Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another bargain lunch in Manhattan

Pistachio-Encrusted Sea Scallops at Palm Restaurant in Manhattan.

Baby Arugula Salad with Feta Cheese.

For my third Restaurant Week lunch in Manhattan, I chose Palm Restaurant in the Theater District, a branch of the original, 86-year-old dining institution on Second Avenue.

I liked the lunch menu, which offered three courses for $24.07, plus tax and tip, less than the regular price of an entree at other times.

And the restaurant is near the E subway line, which my teen-age son and I planned to take on Tuesday to the last stop, World Trade Center, to view the 9/11 Memorial.

To get their caricatures on the wall, customers have to spend $15,000.

This famous Hollywood couple joined us for lunch.

I started with a great salad -- a soup bowl full of peppery arugula with strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese in just enough raspberry vinaigrette.

My son chose the Chef's Soup of the Day -- cream of broccoli with chicken -- and he loved it.

My entree was a healthy, beautifully balanced plate of sea scallops with sauteed spinach aglio e olio in a roasted red-pepper sauce.

I loved the crunchy pistachio crust yielding to tender, buttery scallop, and the light sauce.

My son ordered the New York Strip 10 ounce with Danish blue cheese and a wild mushroom sauce, topped with shoestring potatoes.

My son ordered his New York Strip cooked medium.

For dessert, my son had Reese's Peanut Butter Pie, and when I told the waiter I was on a diet, he allowed me to substitute mango sorbet for the other choices, Key Lime Pie and Bourbon Infused Creme Brulee.

What a terrific lunch, and the service was great, too. We paid about $31 each, including tax and a 20% tip. 

The Mango Sorbet portion was generous, as were all of the other courses.

We asked the waiter about the caricatures covering the walls and pillars, and he said all were members of "the club" -- customers who had accumulated 15,000 points (by spending $15,000) at the restaurant.

The waiter said Palm throws them a party and puts their images on the wall.

The original Palm opened on Second Avenue as an Italian restaurant in 1926, and looks the same, the host said.

He said the caricatures echo a time when newspaper sketch artists drew customers' faces on the walls of the original place, in return for free meals.

A menu from the 1950s shows the most expensive item at the Second Avenue restaurant was a 5-pound lobster for $14.

The original Palm didn't have printed menus until the 1950s.

Now, this month's special at the Palm where we had lunch is a 4-pound Nova Scotia lobster, split in half for two people, with two starters and two sides, for $99.

The Palm Restaurant, 250 West 50th St., New York, N.Y. 212-333-7256. 

For the NYC Restaurant Week Web site, click on the following link: Summer Restaurant Week

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