Thursday, February 11, 2010

An offally great time at Palate

It's hard for me to motivate for Glendale. Besides driving to Forest Lawn to visit relatives' graves, the only other time I've given the city a shot was dinner at Bashan. But yet another restaurant has caught Angelenos' attention. Palate Food + Wine is Octavio Becerra's 1st restaurant outside of the Patina Group. Yes, that Patina, that was home to great chefs such as David Myers (Sona, Comme Ca), Walter Manzke (Church & State), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry) and Mark Gold (Eva) that went on to open their own successful restaurants. When I heard they were having Offal night each Wednesdays, I was motivated enough to make the drive.

Palate is situated right by a car dealership. There's not much else exciting around it. But as a result, there's lots of parking on street.

We were surprised to find that the restaurant is huge. It consists of a front dining room and bar, another dining area and lounge at the back where a band plays later in the evening, wine shop, a library and wine and cheese cellars. The Offal menu is only offered in the back bar, which actually turned out to be the livelier part of the restaurant. You are still able to order from the regular dinner menu in the back bar.

The Offal menu changes every week so they keep things interesting. 3 courses for $25 or $9 per plate. Besides Offal Night, Palate also offers various other nightly specials such as $35 3-course Sunday supper and 3-course cheese flight and wine for $12 on Tuesdays.

Fresh bread and creamy homemade butter topped with thin radish slices.

Bottle of Borgogne. They had a wide selection of very reasonably priced bottles of wine.

Mason jar of berkshire pork. They also offer lamb, salmon and chicken mason jar options. Wow, $6 for all that rillette. Great deal. It was rich but needed just a sprinkle of salt to bring out the flavors.

Shaved lamb tongue salad with juni, crispy potato, bitter greens and celery leaf salsa verde
I am not a salad eater but I was impressed with this dish. Way to get me to eat greens by tempting me with offal. The salad was well dressed with vinegar and salt. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. The lamb tongue was tender and you could taste the lamb essence which added a great flavor to the salad.

Braised lamb cheeks with blood sausage, osaka, ricotta gnocchi, quail egg s.s.u.(thats sunny side up)
The lamb was tender but not as tender as some of the cheeks that I have had. I loved the quail eggs which added richness to the dish. The blood sausage was crumbled and pan fried so it wasn't in the original sausage link form that one is used to. I liked this preparation of the blood sausage as it was tasty and not pungent. Initially, I thought the dish was under seasoned but when I created a bite with a piece of the blood sausage with the rest of the components, it was perfect.

Grilled lamb heart with lentils du puys, Moroccan carrots and fava bean pesto
I was expecting yakitori skewers of hearts and was surprised to see a generous portion of thin slices of tender heart. It wasn't gamy at all, wasn't tough and had a texture that was less of gizzard and more of cooked liver. I especially liked the Moroccan spiced carrots which were flavorful and caramelized. A well executed dish that I would definitely order again.

The couple beside us were served a tart that looked and smelt delicious. When we asked how it was, the lady kindly offered us half of her tart. I declined a couple times but she was persistent and I was intrigued. Apparently they had sampled so many dishes that night and were full (one of the dishes they had was the bull's testicles. Humph.. didn't see it on the menu or I would have ordered it!)

Nettles tart with potato slices and creme fraiche
Absolutely delicious. The crust was buttery and flaky like shortbread. The creme fraiche was mild, creamy and really bound the tart together. Even though we had only half of the tart, it was sufficient because it was rich and satisfying.

Our neighboring couple, as it turns out, was the highlight of our evening. They were fun and you could tell, were really enjoying and living life to the best of their ability, which is something I aspire to do. A life of companionship filled with travels, checking out new restaurants, returning to old favorites, enjoying music at the lounge. Palate is that warm and inviting joint that attracts such people. People that want a place to gather with loved ones for a great meal, great ambiance and with no pretense. The food was excellent and the portions were huge. Offal doesn't have to be pungent and tough. It can be tender and flavorful. Palate does a great job of making something most people think repulsive, and creating an affordable and delicious meal.

Hits: great prices, all the dishes, ambiance
Misses: it's far from the Westside
Rating: ****

Palate Food + Wine
933 S. Brand Blvd.,
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 662-9463


SinoSoul said...

Balls out! I can't do it, cirque du fromage is about all the craziness I'm willing to endure at Palate... Move closer to the East side!

stuffycheaks said...

Sinosoul, you have it in you!! After all, heart and tongue cannot compare to cows brain and penis..