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Palette 22, Shillington - Opening Chef Antonio Burrell and Art Director Cara Keeps Have Departed

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Had a very nice meal at Palette 22 on Friday night pre-theater.  This will be my go-to before a show there.

The restaurant was bustling, and I would definitely say get a reservation, at least on the weekend.  (I heard someone ask and there was a 40ish minute wait at 6 p.m.) We couldn't get a table outside - the weather was nice and those tables were full.  

We started with Roasted Cauliflower (ras el hanout, golden raisins, mint), which was good, though I have had better (I like it when it's deeply roasted, and a little bit of a creamy sauce is nice).  It had almonds which aren't on the online menu, and they definitely enhanced it.  Next was Peruvian Style Grilled Octopus (olive oil, garlic, lemon, paprika, thyme, gold potatoes), which was fantastic.  It was tender, not chewy, and the texture and flavor of all the ingredients worked together extremely well - a red pepper (some heat but not a ton) on top of the octopus, on top a little pile or cake of potatoes).  We also had a Wild Mushroom Flatbread, which was excellent and full of meaty mushrooms.  

Then we had Vietnamese-Style Sugarcane Shrimp (lemongrass slaw, ginger-lime sauce, butter lettuce), which was spicy and tasty.  We had Pan-Fried Watermelon + Halloumi (harissa spice, pomegranate molasses, mint), which was so good we ordered another serving.  There were triangles of watermelon, browned on one side and with a rich flavor, on top of triangles of halloumi cheese, which wasn't too salty as it is sometimes, and the dressing was tangy and terrific.  All the parts complemented each other perfectly.

For dessert, we had that second order of the watermelon, and Sweet Tamales (golden raisins, cajeta), which was the only dish I didn't think really worked. It had a nice flavor, but the texture was a little odd.

We will definitely be going back.

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Ooh, I always wanted to try his cooking but never got out to Driftwood.  Hooray for him cooking in Arlington now! And that explains why the food was so good.

Also fyi, the menu has lots of gluten-free items marked, as well as vegetarian items.

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