By Raymond Bill
It is that time of year again, the time where people come from all over to celebrate restaurant week here in the Coachella Valley. It is also a great opportunity for those of us that enjoy dining out to fit a few more restaurants into our budget. With participating restaurants offering full course meals for $26 or $38, how could I resist trying some new restaurants? This week, I was most impressed with Bellatrix Restaurant in Palm Desert. Located at the Classic Club (that big goldenrod colored building on the north side of the interstate at Cook Street), this restaurant offers fine cuisine, affordable wine and a popular happy hour!
I arrived early with my date to meet two other couples for dinner. We enjoyed a drink in the bar where we noticed nearly every seat filled. It was a lively ambiance and we happened to run into a few friends before being seated in the dining room. The host staff was polite and professional, a rare find in this local industry. On a few occasions, I have found that servers have a disgruntled attitude for the discounted restaurant week menu, surely because it results in a lower check average and thus, lower gratuities. However, restaurant week brings in business that would otherwise not be present and therefore, a positive attitude will go much further. We were fortunate to have a very charming server who was knowledgeable and attentive.
Our limited menu included a choice of soup or salad and I opted for a delicious Caesar salad garnished with fresh anchovies. My date and several other guests raved about their Bellatrix Salad, Crisp baby greens with tomatoes, red onion and feta cheese with a light and tangy vinaigrette. Our entrée selections were limited to three: Chicken Cavatappi, Herb Crusted Salmon or Short Ribs. Though most of us selected the salmon, one from our group ordered the chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes, asparagus and wild mushrooms, garnished with crisp ciabatta bread. I can assume he enjoyed his selection as his plate was left empty. The salmon was served with asparagus risotto, and a rich béarnaise sauce. Though the salmon was slightly overcooked for my taste, it was perfect for my guests.
Dessert is of course included and the selections available stood out from the very beginning. Before I could decide on my entrée selection, I knew I would finish with Caramel Cheesecake! Rich creamy cheesecake topped with a drizzle of sweet caramel… I was in heaven. My date ordered a donut-like dessert topped with a salted caramel ice cream that was rather impressive. We all raved about our meals and noticed how they were perfectly proportioned.
Overall, I was quite impressed with this restaurant. The food, ambiance and service all stand out above most restaurants in this valley. I will definitely be revisiting this beautiful dining venue to try their regular menu! Bellatrix Restaurant is located in the Classic Club at 75200 Classic Club Blvd. Call them for a reservation at 760-766-2480 or make one online through opentable. Visit their websites: www.bellatrixrestaurantpalmdesert.com or www.classicclubgolf.com