a recent visit to Washington DC, I made it to the Palomino
To say the least I was excited. The Palomino is a 3
restaurant according to the local critics, and I was expecting my visit
to be the pinnacle of a what had been a perfect evening.
evening started with a live performance of the Capitol
Steps. The Capitol Steps are a musical comedy troupe comprised of
former congressional staffers. With a couple of weeks to go before the
election the humor was poignant and side splitting. The performance took
place in the Amphitheater of the Ronald
Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Fortunately, for my
sore stomach and dry throat from all the laughter, the Palomino is located
inside the International Trade Center just down the hall.
a short walk from the Amphitheater, we arrived at the bistro. It was about
9:30 PM, and it appeared that the evening was in full swing. The decor
was stylish and true to the Mediterranean theme. We presented ourselves
to the hostess. Fortunately, we had reservations. Our table was ready
-- our chairs were not. We stood in the foyer and waited while the hostess
sought chairs. After deciding to get them from the bar, we watched as
she carried them one by one to our table. It wasn't until she picked up
the fourth of five chairs that one of the waiters helped her.
we were finally seated, we were greeted promptly by our waiter, who told
us he would be back to take our drink order. We got the kind of welcome
you might receive at Chi-Chi's not a 3 star restaurant. Still, we were
relaxed, and eager to order drinks. The menu sported a wide variety of
beers on tap, so I was pleased.
our waiter returned, I had decided that I wanted to have the Widmer seasonal
listed on the menu. I asked him what the seasonal beer was, and he told
me he did not know, but he would check. He stopped taking our order to
ask the bartender. When he returned he told me it was a "fall beer."
Was it a fall wheat or pumpkin ale I asked. Again, he did not know for
sure. I ordered it anyway.
waited quite a while for our drink order. When our waiter returned, he
had everyone's drink but mine. It seems the bartender failed to tell him
that they were out of the Widmer seasonal when he inquired into what kind
of seasonal they were serving. The bar was also out of limes to go with
the vodka drinks my sister and her fiancé hoped to enjoy. While
our waiter explained the lime shortage in Washington DC I settled on the
Redhook seasonal listed in the menu.
it turned out, they were out of the Redhook seasonal too. They were also
out of shrimp cocktail that my sister so desired. Finally, they were out
of the mixed greens with citrus vinaigrette salad that I ordered. Of course,
we discovered this at presentation time instead of order time. After we
settled for our second and third choices of beers, drink garnishes, appetizers,
and dinner salads, Beau (my sister's fiancé) had had enough and
went to talk to the chef who only blew him off.
didn't want to let the amateur service ruin our evening, so we didn't.
Beau, who entertains clients frequently in DC, vowed that he would never
bring them to the Palomino, and left it at that. Our collective positive
state of mind was not diminished.
everything else the bistro offered that evening, our main courses were
not disappointing. The presentation was artistic. The portions were healthy.
The food was rich and flavorful. Too bad everything else was in such disarray.
We spent $80 a head before tip ($400) to settle for second class service
and selection. When you have a choice, spend your money better. The good
food elevates my ranking to 2 out of 5 BB & B's.
out of 5 BB&B's.
a head before tip.
International Trade Center
across the USA