After being closed for more than a year after the pandemic and changing ownership to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in 2021, the Palms has been reenergizing its dining line up. The latest new eatery, Laguna Pool House & Kitchen inside Palms Place on the 6th floor, has opened just in time to enjoy the summer months.
Situated in the original space of Simon Kitchen & Bar, the surroundings are scenic and enhanced with a 30-foot ceiling with an abundance of large windows providing natural light (somewhat of a rarity in casino resorts), live greenery, artwork and a great view of the pool. Another plus is ample free parking from both a nearby lot and valet, and an elevator to the left of the Palms Place lobby entrance that takes you straight to the restaurant.
The resort wisely brought in renowned Chef Luke Palladino and the Meta-Hospitality team to design a menu that’s fun and global with something for everyone. And that’s as it should be, as it’s the only restaurant in Palms Place and offers room service, a pool menu, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
Executive Chef John Brunett executes the well-rounded menu that includes the likes of NY-style pizza (with a softer chewy crust), pastas, Marcona Almond Hummus, Grilled Branzino, Shrimp Tacos, Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich and brunch favorites like Shrimp & Grits and Avocado Toast.
Healthful/vegan indulgences include the Gaia’s Garden with Persian cucumber, Campari tomato, whipped feta and kalamata olives; and Tortilla Soup with fire-roasted tomato and jalapeño, vegetable broth, toasted cumin, cilantro, avocado and crisp tortilla chips.
Prices are well below what you’d find on the Strip, like Hot Pastrami Sandwich served with coleslaw for $16; 10-oz Creekstone Farms NY Strip with shoestring potato & arugula salad for $28; brined ½ Rotisserie Chicken served with Manchego-cheddar macaroni & cheese and roasted garlic baby carrots for $28; and Seafood Cocktail large enough to satisfy two with Maine lobster, crab, oysters and shrimp for $72.
Expect a few pleasant surprises along the way that bring the wow factor: the Fruity Pebble Cheesecake mixes the popular cereal into the batter; the thick-cut fries are soaked overnight in water, steamed for five minutes, fried at low temperature for eight minutes and then frozen before finally being fried before serving (the extra time and care are evident in the taste); and the ½ pound Classic Burger—a blend of brisket, short rib and chuck topped with a slightly spicy pimento cheese spread and American cheese served with the house-made fries.
The beverage program is headed by Restaurant Manager Nick Vasquez, who has created refreshing cocktails like the Put the Lime in the Watermelon with El Tequileño Blanco, fresh watermelon, lime and hibiscus sour. He’s also curated an expansive spirits list with great value, like the rare Weller CYPB bourbon for $25, which would easily go for twice as much elsewhere.
Anytime is a good time to stop in, but special occasions are the Friday Karaoke Night (with a live band backing you up) and Soul Sundays Brunch, hosted by a DJ playing 100% vinyl records.
For opening hours and complete menus, visit www.palms.com/dining/laguna-pool-house-and-kitchen.