February 10, 2011

Palm Cafe

By Eric Shangraw

February 10, 2011 Updated Feb 13, 2011 at 4:52 PM CDT

Canton may not be known as a hot-bed of culinary flavors in central Illinois.

But there are a couple restaurants there that float above the rest.

Eric Shangraw is trying the steaks at the Palm Cafe in this week's You Gotta Eat.

The Palm Cafe in an enigma in Canton. Its eclectic big city fine dining in a small town. The Palm is on the first floor of 114 year old building that was once a hotel. Bright and classy. Or simple elegance. Both descriptions are apropos.

"You can come in here dressed in a pair of jeans. You can come in here really dolled-up if you would like. And they always treat you special," said customer Carol Blackfelner.

"It offers a little bit of something for everybody. If you want fish. If you want pasta. You want steak," said customer Cindy Lock.

We wanted steak. What makes the Palms steak so succulent? Depends if you ask the owner or the cook.

"I think it has to do with the fact we have a grill that is very well-seasoned," said owner Gary Leese.

"We use a really high quality we-aged beef," said Fonz Hale, the cook. "And wet-aged is essentially packaging the meat in its own juices and the enzymes in the meat break down the meat. Intensifying the flavor a little bit," Hale said.

Photographer Doug Smith and I started with a Artichoke Dip with crackers appetizer. The Palms artichoke hearts come fresh from California. A little Tabasco sauce gives the creamy mixture a nice finish. We also had fresh salads. Then came the main event. Doug had a grilled ribeye. Weighing in at about 20-ounces, he ordered it medium well-leaning more towards well.

I had Fillet Mignon. Medium. Little pink in the middle. The wet-aging really does make the meat juicier. Our sides included dressed up mashed potatoes and some fresh broccoli.

Save room for dessert. The Palms fresh bread pudding with blueberries, blackberries, raspberry and raspberry liquor would take first in any dessert competition. Doug had chocolate decadent flowerless fudge cake. The name alone should provide you the information we want to convey. With coffee and drinks our bill: 90-dollars plus tip. The Palm is a singular experience in Fulton County. The Palm is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Call ahead for reservations if you are driving in from out of town.

Palm Cafe
101 East Elm Street
Canton, IL

(309)647-CAFE(2233)

Thursday-Saturday 5pm-close

Reservations recommended for out of town guests.

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