A parade of scarlet colored, three-pound lobsters with their claws splayed, and sweet white meat bursting out of the shell exemplified one of the main themes at The Palm Restaurant – The bigger, the better.
When the Iconic Palm Restaurant in West Hollywood closed its doors last September, regulars asked, “Where am I going to find a classic steakhouse that serves ‘Palm-size’ portions by dedicated servers?”
Fortunately, Bruce Bozzi Jr., the blue-eyed great-grandson of Pio Bozzi, one of the founders of The Palm, recently re-opened the legendary restaurant along the ritzy Canon Drive. The young restaurateur welcomes locals, Palm regulars, 837 members, celebrity customers and entertainment power players with a mega-watt smile and handshake or pat on the back.
The new restaurant offers 6,000 square feet and seats 185 diners. There are booths along the wall and near the bar. The restaurant features two private dining rooms for special dinners. Along one wall is a large mural of Los Angeles that is in progress. To get your face on the wall, you have to be a recognizable regular at the Palm. The rest of the walls are adorned with many of the famous caricatures that were at the West Hollywood location. Farrah Fawcett with Lee Majors and Phyllis Diller are now framed and on display.
The key to the success of the restaurant is not only the cuisine, but the staff’s focus on making each guests feel special and belong at The Palm.
Bruce Jr. grew up inside various Palm Restaurants following his father Bruce Bozzi Sr., the co-chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants and Palm Restaurant Group. Bruce Sr. took over the business from his father, Bruno Bozzi, making him the third generation of the Bozzi family to own and operate The Palm. Together with business partner Wally Ganzi, Bruce Sr. has grown The Palm from a single New York restaurant in the 1970s to a leading restaurant company with locations across the U.S. as well as in London and Mexico City.
Bruce Jr. fondly remembers Gigi Del Maestro, the Maitre’d at the West Hollywood location, greeting clientele with great warmth and charm, as if they were a beloved family member visiting the restaurant. Del Maestro stayed at the Palm for over 30 years. When he died, talk show host Larry King gave the eulogy. The memory of his hospitality carries on at the Beverly Hills location, as a tribute to this great man.
Tayna Hodge works with Bruce Jr. as the General Manager running the restaurant smoothly. She has worked at the Palm, along with many of the servers for many years.
Next, our server Pasquale, a 26 year veteran at The Palm, delivered the new kale salad with shaved Parmesan and a garlic vinaigrette. Pasquale also brought out a platter of one of my favorite Palm entrees, the chicken Parmigiano. It is one of the best in Los Angeles.
We all smiled when the sliced filet was brought to our table. Cooked perfectly, the USDA Prime beef is corn-fed, hand-selected and aged a minimum of 35 days.
We finished our feast with huge slices of moist 7-layer dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and a plate of warm doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate and raspberry sauce.
Before leaving, I learned that many of the loyal patrons of the Palm are part of the 837 Club rewards program offering a newsletter and invitations to special offers and events.
In true Palm fashion, I met eyes with Gwyneth Paltrow as I departed from my table. Closer to the door were Donald and Shelley Sterling looking very happy together. Near the hostess stand, author Jackie Collins was holding court at a table of eight enjoying a succulent lobster platter.
The Palm Restaurant is open Thanksgiving Day from 2 to 8 p.m. serving a festive three-course menu that includes a choice of three salads or lobster bisque or roasted butternut squash soup. For the second course, guests receive a plate of slow-roasted hand carved turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce and giblet gravy with a choice of one seasonal side dish. Finish with a slice of chocolate pecan pie with Bourbon sauce or pumpkin pie with ginger spiced whipped cream. Dinner for adults is $55 per person and $24 for children. An a la carte dinner menu is also available.
$$$ 267 N. Canon Drive (213)763-4600.
This article was published in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on Nov. 27, 2014.