Our Two Cents
Palm Court enjoys a wonderful duality. It is not your typical Jersey City bar, but that individuality is exactly what makes it so at home in Chilltown. From our two visits, we have not encountered worsted merino clad bankers or red faced, paunchy public servants bellied up to the bar. The kind of regulars ready to give you a trial by fire based on your ordering style, or possibly the type who love to dazzle new faces with their meteoric rise to the top of their respective profession. This is a very different Jersey City bar.
Upon entering Palm Court, you’ll probably see a few folks peppering the drinkery’s bar seating having animated conversations about cricket tests, the missus, pending legislation, the daily grind, and the joys of the old country. One stiff might be gazing out into nothing, and another will be intently fixated on the flat-screens positioned above the bar. In short, this is exactly how Palm Court resembles any other Jersey City taproom (well, except for the cricket banter).
Where the Palm Court’s path begins to diverge becomes evident when you take a seat and ask the ultra-friendly, helpful, and engaging barkeeps what the list of tipple consists of. Granted, the Palm Court does carry macro items that self-respecting American cannot do without, but they also offer a decidedly Caribbean and Southwest Atlantic take on beer and spirits. Asking for selections from the Southern Isles will be answered with met with responses of Banks, Export Guinness, El Dorado Rum, and myriad others… all at the ready for consumption at reasonable prices.
On our two visits, the affable Cindy held down the fort with poise and aplomb — Cindy can field an order from the regulars, then, switch right back to welcome mode for the patrons that might not swing by all too often.
Once you’ve got a barkeep’s attention, let your conversation abandon the beer, spirits, and incredibly inventive cocktail selections and meander over into food territory.
If you’ve got a thing for Subcontinental-diaspora style curries and meat and rice dishes, you are certainly in for a treat. Portions of anything from their appetizers to the entrees are incredibly generous and it’s not just quantity at Palm court… home-cooked quality is there to boot. Our favorites so far are the meat-based curries, served alongside a whopping complement of white rice and rich, yet buttery (ghee-abundant?) dhal/dahl/dal/daal. We were more familiar with Greater Antilles renditions of these staples, but the neat amalgamation of a more “mainland” white rice, with a more subtly spiced curry made for a mind bending and stomach pleasing experience. As mentioned, we’ve done the goat (you would think they are serving spring lamb, it is that tender) and the chicken, but Palm Court always offers up duck, pork, shrimp, snapper, Banga Mary, shark, and more.
Now, for the quick, summary review? Walk in, say, "Hi" order a drink, introduce yourself, enjoy the conversation, and chow down.
Oh, and please; if you’re splurging or celebrating — get yourself a sip of that El Dorado Rum!