Headed out to the desert for a long weekend of r&r, I combed Chowhound for any mention of don't-miss/can't-miss dining in the region. Though I get that Palm Springs does not really belong on the L.A. board, this post (reposted after being pulled off of the LA board) is meant as a public service for Angelenos considering a trip to the desert this winter who prefer not to subject themselves to dining based on Citysearch reviews (though Palm Springs' P.F. Changs and Ruby's Grill each earned a 9.2 from that vaunted critical resource - if anyone tries either outpost please write back and let the class know if shanghai springrolls are really THAT much better in a desert setting).
Save for a couple of recommendations of the old-line romantic Valauris (sp?) (which has been one of my parent's faves since the 80s, I think) I really couldn't find much and was resigned to eating at Mr. Parker's, the Parker Hotel's on-campus fine-dining option both nights.
Mr. Parker's was quite good on Friday night - interesting menu, nice dark and comfortable room, and pretty well executed food at pretty high prices (about like eating at the Viceroy or the W in L.A.), but nothing to write home about, and certainly not worthy of a "let's do it again" encore on Saturday night. (NB: The bacon tart was awesome, and Mrs. Bod loved the Osso Buco). Approx. $200 out the door w. two plates each, plus two cocktails and one glass of wine (3 total beverages, not 6 - what do you think we are, professionals?) a bottle of water and no dessert.
The Parker concierge advised that an Austrian restaurant in town, located 150 meters off the City Walk-esque Palm Canyon Dr. (home of Ruby's, if you must) had good food, but good luck on the service component. I called Johannes at 8PM to inquire about a table for two. "Well, it's already 8PM and we're full, I don't think we can take you until...845." Okay, great. We'll take it.
We arrived at 845 and the lovely hostess offered patio immediately, or a short wait for inside. We waited, because it seemed the like the right choice - it was.
A brief spell at the bar (during which we met not one but TWO friendly strangers - one of whom, a sales-guy type, INSISTED that we have some of his bread, and congratulated us for finding the finest restaurant in the Coachella Valley) and we were off to our table. Set w. nice stems, and a single upturned green apple as a centerpiece.
Word on the street is that Johannes is the nation's best Austrian chef not named Wolfgang, and that his wienerschnitzel will ruin your chances of enjoying anyone else's wienerschnitzel for the rest of your life.
A stroll through the menu brings anticipation and indecision. I want to order almost everything (except tuna tartare). We settle on an arugula/pomegranate/romano/honey-lemon salad, and a curried crab salad with celery and cucumbers and a vinaigrette drizzle. Salad is lick-the-plate good and the crab is cool and refreshing and delicious.
Entree selection is similarly difficult. Mrs. Bod settle on the legenndary wienerschnitzel. I opt for the evening's special fish - let me see if I can get this right - roasted Alaskan halibut over pineapple sauerkraut, plated over a mustard-something sauce