Paley's Place: Restaurant Guide 2014

1204 NW 21st Ave., 243-2403, paleysplace.net

[TOUR DE FAT] The house that Paley built almost 20 years ago remains both resolutely clubby and a bit humble in décor. The converted home now almost feels lived in—like a wooden throne that bears the buttprint of the king—and the rich, French-influenced fare speaks softly but with terrific eloquence, bringing tradition in line with the odd touches of wit. On Patrick McKee's terrific new tasting menu ($70 for five plates, $90 for seven), impossibly rich hazelnut pork terrine might be paired with a thoughtful peasant ratatouille. The unctuous textures of oxtail work over an impossibly delicate gnocchi. Meanwhile, the marrow may arrive in an unhalved Flintstones-style bone, upright and swimming in savory Bordelaise with savory mushrooms atop that; it is old-fashioned whimsy disguised as largesse. The locals-only menu had gotten a little creaky over the years—that big box announcing sweetbreads and tartare had become a relic of a bygone age—but it's recently been updated not only with those tasting menus but with a pretty-much bonkers two-plate charcuterie tour-de fat ($40) that is unmatched in the city, with an option to carve out more specialized meat plates: bacon and blood pudding mortadella ($15), perhaps, or duck and currant galantine ($15). But at this point in its life, Paley's isn't going to be a spritely genre-hopper tossing light Asian accents into its beurre blanc, but rather a source of subtlety and continuity—at their bar recently, a young couple arrived specifically on Saturday to dine next to a patron who's been there every week for maybe a decade. The couple's other neighbors were a Japanese couple desperately consulting their language software. There's a little bit of tourism, a lot of tradition. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Pro tip:

The most economical option with the most variety is for a couple to split about four half-plates, which will run about $35 a person.

5:30-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 5-10 pm Sunday. $$$$.