Where to The Palm. The steakhouse chain got its start in the ’20s in New York, opened by Italian immigrants. It came to Boston in 1996, but this restaurant is brand new. The Copley Place outpost closed, and a spacious iteration just opened on the Greenway.
What for A visit to a balmier economic era. Leisurely midday meals are supposedly extinct, with workers hunkered down in cubicles, lunch crumbs scattered over their keyboards. But here the business lunch is alive and well, as wine and cocktails are poured for patrons looking less than rushed on the sunny patio. (One sign of our times is a “power lunch” menu, $25.90 for three courses.) As for the after-work hours, a bartender says, they are “controlled chaos.”
The scene Never has a palm tree felt so mocked as the one in the restaurant’s logo. Beneath its tropical branches sit diners dressed in sober shades of dark blue, gray, and black, with an occasional splash of power red. Suits are the major fashion statement in the dining room, a space of orange-brown stone columns, floor-to-ceiling stretches of glass, curved red-leather booths, and tiered metal light fixtures with oversize spherical bulbs. Caricatures cover the walls — relics of a time when the starving artists of King Features Syndicate, with offices near the original restaurant, paid for their meals in artwork. Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Bob Cousy appear on one wall, a cityscape of Boston on another. And over the bar, cartoon suitors are informed, “The lady says she ain’t accepting no drinks until she gets a close-up look at you.”
What you’re eating The Classic SteakBurger, a hefty patty charred on the outside, juicy pink on the inside. It comes on a just-right sesame seed bun with your choice of cheese (gouda is good). Fries cost extra, but the burger can stand alone.
Care for a drink? The Palm Refresh might be a fine choice for summer: vodka, lemon, basil, cucumber, and agave. But whiskey is always in season at a steakhouse, and the bar is well stocked with it.
Overheard All the gossip you’d ever want to know about other people’s workplaces. A conversation about nannies, flight delays, keeping kids off junk food, and rumored restructuring that neatly encapsulates the existence of the working mother. A server ribbing a diner: “Having a liquid lunch?”
1 International Place, Boston. 617-867-9292.