What's Old is Once Again Anew

The Palm

Laurann Claridge
August 15, 2013

Who couldn’t benefit from a little nip and tuck every decade or so? When a landmark eatery that’s been serving steaks and classic sides for more than three decades goes under the knife and the recovery is nearly five months, loyal fans flock to its side once the bandages come off. The fanfare at the reveal of the larger (8,800 square feet), spiffed-up version of The Palm is testament to more than a fondness for chef Ricardo Ramirez-Rea’s food; it also shows the magnetism of executive director Jim Martin, who migrated from New York 35 years ago to open the Houston branch — the first in The Palm chain to be revamped (and expanded) by Chicago architects Dacre & Younquist. Martin serves as an engaging host, welcoming customers old and new, entertaining them with morsels of the storied past of this fourth-generation, family-owned eatery started by two Italian immigrants from Parma. The partners, he reveals, intended to name their new business after their birthplace, but New York bureaucrats misspelled the name on their operating license, calling it “Palm” instead of “Parma.” Founders Bozzi and Ganzi apparently went with it and, much to their credit, evolved the restaurant, adding prime-cut steaks and lobsters to the menu (such as their flavorsome 14-ounce porcini-rubbed New York strip with roasted shallot butter) while never abandoning the Italian favorites people have clamored for since The Palm’s beginnings, including tender chicken parmigiana ($32), linguine with clam sauce ($24) and veal Milanese ($30). Finally, for those local luminaries whose images are immortalized on the walls, not to worry: Your visage remains, alongside paintings of Houston city landmarks created by artist Zachery Bird atop the warm plaster walls. 6100 Westheimer Road, 713.977.2544; thepalm.com.