NOVEMBER DISH OF THE MONTH: Palette 22

Food. Art. Fun. That’s the motto of Palette 22, located just a few minutes away in the Village at Shirlington. Palette 22 offers an artful dining experience that is far from ordinary. Everywhere you look the building is covered in art. From paintings to prints, you’ll never run out of gorgeous views while you dine! You may even see an artist or two working right beside you. And it’s not all about art; the food is globally inspired to take your palette on a journey around the world. Whether you’re stopping in for a meal, a late night bite, happy hour or bottomless brunch, you’ll leave feeling inspired. We got the chance to ask the General Manager, Tom DeMott and the Executive Chef, Kelvin Flores all about Palette 22. Keep reading to find about more about this unique dining location!

Can you tell us about the history of Palette 22? For example, how long have you been in business? Do you have any other restaurant locations?

Palette opened in February 2016. The concept for the restaurant was based on a sister location in Florida called Cafe TuTu Tango. Our parent company, Alexandria Restaurant Partners, also has (4) restaurants in Old Town, including Virtue Feed & Grain, Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge, Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap, and The Majestic, all of which offer a unique and different concept. And coming to Old Town in 2018 ~ Mia’s Italian Kitchen, which will offer delicious Italian food and pizza by the slice!

Tell us about the art in your space, who is it made by and is it available for purchase? Is it true artists work in the restaurant?

We have an amazing team of Artists in Residence that have created all of the art in the restaurant. They come from all walks of life and work in every media imaginable such as leather, paint, recycled materials, glass, clay, and photography.

The restaurant space is so inspiring, I’m sure that has influenced the food. What is your menu inspired by?

The vibrant art that comes from so many different cultures truly inspires the food at Palette 22. Our food is globally inspired as well. Our small plates have elements of Caribbean, Asian, and Latin fusion along with classic American and European dishes. A great ‘one liner’ to summarize the restaurant is: “It’s a feast for your senses.”

What is your favorite menu item?

Hands down, it’s the Tacos Vampiros…it seems to be everyone favorite!

Why do customers love Palette 22?

For me, it is the amazing energy in this restaurant. The experience is truly unique and there is nothing else like it in the D.C. area. Dining here is just plain old fun! Guests sample our innovative cuisine “tapas style” which encourages sharing and is not restricted to the standard appetizer, entree, dessert program in every other restaurant. One can try out so many different dishes and there are no rules about how to order. All while dining in this amazing space in which you can get up, walk around to check out the art, watch the chefs cook in our open kitchen, and speak with the artists. We also have an amazing team of servers, bartenders, and cooks who have been given one simple task…to make the guest experience awesome.

Is there anything else you want the community at e-lofts to know about Palette 22?
We have one of the best Happy Hours in the area that includes incredible discounts on beer, wine, liquor and food…on Mondays we do happy hour ALL DAY! We also have 1/2 priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays, Taco Madness on Thursdays with all you can eat tacos for $22, and Bottomless Brunch for $25 on Saturdays and Sundays. Far and away, the best way to experience our menu is by taking advantage of our Palette Passport, which is a Chef guided tour of our menu.

Can you tell us about this month’s Dish of the Month?

The Tacos Vampiros…we start with a quesadilla that is then turned into a taco, is stuffed with the most incredible mojo marinated steak and topped off with our salsa roja and cotija cheese. It’s amazing! Keep reading for the recipe.

MOJO MARINADE:

JUICE OF 2 LIMES

JUICE OF 1 ORANGE

1 BUNCH CILANTRO

1 JALAPENO

2 CLOVES OF GARLIC

1 TBS CUMIN

2 TBS SALT

1 TBS BLACK PEPPER

ADD ALL INGREDIENTS INTO A BLENDER AND PUREE UNTIL SMOOTH.

VAMPIRO STEAK:

MARINATE 1 LB OF SKIRT STEAK IN THE MOJO SAUCE FOR 8 HRS. RESERVE ¼ CUP OF THE MARINADE

GRILL STEAK TO DESIRED TEMPERATURE

ALLOW TO REST 5 MINUTES

SLICE THINLY AGAINST THE GRAIN OF THE MEAT

POUR THE REST OF THE MOJO OVER THE SLICED MEAT AND ALLOW TO REST WHILE YOU PREPARE THE TACO.

TACO:

TORTILLAS (FLOUR OR CORN)

1 CAN DICED GREEN CHILIS

PEPPER JACK CHEESE

SALSA

COTIJA CHEESE

PLACE A SMALL AMOUNT OF PEPPER JACK CHEESE AND GREEN CHILI BETWEEN THE 2 TORTILLAS

COOK IN SAUTEE PAN OR FLAT TOP UNTIL THE CHEESE IS MELTED

REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND ADD VAMPIRO MEAT

GARNISH WITH SALSA OF YOUR CHOICE AND COTIJA CHEESE.

Can you say Taco Time? Yum! We cannot wait to try this recipe out, stop by Palette 22 to check out the art for ourselves! If you try out this recipe or head over to Palette 22, be sure to tell us how your experience was. You can visit Tom and Kelvin at The Village at Shirlington, 4053 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA 22206, and follow Palette 22 on Instagram and Twitter.