As the valley is gearing up for another strong season, some restaurants are stepping up their game. After hearing the buzz around town that Arnold Palmer’s has made some impressive changes, I was eager to find out if they would be able to impress and meet my expectations. Well, they far surpassed them with their service, ambiance and most importantly, food that is artistically presented and fit for a celebrity. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to feel like one.
From the moment my date and I entered the beautiful foyer, we were greeted by a smiling staff. We were humbly welcomed and escorted to one of several intimate booths where we were offered a tasting menu prepared by Chef Ivan Flowers. We were excited that the manager was willing to show his wine knowledge by providing a wine tasting with each course. We began with an Amuse of roasted Muscovy duck breast and pan seared pear gastrique. This French style, sweet and sour sauce paired well with the duck to get our taste buds ready for the amazing meal ahead of us. Followed by a taste of rich and creamy lobster bisque and a chilled oyster shooter with berry sorbet, we enjoyed some champagne that was full bodied enough to compliment the variety of flavors in our beginning courses.
Our next course was a light field green salad that included some baby arugula and frisee lettuces, plated next to an antipasti roll of prosciutto and creamy cheese. We were amazed at the attention to detail in presentation as well as service. Each course was carefully and specifically presented to us with a description, all choreographed by our beautiful and knowledgeable server, Lana. We continued on to a few amazing wines, whose names I wish I had written down. Next was a perfectly seared Maine Diver scallop, wrapped with thin slices of Ahi tuna and served with a sweet soy wasabi. The scallop was opaque and full of flavor, incredible!
Finally, with red wine flowing, we were ready for the main course, a duet of tender filet mignon and roasted rack of lamb. Served with fingerling potato and fresh local artichoke ragout, this dish was a masterpiece! Each course was perfectly portioned and served on a variety of plates, all customized to the dish presented. It was truly a work of art. We enjoyed a little tawny port and some homemade tiramisu made with Belgian chocolate (another contender for best tiramisu) for dessert before Lana offered a tour of the facility.
There are many private rooms for dining that all offer a unique experience. In the center of the restaurant there is one large private dining room with a long, banquet style table that is surrounded by walls of wine bottles. On this evening, there was a party of about 15 men that chose Arnold Palmer’s as their reward for a long hard day on the golf course. I can’t think of a better way to end the day, except maybe visiting the putting green outside near the patio.
Come for some of the most amazing food you will find in our valley or perhaps for the exceptional service with a smile, or maybe for a chance that you could run in to Arnold Palmer himself! Whatever your motivation is, this restaurant is a must see and in my personal top three restaurants in the Coachella Valley! Located in La Quinta just one block west of Washington on Avenue 52, the restaurant is open for dinner nightly at 5pm and offers a Pub Menu that is half price from 4pm to 6pm, including $5 well drinks and $5 glasses of house wine. Visit their website to learn more about this incredibly talented chef, Ivan Flowers. www.arnoldpalmersrestaurant.com