By Jonathan Volzke
27211 Ortega Highway, Suite B, (above Tannins) San Juan Capistrano, 949.481.2723, www.thepalmrestaurantandcatering.com
Most popular item: Steaks
Best known for: Fresh-made ingredients
When you bite into a chip at The Palm, it’s warm, just out of the oven. When you taste the bleu cheese dressing, you know it was hand-made with fresh bleu cheese. And when you sink your teeth into the lamb burger, there’s no doubt in your mind the meat was fresh ground in the kitchen. When it comes to Jonpaul Ugay’s kitchen, the magic is in the details. For Ugay, who was the bar manager at Tannin’s for more than three years and helped create special menu items there, that means ensuring quality and consistency by making everything from dressings to burger patties in the kitchen instead of buying it. “Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants have lost sight of the details and only focus on what they’re making,” he said. The Palm, which also offers a new twist on classic cocktails in its full bar-the grapefruit juice in its Greyhounds is fresh-squeezed-opens for dinner daily, and offers a Sunday brunch. The Taco Tuesday is also popular.
Payment: Cash, major credit cards
Price range: $8-$28
Reservations: Not necessary
Hours: Mon-Thurs 3 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri-Sat 3 p.m.-12:30 p.m.; Sun 9 a.m.-9 p.m.