Shortly my life and food will be all about Austin and SXSW, but first a quick word about The Hall at Palihouse: I likes. It’s comfy, and when’s the last time any LA restaurant has been able to claim that? The lounge area is particularly impressive — if it were a layout, I’d say there was impressive use of white space — and the location is swell as it’s close to Beverly Hills and Sunset while residing in neither. That said, you’ll also be forced to use Barney’s Beanery as a location referent for the forseeable future: It’s next door.
Wine list is small and largely French; so’s the menu, but it’s a definitely a shade less fancy and pricey than, say, Comme Ca. The two-inch-thick pork chop was pretty divine, but its "sides" of truffled sunchokes and creamed peas were miniscule, as if their true purpose was to keep the chop glued to the plate. (The glue was delicious.) Wine comes in graduated tumblers, in keeping with the whole "No, we’re really a brasserie" thing. Fine with me, since rose’ comes by the glass and that Provencal wine is my liquid equivalent of, say, footie pajamas: Pure comfort.
Edited to add:
John Colletti of Social Domain also happened to visit THAP (hey! I like that name; it certainly beats GOAT) the same night I did, for after-dinner drinks. His experience was a little less blissful, if not without a happy ending:
It seems that "the system" was adding a phantom $4 to the total without explanation (we had $31 in actual charges but the total said $35). I am not sure if it was happening in the restaurant as well, but happened on our first check, then we inquired about it and it came back again on the second check. Suffice to say our server wasn’t exactly the sharpest, but the manager didn’t seem to grasp it either and just comped the whole bill to get rid of us.
The server kept insisting that the upcharges were being added in but not printing out, but that second bill was done up without the upcharges and there was still the hidden $4 charge.
When the manager got involved, at first she said there was an error with the system as the computer guy had been there that morning. That I believed. But after we were comped out, she came back to say that the server had keyed it all wrong. I wanted to have her compute a new bill, but we’d spent half an hour on this already, and now that the manager was throwing the server under the bus (bad customer service!), it was probably futile.
But, eh, they’re new. And a little comp never hurt anyone.