When I was a little girl in the 1970s I imagined Los Angeles would be a place full of tongue in cheek hijinks and beautiful movie stars who were stylish yet real and either knowingly dramatic or hilariously funny like those on the set of MASH, Love Story, The French Connection, Airplane, Saturday Night Fever, Cannibal Run and all those other slapstick bandit-riddled flicks with Burt Reynolds or Clint Eastwood and an ape.
This is the era I grew up in where titles like Thank God It’s Friday hearkened to a lighter, disco ball-colored world where men and women were fun and flirtatious and everyone was better on roller skates. The movie industry had progressed far past its glamorous, studio roots at that time but it still wasn’t the cheesy, shallow, Vander-plastic surgery-ville that it has largely become today. My nostalgia for that time when I was young and innocently enthralled with Charlie’s Angels is the reason I had such a great time at The Palm Restaurant recently.
I am not a huge steakhouse girl but do enjoy one or two evenings a year visiting a BOA or Fleming’s to receive some high-class pampered service around illustrious and pricey cuts of meat. Although The Palm Restaurant was on my radar as a steak joint, I likely would have never eaten there as I prefer the aforementioned upscale stag-esque joints for my petite filet cuts. But when the Cute Gardener told me that we could see caricatures all over the walls at The Palm of actors and actresses harkening back to 1975 and that it was a West Hollywood classic, I changed my mind. We opted for a visit during dineLA in case we needed a lower price point to justify a lower expectation when it came to the food.
But we shouldn’t have worried because the food was fine. Classic steakhouse fare of meat and the prototypical sides pleased us plenty but it was the cartoons on the walls and the old school atmosphere of a slightly more authentic time that contented me most. Brooke Shields and Mary Tyler Moore winked down at me with the feathered hair of my youth and Clint’s wrinkly eyes crinkled across the wall. In one plush leather booth, a couple was celebrating their anniversary and handed a special, schmaltzy card by their familiar waiter. At least three men in my line of vision were wearing plastic bibs for their incoming lobsters. A swanky-suited couple sparkled to the right of me while a tee shirt wearing grandpa licked his creamed spinach spoon to my left. We had dressed a bit glitzy and ordered in a classic vein and I was enjoying the hell out of my blue cheese stuffed olives swimming in my massive martini.
It was just the kind of overall feel good experience you can’t buy over pretentious cocktails and sprayed on airs in other places. A feel good evening was had by all as the burly male waiters with ponytails and handlebar mustaches whizzed by the Flo and Fannie waitresses who could have been there for years amongst the consistent clink of oversized glasses and swaying ice cubes.