Saturday night my husband and I went out to dinner here in Westchester with his parents. While I very much enjoyed our company, I unfortunately cannot say the same for our experience at the restaurant.
The four of us enjoy going out and trying new restaurants together. My husband’s parents are a bit less adventurous than us when it comes to selecting a spot or cuisine so we typically go for recently opened restaurants that are under the same ownership or management by a different spot that we already know and love. Such is why we selected Palomino in Larchmont. We’ve frequently dined at Sonora in Port Chester which is under the same ownership. Sonora is one of my favorite little spots. I enjoy the decor inside from the butterfly mural at the entranceway to the warm orange walls and arched walkways in the dining area. The food, wine and sangria are consistently delightful. We figured Palomino would be a similar experience with similar cuisine.
We walked into a pretty little setting with high ceilings and warm, neutrals tones. Unlike Sonora, which winds around a bit, has a sunken dining area and a sectioned off bar, Palomino was one large open space with the bar and seating area all in one giant room. It was a bit tight but I didn’t mind that as I tend to enjoy the intimate feeling I get from smaller restaurants, plus mirrored walls helped open up the space.
My husband and I arrived before his parents and our table was not yet ready so, naturally, we went for a drink at the bar. The hostess was quite helpful and ran down to end of the bar to secure two open adjacent seats for us. Unfortunately, that was the last we saw of good service. There were two bartenders and one came to take our order immediately, however there was no cocktail menu around and I like peruse one of those for an exciting new-to-me drink before ordering. When I asked for a menu the bartender seemed a bit annoyed and rushed, which was understandable as it was 8pm on a Saturday night. I didn’t mind as the hostess returned immediately with a cocktail menu for me. It was short and sweet so it didn’t take too long to select an option. Dan and I sat with the menu closed waiting for one of the bartenders to return. We were seated at the end of the bar where they were making drinks for service. They weren’t so busy with the service bar that they had to completely ignore us and the fact that we were trying to flag them down…you know, right in front of their faces. It wasn’t until Dan’s parents arrived and joined us at our bar seats (our table was still not ready) that the second bartender approached us to take our drink orders. I ordered the Blood Orange Jalapeño Margarita which was actually fantastic! It was tart with a perfect balance of sweetness and bite of tequila. The jalapeño was not overpowering, but left the most perfect whisper of heat on the back of my tongue after each sip. So delightful that I forgot and forgave the fact that it took a bit over a half hour to receive it.
Before we could finish our round of drinks we were seated. We scanned the menu for about ten minutes or so before our server came to take our order. We ordered two servings of guacamole and one appetizer to share and put in for our order of entrees (two large plate meals for his parents and four tapas small plates for Dan and I to share). The appetizers came out quickly and when they arrived Dan and I were ready for another round of drinks. He got another beer and I switched to wine. They didn’t have the wine I asked for and our server recommended a blend which isn’t my favorite, but sounded fine. The guacamole was great, but honestly, how hard is it to fuck up freshly mashed table side guac? We also got the oxtail appetizer, which was a special and it was savory and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It definitely left me with high hopes for our meal.
About ten minutes or so after we devoured our appetizers I was dying for a sip of wine but my new glass was nowhere to be found. When they came to clear our appetizers I reminded them that I had ordered it when the apps were brought to the table. Another ten or so minutes passed (I’m being gracious with time here, now) and our server came to refill our waters and assure us that our entrees would be out shortly. I asked her if the wine that I had ordered now nearly a half hour ago would also be ready shortly. My mother-in-law ordered another glass of wine at this point. Dan said I was being a bitch, I blamed it on the fact that I had already lost my Margarita buzz. I went to the bathroom, came back and at this point it was no surprise that neither my wine, my mother-in-law’s wine nor my entree had arrived yet. Mind you, our reservation was for 8pm and at this point it was 9:20pm. At this point I was sober, tired and hungry…you know, exactly the way I like to spend my Saturday night. I guess I had bitch face on loud and clear because the hostess popped in again to cheerfully see how everything was. I returned the cheerfulness and responded with a smile while informing her that everything’s been great with the exception of the wine I ordered last week, the wine my MIL ordered twenty minutes ago and maybe they could check on our entrees while they were at it? It took another 5-10 minutes before our original server scurried over with my wine and an apology. It took a reminder and another five minutes before my MIL got her wine. Dan also got his beer at this time, after yet another reminder. Shortly after that our food arrived. It was good but not great. We got the Salmon tar tar, crab croquettes, truffle mac’n’cheese, and cod tacos.
First, let me just dedicate a full line to the “cod taco”, which really was not much of cod or taco. The taco was a light and airy puffed up, fried wonton wrapper. Inside it had approximately two and a half single shreds of dry cabbage. On top of that was a small piece of fried cod. When I say small I mean less than half the size of my pinky….toe. When I say small I mean I picked up my “taco” and searched the plate to see if the insides of my taco had fallen out on the plate. There was a drizzle of some type of white mayo based sauce, on the plate of course, nowhere near the taco which was three components of dry on dry on dry. Dry wonton, dry minuscule piece of fried cod, two dry shreds of cabbage. I wish I was exaggerating. Dan’s reaction was something like, “the fuck is this?”.
The mac’n’cheese was good. Once again, like guac, hard to fuck up. The crab croquettes were good as well, my only issue was that they were room temperature. Like, not even remotely warm. My guess is because they were most likely sitting on the line for the 45 plus minutes we had to wait for them. Just a guess.
The salmon tar tar was….a spoonful of diced raw salmon sitting on top of a little homemade potato chip topped with another little homemade potato chip that was rubbed with approximately a teaspoon of guacamole. All together the dish must have had about .75 ounces of salmon. I mean, I know it’s tapas but…
After our meals we asked for the check. Surprisingly enough they were INCREDIBLY prompt with that!! The check arrived on our table in LESS THAN five minutes!! Even more amazing, once we slid the credit card in it was picked up and run through IMMEDIATELY! Wow! Where the fuck was that service when I ordered my drink?
So, I left Palomino sober, tired, hungry and a touch irritable. At least I didn’t have to wait around to pay the bill, though, right? All ended well though as my husband and I stopped by Savona in Scarsdale, a restaurant that has never been less than delightful, for a nightcap. We were welcomed and served immediately and I had the most delicious Peachy Prosecco cocktail. It had a decent kick that helped me forget all about the several hours I spent waiting around Palomino.
[ peachy prosecco & B&B at Savona ]
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!