Day of the Week: Saturday, 10/6
Total Bill: $310 (before tip)
Breakdown: 5 cocktails, 2 appetizers, 2 lobsters, 2 sides, 1 dessert
Verdict: Good cocktails and good food but drastically overpriced.
We went to The Palm because Hubby had a birthday lobster coupon to use. The last time we were there (a few months ago) we felt like it had gotten too expensive but we wanted to give them another shot.
We got to the restaurant at 10 (they close at 11 on Saturdays) and were surprised to find the dining room empty except for two or three other tables. We left at 11:45, so let’s assume the average dinner takes 1 ½ hours. That means that at 8:45 the restaurant was seating two to three tables. Not a good sign.
When we sat down, I ordered a Pimm’s Kentucky Cup (“Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Pimm’s No. 1 with muddled cucumber and a soda splash, served on the rocks”; all of their signature cocktails are $12-$13), which was very good. Our first drinks took quite a while to come and we later realized it was probably because the bartender had already started shutting down for the night.
We started with the colossal lump crab meat cocktail ($22.90) and the clams casino (about $17). Both are very good but the price just seems far too high. The crab meat cocktail comes in a martini glass, to give you a sense of scale. The clams casino had 10 or so clams.
Before dinner arrived, I ordered The Palm Punch (“Hendrick’s Gin, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, fresh brewed English breakfast tea, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a dash of Angostura Bitters, served on the rocks”), also very good. The second round of drinks came out faster. One of my favorite things about The Palm is its cocktail menu. They always have something innovative and everything is fresh. But the drinks are small and Tampa ain’t Las Vegas.
For dinner we each ordered a three-pound lobster (about $80). Hubby got a side of fries and I got a side of brussel sprouts (all individual portions of sides are $7.90). The Palm prepares lobster very well and they do a nice table-side presentation of cracking the claws for you. One of the servers who helped bring our food out really cracked us up. When Hubby saw the lobsters, he said, “Holy shit.” The server said, “No, sir – it’s lobster.” The fries were very good, as usual, and I think The Palm makes the best brussel sprouts in Tampa. Although, to be fair, most restaurants don’t serve them (a true shame in my book).
For dessert we ordered carrot cake and doughnuts, and I ordered a cup of coffee (their coffee is quite good). The server came back a few minutes later and said, “I’m sorry, we ran out of doughnut dough. We had a run on them tonight.” We said fine, just the carrot cake. Then we started talking about it. If the restaurant was empty at 10, how much of a crowd could they have had? Isn’t it more likely that the cooks had turned the fryers off and couldn’t be bothered to turn them back on? We don’t know for sure that’s the case but, if it is, what a failure. The carrot cake was quite good, though, and I’m not even a carrot cake fan. Actually, it’s not the cake I usually have a problem with: it’s the frosting. The cream cheese frosting on most commercially-made cakes is far too sweet. (I’ve made cream cheese frosting at home that was delicious.) But the frosting at The Palm is pretty good.
Overall, the food was very good. But we won’t go back because they’ve raised the prices to a point that is just ridiculous for what you get. We could’ve spent less money at Bern’s for the same meal and would’ve enjoyed the ambiance and food more. I sincerely hope prices are set by corporate; otherwise, the GM is blind.
Kind of disappointing to be honest with you. And VERY overpriced…
We got there at 10 on a Saturday night and there were only three other tables sat. The place was empty and a little quiet. The staff was being a little crazy in the dining room, talking to each other and making odd sounds and yelling while they closed up for the night, like we were not even there.
So I started with an Avion G5. It was tequila, ginger liqueur, and some mixers. This was mediocre at best… very bland.
For apps we ordered a jumbo lump crab meat cocktail and the clams casino. The crabmeat cocktail is a martini glass filled with GIANT lumps of crab meat. Served chilled with traditional oyster accompaniments. This is absolutely delicious. I don’t put anything on the crab, its perfect the way it comes out.
The clams were also good. There were ten of them, they were medium-sized clams. They had a good flavor to them, not too salty and the bacon was done well. They were good clams, not the best I’ve ever had, but not too shabby.
For dinner we each had a 3# lobster. The tails were a good size and the claws were huge. The lobsters are done excellently. It was moist and plump. They had a nice char on it as well. Not a lot of seasoning or butter on it which I like. I don’t like to alter the flavor.
During the lobster phase I had two margaritas. They were pretty good. Some of the better ones I’ve had in the area.
So now we were waiting to order the desserts and the staff was being VERY loud. They were all yelling across the room at each other and making odd sounds and mocking each other. Kind of annoying. The restaurant was now louder, with just us in it, than when we arrived and there were still people eating.
For dessert we ordered the warm doughnuts and the carrot cake. They came back and said they were out of doughnuts. But that was not at all true. What had happened was that they turned the fryers off because we were the last party there.
The carrot cake was so-so… nothing too great.
Then the bill came. I am no stranger to paying a good amount of money for a good meal. But the bill was crazy. $310 bucks without tip. For that price I could have gone to Bern’s, ordered the same thing plus a bunch more, been more satisfied, and had money left to spare.
Verdict is that I receive a free 3# lobster for my birthday from The Palm each year and I would still not go back. I think they are very very very overpriced and I don’t think that the food is good enough to warrant the prices.
History bonus: we started going to The Palm about three years ago. It was not nearly as pricey. Probably by half of what it is now.