This week we are introducing a new section to the blog: Classic restaurants reviewed with Josh Marcus from Josh’s Deli and Daniel Serfer from Blue Collar. By “Classic” we mean a place that has been open for more than 10 years.
Classic: The Palm
Location: 9650 East Bay Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor Isles, FL 33154
Guest Reviewer: Chef Brandon Whitestone
Without a doubt, The Palm is one of the cornerstone institutions of the american steakhouse. founded in 1926 by John Ganzi and Pio Bozzi and now boasting almost 30 locations nationwide including a couple in Mexico, it continues to offer the solid dishes one is to expect from a quality steakhouse and then some, putting to shame numerous chain steakhouses. It got its name by mistake, as Pio and John, freshly arrived to NYC from their native Parm in Italy went to register the name to pay homage to their hometown and the lady at the desk made the mistake.
Probably the name does not apply better to a location than to Miami. The Palm has been open on Bay Harbour Isles since 1981 and it is located in a small street off the main 96th st. It is managed by Michael Mayer and has Pedro Vargas behid the stoves. Its small entrance and lack of major signage make it look as if it were some sort of private club.
Inside it almost feels that way. You can tell absolutely no one is there by mistake, or that it is their first time.
The menu can be quite daunting even for steakhouse standards. They have a wide selection of steaks with every side imaginable and enough surf to please the most demanding uncarnivours. The service is impecable as you would expect in a classic institution. It is probably one of the reasons they have been around for so long. There was even a head waiter whose level of commitment went beyond his cast leg, wheeling himself across the dining room with a half tricycle , sometimes to the discomfort of his felllow servers.
Out table was dissapointed at first since we all had one thing on our mind that did not show up on the menu: prime rib. Upon a quick chat with our server we were pleased to find out it was an off the menu item, as it sometimes is. No one hesistated to go for it.
Fred Flinstone would have been proud. Each on the bone prime rib steak was at least 10 inches from tip to bone end and 1 inch thick. They must have weighed at least 30 oz each.
The color was perfect. Pink in the middle with brown ends that started to come off with the touch of the fork, like that wall of sand formed by late tide. Each rib came in a shallow puddle of its own juices, that gathered pace as one cut through the richness of it. Cups of jus were also presented nonetheless, as was a cup of horseradish. We all agreed, when it comes to beef, few bites are better than this chunk of prime rib, dunked in jus and the smeared with horseradish sauce. Heaven.
The sides play catch up nicely. The asparagus are neatly fried with a light batter, and the onion rings are small and crispy, like calamari, not a piramid of soggy frisbies like you would get at tgi’s. hash browns were also spot on.
As if the monstrous steaks were not sufficient, and since we had all made ourselves this was our year end meal treat, a giant 4lb crustaceous was also ordered, and brought to the center of the table neatly chopped into manageable portions. The meat was freash and tender, nicely seasoned. No claw was left unclipped, no area left unexplored. Josh was kind enough to offer me the “offal” from the lobster, greenish and strange looking, but delicious as hell. Thanks man.
At this point faces started going pale and the conversation began to slow down. Enter the food coma. Is it possible to ever go to a steak house and not go into a food coma? I still havent managed to do so. Why are the portions so gigantic remains a mistery to me.
But of course we had to have dessert, and we chose none other than the famous cheesecake and carrot cake, to share of course. They both almost completely dissapeared in under a minute. Both were nice sweet endings; not your fancy delicate dessert, just plain old large cake portions, probably similar in taste to what you could get at your local supermarket but hey, at this stage and after such amazing steaks, anything sweet would’ve done the trick.
Dont ask how much the check was! Heck, its a classic, it was great, it was fun with friends and it was the year end meal!
See you on a next episode soon of classics review with Josh and Dan