Saturday, June 23, 2012

French dip review: Palmer's in downtown Redmond WA

11 AM last Saturday after I got up at 5 AM and water-skied in the rain (thanks, Pete, that was a blast, and Ryan, you are my water-ski hero) I was aching for Mexican food from El Toreador (had never been there but had heard that they have very thick, homemade tortilla chips that I wanted to try) but after parking and getting out of the car in the rain and all that, I realized that El T didn't open until 11:30 AM.  Panicked, I walked next door to a dive bar called Palmer's to use their restroom and enjoy a drink while I waited for El T to get its act together.

Yet lo and behold, part-way into my beer as I perused their menu and studied the gentleman next to me who was eating a French dip, I realized I had to eat.  They have a Turkey dip with Pepper Jack option on the menu, so I figured I'd be stupid not to get it.  I knew while ordering that it would come with beef juice and not turkey juice but oh well.  Palmer's also offers classic roast beef with Swiss and burger dip choices.

My apologies but I wasn't in the mood to take pictures of the location or dip so you'll have to go off of my wonderful, descriptive prose.

A quick rant about juice pairing: it makes me absolutely livid (kidding) that restaurants haven't figured out that they need to make a jus that pairs with the meat.  For example, Palmer's serves regular beef jus with their turkey dip.  Really?  Why?  And even Philippe's, the original, uses beef jus on their lamb and turkey sandwiches.  Shame on you, people!!!

Okay, back to it.  So I got my Turkey dip with Pepper Jack and a side salad with bleu cheese served.  The style of the sandwich was very classic, bar-style: simple French bread roll from the likes of a Franz Bakery (store bought, nothing fancy) and a very mediocre salad on the side.  The meat and cheese were fine, no big whoop there.  The Pepper Jack may have even been processed cheese, which would be a failure if I took the time to study it.  The jus was way too watery and extremely disappointing but I didn't complain since I had enough.  The salad was quite poor, definitely nothing special there: boring iceberg-style lettuce and no interesting toppings to write about.

*After I'd eaten my plate* (I could complain about this if I wanted but I won't) the bartender gal asked me if I liked it.  I paused for a while and asked her if she wanted to know its score.  She said, "What?" and I explained to her that I reviewed French dips and this was about a 2 of 5.  I told her that the jus was very watery.  She apologized and immediately went back to the cook to tell him to remedy that.  I saw several dips go out after mine with a much darker, richer juice.  So kudos to the waitress for jumping on that.

Palmer's appears to move a lot of French dips (I saw four of them before 11:30 am on a Saturday so that says something), so apparently some people order it, and possibly enjoy it.  And with three dips on the menu, I guess the odds are good.

Overall, this dip and Palmer's were not my style.  That said, I'll still have to review their burger dip and regular French dip to see if they're any better.  Also, I need to test their more robust jus to see where it lands.  Perhaps, with a bolder, more reasonable juice, they'll be fine and score a 3 of 5 instead of a 2.

Bread: 2
Meat (turkey): 3
Cheese (Pepper Jack): 3
Jus: 1 (maybe even a zero?)
Waitress: 4 (very nice, helpful, apologetic, friendly, promised to change and improve things)
Overall dip: 2
Bloody Mary: 3 (it was quite good and spicy yet they had pathetically small green olives in it)
Dip selection: 4 (nice to have three options, I want 300 options...: ) )

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