My father, stepmother, and even I have been working 12 hours days in separate parts of the house and haven’t really seen much of each other whilst I’ve been here. So tonight we made a reservation and trouped to the Palm Beach Grill for the only reservation we could get last minute: 5:30pm.
Yah, a bit early but the place was packed and not just by blue-haired old ladies, although there was a tres elegant specimen of Palm Beach-hood, dining seule at a window table-very “I vant to be alone”. The bar was busy. Young families were eating together. Attractive, well-groomed older gentlemen with sweaters draped over their pink Oxford shirts were dining with women in large chunky necklaces throwing back clear and icy drinks.
The dining room is the essence of wasp-y elegance. Dark wood detailing, warm overhead lighting, and white cloth draped tables. I felt like we had just come off a beach day in Southampton- very Polo. Every server smiled warmly: the young women had neat hair and white teeth; the young men were tanned and lifeguard hot, and I bet named Chip. Or perhaps Skip.
I was lucky to have the GM, Christina, seat us. I gave her my Allergic Girl spiel and she was very understanding, listening closely and well. When our server came over she was also very clear about the kitchen’s abilities, even telling me that the side of “Beets” [stated plain on the menu] was tossed with walnuts and walnut oil! Eek! But here was an awake server. Excellent!
I split a NY strip steak and had veggies steamed on the side. And it was great. Simple, elegant, and delicious.
I had a nice chat with Christina after my meal. They have an open kitchen, a walk through-able kitchen, and I got the full tour. Beautifully shined cooper grill hoods, a white marble plating station, and slender muted lighting fixtures. It looked better designed than my apartment. But in the walk-through, I saw how many nuts they really cook with: they were silver bowls with different kinds of nuts on the marble used as last minute garnishes and a tub of walnuts in the salad section. Eek and double eek!
But I had no issues, no problems. I had a wonderfully yummy, allergen-free meal that was created in a fishy, nutty kitchen. [Actually a lot of the dishes were nutty. Almost all of the deserts had nuts and they fry in peanut oil but nowhere did it say anything about that on the menu. Hmm, something to think about changing Palm Beach Grill.] How? The staff at Palm Beach Grill [quietly part of the Houston’s chain of restaurants] really listened closely to my needs, communicated with me, and communicated with the kitchen. It seems like such an obvious and simple thing to do but it doesn’t always happen. And when it doesn’t disaster can ensue.
Given this yummy meal and attentive staff, I think I found my new Palm Beach haunt. That is if I can ever get another reservation.
UPDATE: I was able to return January 2009 to the same great service and attention to keeping my dinner allergen-free. Damon is the new GM, ask for him directly.