Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Palapas vs. Nosh

We've started working on our annual Best of the Springs section, and while there are always tough decisions to make, choosing Best New Restaurant is going to be especially tough this year.

Do you go with Nosh, the hip tapas joint from Joseph Coleman & Co, or do you go with Palapas, the new seafood venture by Victor Matthews that is hoped to be the first in a chain.

We may have to wait for Nosh to find a new chef. They dropped Seth Elwonger, and although Blue Star chef James Davis is doing well in the interim (had the lamb chops last week -- heaven!), we should see how the next chef does.

I finally tried Palapas on Saturday, and I was impressed, but I think I ordered poorly. I shouldn't have gone with the bouillabaisse, no matter how well Victor promoted it on the menu. It was very good, but I have the feeling a talented chef like Victor can make a decent bouillabaisse with frozen fish.

I should have just gone with a fresh fish, say the monk fish, which would have been a better test of both the chefs' talents and the fresh-fish-delivery system.

My wife had the "Scallops of Love," and they were lovely and huge and perfectly cooked.

I tried the raw oysters for an appetizer, and they were easily among the best I've had in town. My coastal snobbery comes in a bit here. The best oysters I've had were in Florida, schucked right from the ocean, retaining a sweet flavor of the sea. Here, the most you can hope for are oysters without unpleasant aftertastes.

Victor smartly gussies his up with bits of sundried tomatoes and caviar. Very nice.

I absolutely loved the deconstructed cocktails: mixed drinks served unmixed. Sip the tequila, sip the strawberry mix, bite a strawberry. A fad, sure, but a fun one and one that lets you really appreciate finer spirits without diluting them with mixes.

The atmosphere is fine. It would be easy for a tropically themed place to go over-the-top cheesy with the decor. Here, we get a few real-looking faux palm trees, some sand, some fake grass. It's nice.

Tough to pick which is better at this point. What do you folks think?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously you think nosh and palapas? how about the five star penrose room, or Plate, which is the coolest place in Colorado?

7:38 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I'd have to say Nosh. Good prices, good presentation and a pretty good variety.

Warren, I feel your pain, having been raised on Apalachicola oysters. One of the first things I do when I go home to Tampa is get a box of Eastpoint oysters.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

One vote for Nosh!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Anonymous: I'm with you on The Penrose Room and Plate, but I'm talking about the best NEW restaurant category.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warren,
I haven't seen much written about the sushi restaurant kura up on union and research, but let me tell you it is probably the best sushi restaurant in town, and I think they are new this year. They might be worth throwing in the mix.
Ryan B

1:00 PM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

We'll check it out.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palapas is the best new restaurant. NOSH is the best new concept. Hopefully, there's a way to salute both establishments in Best of the Springs.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Good idea. Maybe we'll go that way.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now, Tommy Lee has also been sacked at NOSH. What on Earth is going on over there? They've dumped their very talented staff. They've pretty much dumped the NOSH-sized portions concept. They have screwed up everything that made it so terrific.

Sad.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous foodlover said...

Bring back the small plates! We went a few weeks ago and the service was better, but the small plate menu was shrinking. I hope they bring them back in time to sit on the patio, listen to some music and enjoy...

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nosh and Palapas are in two different categories. Nosh is a place to go and drink, have some great appetizers (full plate) and drink some more. Palapas Surfside is a fabulous place to go with a date, or a loved one, no, not for kids, and enjoy Me & Julio strum and sing, and fantastic seafood and "california feel" atmosphere.

4:29 PM  

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