You'll see a lot of awards and puffy blog posts about this place; they declare themselves "One of the best restaurants in Fort Lauderdale". Things you need to know is that most of the "awards" in this town are not handed out by anyone credible, and old reviews may not apply. Since our review, the restaurant has had 2 changes of the kitchen; they haven't had anyone here that had previously trackable executive chef experience in 3 years. The menu isn't as overpriced as it once was; but this is one of those places that just declares themselves as great and then they fire their chef and promote someone from the kitchen.
Typical Fort Lauderdale tactics. You have to be savvy in this town.jump-->
From the outside, The Grateful Palate doesn't look much like a restaurant. I think it used to be a specialty food store; I thought it still was until recently. Its a pretty well-kept secret. Yelp says they're closed. Another reason to avoid Yelp.
When you walk in you see some nice couches and a wine bar in the rear. Initially I was fooled. There was a wine class going on and I wasn't sure if I had missed a seating or something. There's another room which is the actual dining room. There are tables and a counter in the back. The counter is adjacent to a cooking area. If you're alone or in a small group I suggest sitting at the counter so you can watch the chef prepare your meal.
Their menu is small, and it changes regularly; sometimes daily. Their website doesn't keep up, so you can't really rely on it. They have to fix this. In today's world, when a group of people go out to eat they want to be sure that there's something that they all want. I'm one of those people. I often decide what I'm ordering before I leave the condo. I decided on the Hanger Steak, served with fingerling potatoes and Hericote Vert (string beans). But when I arrived they didn't have Hanger Steak. They had Bavette Steak. Its similar so I guess I lucked out. I'd never had it before. I ordered it medium rare.
Sitting at the back counter, I watched the entire preparation of the meal. It was around 2:30 so everyone else in the place was finishing up. It was pretty cool to have him cooking just for me; like a personal chef. They brought me a plate and a setup and someone came by and gave me a small sample of tuna/sushi on a toothpick with a soy drizzle. A few moments later, homemade olive bread was delivered with both butter and an olive oil dip. The bread was very unique and delicious.
Finally the steak was ready. The chef could have handed it to me but instead the waitress walked it over from 4 feet away.
The steak was a perfect medium rare; very red but not raw. It took me a minute to realize that they gave me onions and not potatoes. I wasn't sure if they had changed that also, but I asked the chef if the menu said that fingerlings where supposed to be included. He said that he didn't think so but he'd get me some; and 3 minutes later I had them. I'm not sure which one of us was mistaken but it couldn't have been handled any more smoothly.
The Grateful Palate isn't perfect. But their unique concept and well-crafted menu is a refreshing addition in Fort Lauderdale. They have completely different menus for lunch and dinner, with a more extensive wine menu for dinner. You can also just come in for some wine at the separate wine bar.
They mentioned that they are "updating" their web site. I hope that they insist that the web designer create an easy way for them to post their current menu; and that they do it with diligence. You simply can't have the wrong menu on your web site. Businesses take their web sites too lightly. People rely on them to make their decisions. Its important to keep them up to date.
This isn't a place for kids. This is a place for discriminating adults. You won't find a Bavette steak or oxtail ravioli anywhere else in this Town. So if you're tired of the same old stuff, you now have an option for something that really challanges your palate.