When Palate Food & Wine first opened last May, I thought the restaurant was located in a mall. Specifically, I thought it was one of the new eateries at the “Americana at Brand” in Glendale. I immediately added it to my “eat there soon” list, but I hesitated making a reservation because it was in a mall.
It’s not that I have anything against eating at a mall. Whenever I go to the Grove (next to Farmer’s Market), I love eating at Ulysses Voyage Greek restaurant. My favorite bite there is the “Chicken Lemonato”. When I go shopping with my sister’s kids at Montclair Plaza, we ALWAYS stop for a bite at Hotdog-On-A-Stick, and it’s usually me begging to stop! I have no problem eating at a mall… it’s just that I’ve never gone to a mall for the sole purpose of dining … until recently.
When Los Angeles Magazine proclaimed Palate Food and Wine, the “Years Best Restaurant” (Jan 2009 issue), I thought “well that’s worth eating at a mall”. My husband and I made a reservation for an early 6pm Saturday dinner on January 3rd. We left the house about thirty minutes before (it would usually be about a fifteen minute drive), because we were concerned about busy mall parking. I was also worried about trying to find the restaurant in a shopping center that neither of us had been to before.
Driving up to Americana we saw signs for valet parking so we turned in the driveway, but before we got out I asked, “which way is Palate?”. The valet had no clue so we waited in the car while he checked for us. He came back a minute later and said there was no “Palate” restaurant at Americana.
By this time, I decided to do the obvious thing and called the restaurant for directions. I wish I could find a better word than this, but since it works so beautifully here… I simply need to say… DUH, Palate Food and Wine is NOT located at the mall!
For those of you (who like me) thought it was located INSIDE the Americana at Brand, the restaurant is actually a few blocks PAST the mall (if you’re coming from the 134 freeway). It’s on the right side (on Brand blvd) in between Garfield and Chevy Chase Dr. Just look for the Mazda dealership and you’re very close.
What about the food? We LOVED it. So much that we went back the next Saturday, but this time for a later 9:30 dinner reservation (just to get a different vibe). Chef Becerra was warm and inviting on both visits. We chatted about truffles on the first night and pork belly on the second. I mistakenly thought the pork belly portions were bone marrow (from across the room) and was wondering why they weren’t on the menu.
During our first dinner at Palate, our table was next to where Chef Becerra was expediting orders… which is absolute HEAVEN for me, except my back was to the chef and kitchen! Peter kept “oohing” and watching as Chef Becerra was finishing the plates before sending them out to diners. I made sure I had the better view on our second visit.
Near the end of that first dinner…. after we had ordered our cheese course, Peter said “hey, that looks like a truffle shaver. I think the chef is shaving truffles”. I quickly snapped my head around and yes indeed… Becerra was shaving big, beautiful black truffles on to what looked like three portions of the lightest, fluffiest scrambled eggs ever. This was definitely not on the menu so I asked the chef what he was making. And then I called our waiter over so, we too, could partake in the decadent truffle egg dish.
The waiter paused and said “really?… you want to order it now, after your cheese course? I’ll have to check with the chef”. A few minutes later we were happily eating the lighter-than-air fluffy eggs (on a crostini) covered with perfectly shaved truffle slices.
That was definitely one of our favorite bites at Palate (so far). And we would have missed it if Peter didn’t know what a truffle shaver was! He was familiar with it because I use ours regularly to slice garlic and shallots. It would have been so unfortunate if we had missed out on the delicious “off the menu” dish.
Our favorite server on both nights was the lovely and charming Monica. Just like Chef Becerra, she made us feel comfortable and welcome. If you haven’t been to Palate yet, you should find your way there (it’s not at the mall!) soon.
What we ate (from “Winter Dinner Menus” 43 & 44):
Homemade butter with radish slices and fleur de sel.
Porkfolio with Grape Leave Mustard $12, Potted Salmon Rillettes $5, Short Ribs (with Pomme Puree) $19, Pork Belly (with Sweet Potato Hash) $17.
Pickled Persimmon $3, Scallops $12, Cheese Course: (Puits d’astiers, Brillat Savarin, Epoisses) $12 (for 3), Young Rabbit with Roasted Grapes $18.
Crostini with Eggs and Shaved Black Truffles (off menu item). Not in photos that we also loved: Potted Olives with Citrus & Thyme $5, Potted Berkshire Pork $5.
One of my favorite rooms at Palate was the fromager station. If you love cheese as much as I do, then you’ll want to press your face against the chilled glass too. Make sure you wave a hello to the AWESOME fromager, Andrew Camp!
Andrew hard at work.
with the delightful Chef Octavio Becerra
Note: This restaurant is now CLOSED
Palate Food and Wine
933 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
Positively Delicious Reviews posted on:
My Truffle Shaver