Never Leave LA

The Palm Reinvents Itself in Beverly Hills

The Beverly Hills Palm Restaurant is in a shiny new spot and sexier than ever. Now just a few blocks east of Rodeo Drive, the 6,000 square foot space can seat 185 people, including an intimate outdoor patio. After almost forty years in West Hollywood, the new Palm fits perfectly in Beverly Hills. The older professional crowd packed the bar and the large open dining space allows everyone in Sparkle Town to be seen. Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was a few tables away as Gwyneth Paltrow graced our presence as her cozy table booth was in eye view of ours. Bruce Bozzi Jr., the fourth-generation member of one of the original founding families made sure our night was an organized foodie success.

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Bruce B. Bozzi Jr., the executive vice president of the Palm Restaurant Group, said deciding what to do with the caricatures “has taken years off my life.”- From the NYTimes (Photo credit: http://www.NYTimes.com)

The Palm has never had to rely on trends, but just fresh ingredients that reflect the best of their Italian-American heritage – from Prime Aged Steaks to jumbo Nova Scotia lobsters to Chicken Parmigiana and Veal Martini.

Our exclusive media night included signature Palm dishes, like the Prime New York double cut 36 oz steak and four pound lobsters as well as the chicken parmesan, which Bozzi spoke of several times as “The Best.” The lobster claws almost the size of my head and tails were expertly cut and pulled apart for us by one of the servers. The seafood tasted so fresh it didn’t even need to be dipped into the warm pot of butter in the middle of our lobsta’ feast. And this is coming from a lobster expert who grew up in Connecticut eating it daily.

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Lobster Lover Feast at The Palm (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

Our mouths salivated over the start of our meal with the ‘ocean floor’ – grand plates filled with jumbo shrimp, massive lumps of crab meat, and oysters. We learned the kale salad with its tiny currants is the only kale salad you will ever find at any Palm. Of course, it’s LA! Kale is a staple in this city. I adored the creamed spinach and the signature Half & Half – crispy cottage fries and fried onions.

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Photo credit: Melissa Curtin

Dessert continued to satisfy us, especially paired with fabulous bottles of red wine. I couldn’t get enough of the enormous chocolate layered cake. The mini warm sugared doughnuts with caramel and chocolate dipping sauce were the perfect ending. I was happy to be seated next to some fabulously interesting foodie travel writers, so trading stories and sharing tons of laughs were an excellent bonus to this fun filled evening.

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Photo credit: Melissa Curtin

We learned the history of The Palm – how it started in New York in 1926 with a philosophy:  Treat guests like family, serve great food, and always exceed expectations.  Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened the first Palm in New York City. They shared their commitment to quality and generosity of spirit with every guest who walked through their doors. It’s funny because I felt that same genuine kindness from Bruce Bozzi Jr., the Executive Vice President.

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Photo credit: Melissa Curtin

Do you know why The Palm has funny caricatures of famous and influential people on their walls? In 1926 the owners of The Palm had no money to decorate, but their location happened to be on Manhattan’s Second Avenue, right near the headquarters of King Features Syndicate and thus attracted a large clientele of cartoonists. In exchange for their meals, artists would often draw their own creations on the walls of The Palm.

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The Signature Half & Half (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The Palm has literally become a living museum of cartoons and caricatures featuring Popeye, Batman, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and characters from “The Family Circus.” To preserve these legendary hand-drawn sketches – many of which were drawn in charcoal and pastels – the Palm’s walls were professionally restored in 1995. Today the tradition continues. Many of the caricatures that donned the walls of The Palm in West Hollywood for 39 years were given to their owners when it closed, while some wall sketches came along to the new establishment in Beverly Hills. Before a new restaurant opens, 200 to 300 local notables’ likenesses are placed on the walls, and new caricatures of regulars and celebrities are added regularly. However, that is not the case with the new Beverly Hills Palm. New caricatures will not go up until 2015.  As you can imagine, the most in-demand wall space is at the original Second Avenue location in NY, where only five caricatures are added each year due to space constraints.

Check out some of the fun celeb pictures with caricatures HERE. Andy Cohen celebrated his book launch at The Palm last week with Entertainment Tonight for his new book: Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year.

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Photo credit: Facebook.com/PalmBeverlyHills

My first Palm experience was over ten years ago in Washington, DC, a mecca for lobbyists and politicians. I remember going on a date in the packed spot which is probably 1/10 of the size of the one in Beverly Hills. A cold snowing evening in my twenties I knew I was in a special spot as I perused the American influencers drawn on the wall while surrounded by the loud buzz of the movers and shakers of our nation’s capital. Where are your first Palm memories?

For food you can trust to be super satisfying, splurge at The Palm Beverly Hills. If you are in town, don’t miss their Thanksgiving menu HERE.

PALM BEVERLY HILLS

267 North Canon Drive

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

310.550.8811

 

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