For Your Palate: La Palette
Every Wednesday evening, a small sample of New York’s intelligencia gather for caipiriniha -laced debates at a lively little spot on Greenwich Avenue (not Street!), called La Palette. La Palette has delicious caipirinihas because La Palette is a…Cachaçaria! That’s fun! Cachaça (pronounced ka-SHA-sa) is a rum-like spirit (but created 100 years earlier than rum) distilled from fresh sugar cane. It’s Brazilian, and La Palette has the largest collection of cachaça in New York City. No joke, the restaurant is lined with shelves sporting every brand of this little number. And the variety of cachaças, make La Palette’s caipirinihas unbeatable. Much like a mojito, traditional capirinihas are made with cachaça, lime and sugar cane all crushed up and yummy. I would know. I had like three plus a flight of aged cachaças before I stumbled out all happy-faced to meet my handsome date.
But La Palette is more than palate-pleasing cocktails. Chef/owner/cachaça connoisseur, Claudia, is always nearby to help navigate the cachaças and happy to disclose her inspiration for the ever-evolving menu. “When I get bored of one dish, I make something new. I also listen to the customers and what they want,” she explained. And the patrons totally heart her! Regulars abound, laughing and enjoying the warm atmosphere and flavorful dishes. From sweet and savory crepes to traditional Brazilian plates, the eclectic mix of dishes also includes a tasty pesto pasta, a wildly popular burger, and Brazilian-style steak with farofa that I managed to finish all by myself. Yuuuuuummmmm….
Oh, but leave room for dessert. The Brigadeiro (chocolate cake) is hands-down the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Um, yeah, you read that right.
Rumor has it that brunch at La Palette is also divine, and I’m guessing an uber popular place in suitable weather because they have garden seating that gives Park Slope a run for their money. With easy prices -traditional caipiriniha is only $8 and most entrees around $15- this is a place you can afford to go and stay a while.
La Palette 94 Greenwich between 12th St. and 8th Ave.; open lunch and dinner daily until 11 p.m.; phone: 212-366-6110
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