Palette Cafe - Closed

The Palette Cafe offers an interesting array of sandwiches, soups and salads at reasonable prices.  But don't expect to get in and out at a reasonable time. Service could be slow.

Let's start with the appetizers. Bread was brought to our table. It's billed as homemade focaccia bread. I think they brushed it with butter then sprinkled kosher salt on top, stuck in the oven to warm and brought it out to our table. Although it was good, it was pretty salty and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the meal.

Both of us also decided on a soup.  Tho opted for seafood gumbo
($4) and I had the Brie soup ($3).

The description of the seafood gumbo is as follows: a roux based gumbo, lightly spiced, and loaded with crabmeat and shrimp. I rather liked the idea of the rice coming on the side.  That way the diner can choose just exactly how much or how little they want in their gumbo.  I would recommend you taste the rice before dumping it straight into the gumbo.  Tho found the rice to be just a little uncooked while I thought it was perfect.  I think their definition of loaded is entirely different from mine.  There was a total of two shrimps in the entire cup and I didn't see one lump of crabmeat.  There was however "strings" of crabmeat throughout.  I shouldn't complain too much though, the soup itself was quite delicious.  It just didn't live up to the description.

I had the Brie soup.  The description is as follows straight from the online menu: a creamy soup of melted brie and topped with white truffle oil. Perhaps my palette isn't as good as I thought, but I couldn't taste any distinct flavor from the truffle oil.  The soup itself taste just like the description; brie melted in a broth (which I suspect to be chicken).  It was rich and creamy but not really anything spectacular.

Now, it's on to the entrées. I had the muffaletta ($10) with the palette cafe house salad.  My mistake here is that I failed to notice it's made with that same homemade foccacia bread I had earlier in the meal.  Here is the description: salami, ham, provolone and a house-made olive salad served hot on homemade focaccia bread.  If you notice on the picture, the top of the sandwich is pretty brown.  It was actually toasted very crisp, especially around the edges. I had a hard time chomping on that first bite.  I was expected a softer bread and it wasn't.  The sandwich as a whole was very salty.  The combination of the meats, olive salad and salty bread was a little too much.  I prefer other muffaletta more.

The best part of my plate was the Palette Cafe house salad.  It was delicious.  The salad is a spring mix with blue cheese, strawberries, candied pecans and a champagne vinaigrette.  I honestly think I could gobble a whole plate of that up by itself.  By the way, that is available for about 8 bucks.

Tho order the french dip sandwich ($10) and it didn't disappoint.  It's a baguette stuffed with slow cooked pot roast, provolone cheese and served with au jus.

As with my muffaletta, the top side of the sandwich was toasted very crisp. However since there was the au jus to dip it in, the crispness was offset.  I have to admit this was one of the best french dip sandwich I had in a long time.  The pot roast was very flavorful.  The au jus was perfect, although a little buttery. I thought it was the best thing we ate. Well, besides that pretty good salad.

When we walked into the museum, I was kinda surprise to find the dining area set up in the atrium.  I remember reading that but the set up was odd to me. There were hardly any two or four tops.  Most were at least 6 tops and there weren't very many available, about 10 inside and five tables outside. So if you're looking for an intimate lunch, this is not the place to be. It was just after the lunch rush so there was plenty of seating.

All in all the Palette Cafe was a good experience.  There are a few things on the menu I wouldn't mind going back and trying.  The chunky chicken salad sounds particularly tempting.  To look at the menu click here.  The prices are a little off.  It's either rounded down or up depending on the item.
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