Reborn Palace Steak House Returns to Realm of the Dead

Well, that didn’t take long. There was hopeful jubilation among Bernal Heights old-timers when the legendary Palace Steak House on the corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez re-opened under new ownership last year after having been vacant since 2009. But nostalgia and low prices were not sufficient to sustain the enterprise, because the Palace Steak House is closed again, with a sign in the window indicating that the business is for sale.

To be sure, there were problems. The Yelp page for the Palace Steak House is rife with so many one-star reviews that it now reads like a postmortem. Entertaining sample:

Yelp needs to give us the option of negative stars. I loved the old Palace Steak House and had many great memories of good steak for a reasonable price the whole family could enjoy. This place is worse than a dive, at least dives have some charm.  The best thing I can say about this place is that there were many empty sticky tables to choose from and that should have been my first clue!

My friend and I ordered the ribeye medium rare and it came back brown all the way though.  It was a weird cut and was thin.  I sent them back and asked for a steak cooked the way I ordered it-medium rare.  The second steak came back even worse than the first one!!  Since I ate their salad (it was ok) and their garlic toast (they claim they use butter but when he brought it out for the baked potato it looked like someone urinated in cream corn-could not use it), so I offered to pay for that but wanted a refund for the difference since it was inedible.  No refund so I refused to leave until he called the owner and said I would wait.  The owner did not come in until I started advising people to don’t order the steak-just look at mine. That’s when the insulting owner cae in with some guy who just stared at us (I guess waiting for us to leave).  He told me he would call the police if I did not leave and I told him to go ahead since his food was a crime. I told him I would be happy to leave once he repaid me and never come back.  After many tiresome threats from him to call the police, and a couple hours had passed I decided to call the police myself.  I knew that the SFPD could not get my money back (actually they told me my only option was the BBB and Yelp) but am glad I called them as my friend and I are elderly.  They gave us a friendly wave as we laughed our way into our car.  That was the friendliest smile and gesture during our whole dining experience.

Save your money (yes yes yes – I know it’s cheap) and find a different steak house.  These people do not deserve customers…and I am glad to say they did not have many.

There are many more like this. Yet truth be told, it was obvious even from afar that the new Palace was troubled. Indeed, the fatal flaw was quite literally visible from across the street (and in the top photo shown above).

How? I am not a food savant, nor a restaurant guru. But I did grow up in New Jersey, and there are two cuisines that survivors of the Garden State know well: steak houses and pizza joints. And the key insight that anyone from New Jersey understands intuitively is that you can be a steak house, or you be a pizza joint, but you should never, ever, EVER trust a place that tries to be a steak house and a pizza joint at the same time. The Stink of Death emanated from The Palace from the moment when that new “Steak & Pizza” sign was installed on the facade. Dooooooooomed!

Not because I wished it, but because it simply could be no other way.

Now, let’s all sing along together:

PHOTOS: Former Palace Steak & Pizza House on October 14, 2012, by Telstar Logistics

12 thoughts on “Reborn Palace Steak House Returns to Realm of the Dead

  1. Yeah, it’s tragic. When it first opened I had fairly high hopes, but it went downhill pretty quickly. It felt like the restaurant owners really didn’t know what they wanted to do with the place, and in the process of experimenting they alienated all the old PFSH clientele and failed to attract anyone new. Quality (and the whole dining experience) went way, way down.


  2. Also: Looks like they already stripped out the cool vinyl booths, one of the last vestiges from the original Palace Family Steak House.

  3. On the plus side: there are some amusing (fake?) 5 star yelp reviews that gave me a chuckle. ” I get giddy with happiness every time I go”. Me too. But it wasn’t from happiness!

  4. In terms of unholy combinations, where does the Silver Crest Donut Shop, Retaurant & Bar come in?

    There is some list of things they make on the side of the building that reflects even more incongruous. Oh, and it is open 24 hours!

  5. Hey, thanks for including my husband’s song! Palace Family Steak House may be gone, but Palace Family Steak House the band lives on. And we’ll always have Beliso Karate School.

    We went when it first reopened, and found it dismal. My husband wanted to keep giving it a chance, because who wants to live in a world without PFSH? But I prefer my food edible.

    When the iconic signage was gone, we knew the dream was finally over. What were they thinking?

    So now, PFSH lives on in our hearts, and in my husband’s music. You don’t need smack when you’ve got yourself a little au jus. *sniff!*

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