Firecliff: Contemporary California Cuisine

By | November 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm | No comments | Columns, The Pampered Palate

By Ramond Bill

After living in the desert for nearly 25 years, I have seen restaurants come and go. I’ve learned that there is truth in the age old axiom of, “location, location, location” meaning that when a business or property has the benefit of a great location, little else matters. There is one area of our valley where I prefer to dine time and time again, and that is in Palm Desert on El Paseo. Of the many restaurants, new and old, one of my favorite, classy restaurants is Firecliff Restaurant.

This elegant dining venue has prime location facing the busy street with every table offering a great view. A very talented pianist fills the air with his music while the staff moves together in concert to provide a consistently superb experience. On a recent visit, my date and I were fortunate to enjoy a table on their patio. We were greeted with smiles from our valet attendant, hostess and our server, putting us at ease. We began with a bottle of wine and an order of their fresh crab cakes over mixed greens. They were rather large and delicate, full of fresh crab meat. It was clearly a house specialty.

It was immediately clear to us that Firecliff was going to provide another impressive culinary experience! Our server, Alfonso, was as attentive to us as he was with the surrounding tables, making everyone feel as if they were the only diners in the restaurant when it was clearly full. We continued with salads, a fresh Caesar salad for me and the Pear Gorgonzola salad for my date. Both were perfectly plated and dressed, presented with fresh cracked black pepper. The little touches did not go unnoticed.

In our typical dining fashion, we shared our entrees so that we would enjoy a variety. The filet mignon was superb, paired with sautéed spinach and creamy potatoes. The flavors were intense and the meat was top quality. We would also share the Red Snapper stuffed with crab meat. It was perfectly prepared with a citrus beurre blanc. It was no surprise to me when our server complimented the deserving chef while noting she had trained at La Varrene in Paris, France. What a talent indeed! We were quite satisfied but there was just enough room for dessert.

Upon our server’s recommendation, we shared a warm apple crisp dessert with rich ice cream. It was just enough for us to satisfy our sweet tooth while we raved about the meal we had just savored! The menu is not too small but not overwhelming. It is apparent that Chef Patricia Hook focuses on the freshest of ingredients, USDA Prime and Angus beef, and an impressive selection of seafood; a winning combination if you ask me.

Firecliff will open for lunch mid-January and dinner is served from 5pm to 9:30pm 7 days per week. Entertainment is offered nightly from 6pm to 10pm. Located at 73-725 El Paseo in Palm Desert, reservations can be made online by visiting www.firecliffdining.com or by calling 760-773-6565

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