Palace Prime | Everyone's A Critic

By Gabrielle Ariceaga

Stepping through the substantial brocade drapes at Palace Prime sets the tone for the night you are about to experience. Every detail is elegant, unapologetically sophisticated, and thoughtfully curated. The space can only be described (at least by me) as Old San Francisco luxury meets Santa Fe, and the vibe is relaxed extravagance.

We were warmly greeted by the stylish host, and seated in a plush, circular banquette that invited us to relax and immediately begin the business of deciding between a swanky cocktail or jumping straight into the superb wine list. A bottle of Black Tears Argentinian Malbec (2015) won out, and the robust wine had a luxurious texture, with ripe cherry and hints of smoke. It opened up quite a bit as it came up to temperature and just got better as the night progressed.

For our first course, we decided on BeauSoleil oysters and Bison carpaccio. There’s nothing like fresh oysters, particularly when they have been expertly shucked, nestling in the shell in their own liquor, and presented on a bed of ice with lemon wedges, a simple mignonette and house-made cocktail sauce. Plump, sweet and briny, the succulent oysters were so delicious we were tempted to order a dozen more. The bison carpaccio was classically plated; thinly sliced bison, crispy capers, shaved parmesan, arugula, and olive oil chips to scoop up every last bit of rich, salty goodness.

We moved on to salads, opting for the classic Palace Prime Caesar, and the Burrata and Beets. The Caesar is beautifully presented and executed perfectly. Tangy, garlicky dressing with just the right amount of anchovy, clinging to whole leaves of Romaine, topped with tender croutons. The Burrata and Beets were more elaborate than expected; a creamy, generous dollop of Burrata sat on a bed of peppery arugula, surrounded by beautiful, gem-colored beets and sliced heirloom tomato so good I had to ask where they had managed to find it in the dead of winter (Growing Opportunities in Alcade, as it turns out). The plate was finished with lightly toasted, buttered brioche I regretfully left half-eaten to leave room for the main course. It was a gorgeous salad that I would be glad to have again as the main course for lunch or a light summer dinner.

Our favorite server (the adorable Matthew) was not in on this particular evening, so we enjoyed the expert service of Damion who was attentive, congenial, and never missed a beat refilling wine, anticipating our need for more sparkling water, and readying our table for the next course of gastronomic pleasures.

A champagne cork popping at a nearby table heralded the arrival of our main course. We had both opted for the ribeye (rare, with a perfect, crispy sear). The steaks themselves were bursting with flavor thanks to the beautiful marbling of the meat. We opted for the simple seasoning of just salt, pepper and the grill, but I did order the Bearnaise as now was clearly not the time for restraint. The steaks were served still sizzling, and accompanied with herbed mashed potatoes and lemony Broccolini so delicious we agreed it was a perfect plate, lacking nothing. While I was only able to have a taste of the frites and green chile mac my husband ordered, those delicious bites made me glad he insisted, and who can say no to delicious leftovers?

By dessert, we were so thoroughly relaxed and satisfied that nothing would do but Michael Sebree’s chocolate bottom Chess pie (the recipe is his grandmother’s, and just a taste is enough to make you homesick for a place you’ve never been). My husband ordered a bread pudding that was light, rich, and had just a hint of nutmeg balancing the sweet, custardy dessert, finished with a delightfully crispy top. Perfect cappuccinos helped us brace for the brisk walk back to the car.

Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying date night with your favorite person, Palace Prime delivers. Their excellent selection of wine, traditional steakhouse fare, along with a nice selection of fresh seafood and locally sourced produce has something for every palate. The confident graciousness of the staff invites you to relax into your plush banquette seat and settle in for an evening of unhurried elegance.

From left to right:

  • Black Tears Argentinian Malbec (2015)

  • BeauSoleil Oysters

  • Bison Carpaccio

  • Palace Prime Caesar

  • Burrata and Beets

  • Ribeye with Herbed Mashed Potatoes and Broccolini

  • Green Chile Mac

  • Chocolate Bottom Chess Pie

  • Bread Pudding