo de Chao, one of a small chain in several big cities. It may well be high end, but if anyone saw me they wouldn’t have know who I was.
    I thought the various meats and the somewhat-few very-good-offerings salad bar was/were very good. If others who know a lot more about steakhouses know of places which they know to have better meat than Fogo a Chao, then that would be good to know in case I ever get a chance to do something about it.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Have eaten in a lot of churrucaria gaucho restos in Brazil and Argentina. Always a good experience. In DC the best meat i have found lately is at the Capital Grill on Pennsylvania Avenue. I recommend the bone-in filet.

  15. different clue says:

    Col. Lang,
    Thank you for telling me this. If/when I get to DC again, I will make a point of engineering my time to be able to go there. And I will ask them if they have a particular choice of “done-ness setting” which they feel shows off their bone-in filet to its absolute best.

  16. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Our Favorite local Drive to a Diner that is one hour away…Views of Snow Capped Mountains…Old Forests…up a Valley Road of Farms…Hay Bales…a Buffalo Herd.. to a Diner in the Country..That Buys Local Produce..Fish..Farm raised Local Beef..and Has a Special Prime Rib Dinner every week that Has the Biggest Cut ever seen..Perfect Flavor…Choice of Potatoes ..Vegetables…Salad..Homemade Soups..and a Gourment Ice Cream Dessert …All for 17 dollars..PP,,,Then a Drive over to the Waterfrontfront..For a Stroll on the Docks…and a look atW ooden Boats Hand Built by Students at The Shop there..Then a Stop in the Local Pub..For some Live music..Jazz..or Blues..Life cannot get better than That…Salute..

  17. different clue says:

    Umm . . . what is the name and address of that diner? Or is that being kept secret to avoid too many people going there?

  18. turcopolier says:

    different clue
    Bob and Edith’s diner in a strip mall on North King’s Highway. open 24/7 “A taste of the South.”

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