While many guests gravitate toward a “rib-eye, a porterhouse or a strip, many are focused on healthier, lighter options,” he says.
In fact, Palmer adds, “half of our menu is fish, pasta, poultry, and seafood.” For example, the menu highlights seafood dishes including scallops with confit pork belly, tuna tartare and halibut served with morel mushrooms and duck fat potato. Home-made pasta resonates in New York, and lunch salads score in Washington, D.C.
Nonetheless, Palmer emphasizes that 70 percent of its clientele gravitate to ordering steaks. International tourists, more than Americans, opt for healthier fare.
The lighter menu is also demystifying the steakhouse as an “all boys’ club beefsteak where men gathered in private clubs,” he acknowledges. Steakhouses still carry that stigma but the lighter dishes are helping change the stereotype and appealing to more women.
The décor matches the changing clientele. Palmer described it as “female friendly. It’s not a He-Man atmosphere with smoky walls, but a very contemporary feeling with great sound.”
While many steakhouses are known for their classic cheesecake dessert, never content to dwell on the expected, Palmer has concocted a variation of it. “We do a twist on cheesecake; it’s a cheesecake pudding. In New York, we offer a killer sticky bun and also offer home-made ice creams,” he says.
Palmer’s initial steakhouse opened at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas in 1999, followed by Washington, D.C. in 2003 and Reno in 2007. Palmer owns 10 other eateries that aren’t steakhouses nationwide.