It’s been almost two years since Little Palace re-opened for business under new ownership, reinventing itself with a loungey-yet-unpretentious atmosphere. The food at Little Palace could be described similarly. Their no-nonsense approach to a bar food menu means that you’re not going to find anything groundbreaking here, but they do aim to elevate their classic menu items beyond average expectations.
A side of Hand-Cut Fries ($2) offer a medium-sized portion of potato wedges that are enough to split with a friend or eat by yourself if you’re hungry enough. The skins are left on, for a rustic earthy flavor, and they’re cooked to the point of a very slight outer crisp with a soft center. Salt is used sparingly, but you can add extra if you like them saltier.
If you’re looking for a side dish that is a little less common, then you can give the Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($4) a shot. These veggies are coated with oil, salted and roasted on one side, yielding a plate of half-blackened sprouts. Depending on how you like to eat sprouts, you may enjoy them this way or you may not. I found them to be slightly overdone to the point of mushiness, but that really only changes the texture without messing up the flavor. These make a great late-night snack, but I wouldn’t advise eating them at lunch if you don’t want to taste them the rest of the day.
The mini Chicken Sandwich ($3) is a four-bite breaded chicken breast slider served simply with mayo, pickle and swiss cheese. The bun is buttered and toasted, and the all-white breast meat puts this sandwich on par with its larger counterparts found on fancier menus.
The Mini Meatball ($3) is another take on the traditional slider. A toasted bun is filled with a sizable fresh meatball and topped with crushed tomatoes and peppadew-cheddar cheese. The meatball itself is tender with a mild peppery kick, and the toppings give it a “meatball sub” flavor compressed into just a few bites. My only complaint is that the crushed tomato isn’t enough of a sauce on its own, and could possibly use a tiny bit of marinara or another similar red sauce to finish it off.
The Little Palace Gyro ($4) is a throwback to the previous iteration of the restaurant, which was a full-on greek diner. This sandwich is very straightforward version of the americanized food cart classic: shaved lamb, tzatziki sauce, lettuce and tomato. The lamb meat appears to be of the pre-packed variety, which strays a bit from many of the other house-made items on the menu. That being said, the ingredients are all fresh, and the pita bread used is soft but sturdy. A solid rendition for a mere $4 in a sit-down restaurant.
Last but not least, Little Palace serves up their Palace Burger ($2 single / $3 double) which is fresh homemade beef patty topped with american cheese, grilled onions and a pickle slice. Ketchup and Mustard can be found table side to add to your liking. These sliders are a bit more substantial than their cheaper White Castle counterparts, and the little details such as the buttered bun and flavorful grilled onions go a long way toward elevating this mini burger to being light years beyond a simple fast food comparison. Two singles should be enough for one person, or three if you’re really hungry. Hands down, this burger is a great value if you want a homemade taste without going gourmet.
At first glance, the menu at Little Palace comes across as fairly standard, but there are little details that shine, which go a long way toward elevating the offerings found here. The simple preparation of in-house ingredients combined with the incredibly affordable prices turn Little Palace from a basic neighborhood joint into a destination-worthy restaurant.
Little Palace is located at 240 South 4th Street. They’re open Monday through Friday, 11am to 2:30am, Saturday & Sunday 3pm to 2:30am. Their kitchen is open late until 1am every night.
More information can be found online at www.littlepalacerestaurant.com.