Exactly why the Palm Court Grill has decided to re-open as a new, more laidback dining spot we do not know, but we're guessing Walt Worthy feels he has cracked the code on casual dining after the "success" of Post St Ale House. Maybe he has? The ale house seems to attract a crowd, though lord knows why.
We tried the Palm Court Grill during their half-off grand re-opening special, and really, there is little point going there after that is done on Wednesday.
Most everything has gone wrong here, from the service to the menu to the quality of the food. The remodel does look the part and the Palm Court is probably a good place to take an out-of-towner for a quick appetizer and a martini while looking at the Davenport. So there's that.
Our visit, meanwhile, was not much of a success.
We stepped up to the "please wait to be seated" sign while five waitresses stood huddled around a podium, deep in discussion. After a couple of minutes we inquired if we possibly could be seated, to which we were told there was self-seating until 5pm. ("Bar tables only!") Why the "wait to be seated" sign was out is anyone's guess.
The menu can best be described like something out of a hotel in 1998. It's all here, everything from a signature salad drenched in a creamy dressing to coconut prawns to a "prawn-tini".
We tried the Cougar Gold cheese dip -- easily the best part of the meal -- because, frankly, screwing up Cougar Gold is nigh impossible. And the dip wasn't bad, though the bread seemed stale. Maybe Sysco hadn't made its delivery for the day? I'd be shocked if the bread was baked in-house at least, and if it was, somebody forgot that bread actually is supposed to taste like... something... "Stale" is not a flavor in and of itself.
As for the main course we tried the signature salad -- hey, if it is a signature salad it has to be good, right? -- and a "twist" on a classic, the coconut salmon. There's not much to either, really. The salad was so drenched in dressing that the lettuce felt wilted, and the beets tasted like they'd just come out of a can.
And the coconut salmon... Where to start... The actual salmon was, if nothing else, cooked properly, though with little flavor. Even the coconut breading was dull.
The sauces were where everything went wrong, to the point where I felt the need to eat around them. The dish came with three sauce: Some sort of citric dressing (probably meant to accompany the salad), a hot orange marmalade (I assume it was aimed at the salmon), and a balsamic vinegar (lord knows, though I think it was mostly there to make the plate look pretty). The dressing and the vinegar meshed in such a bitter way that it was close to inedible. Have you tried eating around sauces? It's not easy.
Do not order the coconut salmon or its close cousine, the coconut prawn. In fact, none of the "house specialties" have much to offer by the looks of it. It all just looks so so dull.
The apple crisp dessert, finally, is not too bad, but certainly nothing that will set the world on fire, and you could probably make something better at home yourself.
The Palm Court Grill has preciously little going for it as far as food goes. Order a drink and appetizer, and you'll probably be OK. It's hard to beat the Davenport's interiors if nothing else.
Vote for Palm Court Grill: It’s your civic duty!