By Raymond Bill
There are a few restaurants in our valley that I would consider landmarks. They are the gems of the valley that have been serving for twenty or more years and have a loyal following. One such establishment, located in Palm Desert on El Paseo, is the well-known, Café Des Beaux Arts. This French Bistro has been delighting locals and tourists since 1993. Although they open for breakfast and lunch, I was recently given the pleasure to enjoy an amazing dinner with my girlfriend while enjoying our deserts’ mountain views!
We were seated promptly on a patio in which nearly every table boasts a view of the El Paseo promenade and gorgeous surrounding mountains. We were pleasantly greeted by our server and his assistant and provided warm baguettes and water. After we made our wine selection from an impressive wine list, we ordered and shortly after received appetizers. I loved every bite of my Escargots Bourguignonne. It was savory with garlic and herbs and went well with the crusty baguette. My date would decline my offer to share (though I did not mind) yet offered me a taste of her Salade Des Beaux Arts. This was a great salad full of flavor with a creamy vinaigrette, thinly shaved prosciutto, hearts of palm, tomatoes and goat cheese over chopped romaine lettuce. I cannot express enough how much I appreciate a great quality salad. This was top notch and we had just begun!
Before our entrée, we shared a half portion of Linguini with Baby Clams Mariniere with a touch of white wine and shallots. The clams were delicious and the pasta a perfect al dente. I would definitely enjoy a full portion as an entrée! Our pasta was presented with warmed side plates for sharing; this nice touch did not go unnoticed.
Our entrées were certainly the stars of the show. I ate every bite of the mouth-watering Roasted Rack of Lamb Provencale with Dijon, served with a twice baked potato and delicious creamed spinach. I praised myself for ordering the best item on the menu until I tried the amazing Coq Au Vin placed in front of my date. The chicken was fall off the bone tender with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon in the most amazing burgundy wine sauce. I have tried Coq Au Vin in other local restaurants, even some that boast theirs to be a signature dish, but these so-called “creative” restaurants can deconstruct their dish all they want and no amount of meat glue will get the beauty and flavor presented at Café Des Beaux Arts!
I had to ask the owner about our meal and I learned that this Chicken entrée recipe was from none other than the famed chef, Paul Bocuse, most famous for aiding in the creation and uprising of Nouvelle Cuisine and French Gastronomy. This award winning chef’s talents are recreated at this French Bistro to perfection!
We finished our meal with a traditional Crepes Suzette. These thin crepes were delicate and bursting with bright citrus flavors with a presence of Grand Marnier. Truly Incroyable!
In addition to owning this Coachella Valley landmark, Didier Bloch has a talent for story-telling. A former journalist himself, Didier collaborated with Cynthia Meckl-Sloan to create a novelty cartoon book highlighting the dessert lifestyle that you can see at www.palmspringslite.com. Bloch also contributed to a play currently running in Los Angeles called, “Marilyn… Madness and Me” that will also be featured at The Rancho Mirage Library with a live reading by the actors themselves November 19th.
Café Des Beaux Arts is open from 8am to 9pm serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are nightly specials and happy hour items as well. With great food and prime location, this French Bistro is near the top of my list for highly recommended restaurants this season. Make your reservations and see for yourself. www.cafedesbeauxarts.com 760-779-0142