Saturday, January 12, 2008

Palais Royal - Centerville, IN

[Tyler] Rob and I always visit eGullet before we travel, so we can see if there are any good or interesting (not chain) restaurants we should check out in the place where we're visiting. Unfortunately, there aren't any eGullet restaurant recommendations for eastern Indiana. So, when I heard there was a new place with a good reputation in Centerville, I decided I needed to check it out.

Friday night, I and four friends went to the Palais Royal for dinner. The restaurant resides in an old Victorian house at 114 West Main street in Centerville (about one hour east of Indianapolis). The atmosphere was that of fine dining -- white table cloths -- and it was clearly a "date" place for the locals. Most of the other patrons were in their Sunday best, but I didn't feel uncomfortable in my jeans and turtleneck. This may have partly been because of the friendliness of the staff. No pretentions here.

The menu changes regularly, and is written on a gold-framed chalkboard, rather than printed.
The printed wine list was small, but adequate. The wines tended toward bolder flavors, which didn't quite gel with the simple food.

We had the Chippewa Chicken and Shrimp for appetizers. They were served in a cajun-spiced cream sauce with toasted croissants for sopping up the yummy goodness. For dinner, three of us chose one of the meats -- chicken, salmon, grouper (no one picked beef) -- which are served with a choice of white wine, lemon butter, or blackberry sauce. One person had grilled cajun shrimp, and the other had the pasta of the day, which I didn't get to see very well. For dessert, we had a piece of chocolate cake and peach cobbler.

Everything tasted like it was probably made on site. The sauces were from-scratch, and the vegetables were fresh and good. I think they grilled the broccoli and cauliflower and then tossed them with the potatoes and carrots, which seemed to have been cooked in butter. The deserts weren't fancy, and as with everything could have benefited from some more time spent on presentation, but tasted great. The only real disappointment was the bread. The crossoints tasted store-bought, and the table bread was big fluffy rolls.

All-in-all, I'd say Palais Royal is worth the visit, if you're in the area. It was nice to have real food, after two weeks of eating out of a microwave in my dorm room to save money. There really is a difference when the sauce is made from scratch, even if you're only eating a piece of grouper with mixed vegetables and lemon-caper sauce.


bethanyjoy said...

Can you check if there are any in the GR area? I think I'm too intimidated by the eGullet-ers. I can think of a few restaurants that SHOULD be recommended in the area, but I'm sure there are several we don't know about too.

Anonymous said...

According to eG:
Restaurant Bloom - Just okay
The Green Well
Restaurant Bloom
Marie Catrib's
Bistro Bella Vita
Tuscan Express
San Chez and Mezze
The Heritage at GRCC

"readers' choice for Best Thai Restaurant is all the way across the state in Grand Rapids."

~eGullet doesn't bite.