By Patte Purcell
I’m impressed! I have written restaurant and club reviews for years but for the first time, I must begin with an accolade. As I stepped into VUE Grille & Bar located in the Indian Wells Golf Resort, I noted a refreshing hip ambiance. The trendy yet luxurious interior gives a nod to the colors and feel of the surrounding desert. Overlooking the Troon golf course and desert mountains, this hotspot offers indoor seating and outdoor balcony seating, complete with fire pits and decorative space heaters while featuring a fresh farm-to-table menu, signature cocktails and craft beers, as well as a new sushi bar.
With seating for 250 and entertainment six nights per week, VUE’s, “Mover and Shaker” Food and Beverage Director, Scott Winant, is now providing a second set of live entertainment and dancing. A Late Night Happy Hour begins the first weekend of January from 9:30pm to 12:30am. Friday nights feature the musical stylings of popular desert entertainer, John Mc Cormick while Saturday nights feature the hottest new show to hit the desert; “King of the Springs,” with National Recording/ Billboard artist, Slim Man, takes center stage to rock the desert with this hot national performance. VUE Grille & Bar has become the hottest new place to mix and mingle and do a little dancing and romancing.
While seated at the bar, I had the opportunity to meet their very talented bartender, Javier Santana (though I call him ‘The Mixmaster’). Never have I met a more knowledgeable mixologist than Santana. He is pushing the envelope when it comes to these over-the-top drinks. No pre-maid mixes, no same old thing, his drink menu is specialized, having created each concoction himself.
Santana explained that they’ve found their customer base to be fans of Manhattans and therefor developed a, “Manhattan Lovers” menu. He explained that the Manhattan is a classic cocktail from the NYC borough of Manhattan. Each of the 5 boroughs has their own cocktail but by far the most popular is the Manhattan, traditionally made with Rye Whisky.
I enjoyed his, “De La Louisiane,” which includes classic spirits and ingredients from New Orleans and incorporates them into a Manhattan. Rye Whisky, Italian Vermouth, Benedictine, Absinthe, Peychauds bitters, garnished with a twist of orange.
The VUE has also reinvented some classics. From the “Moscow Mule,” to the “Hanky Panky,” these drinks are carefully crafted with amazing little touches. Perfect ice cubes or an orange peeled rubbed glass brings the taste and aroma to a whole new level. All drinks are ‘stirred not shaken’ which means you won’t be getting a watered down drink and portions are also larger than normal. VUE serves premium liquors and Happy Hour Prices are only $7- $8.
Santana has also created one of his famous ‘sours’ as he features a rotating selection every day. These are handmade with dry shaken egg whites, no mixes here! He explained how sours started in punch bowls in English pubs before coming to America with settlers who turned them into separate drinks. He calls them original American cocktails with a European twist. Delicious!
In addition to a wonderful selection of drinks, VUE Grille & Bar offers an extensive wine selection and a Premium Sake menu. Enjoying some fresh sushi? Try one of 29 Japanese bottled beers from $5.50 to $7.00, or any of eight draft beers at $6.00.
Did I mention the food? Again, I’m impressed! I got to sample some of the fine selections from the lounge menu prepared by Executive Chef, Cale Falk. I was fortunate to have tried an argula salad with kumquats, steamed manila clams in a mouth-watering broth served with crostini; a lump crab cake with a special sauce. Happy Hour prices range from $7 to $16 for the Lobster Poutine. I savored every bite.
VUE Grille & Bar is located at Indian Wells Golf Resort, 44-500 Indian Wells Lane in Indian Wells. Happy Hour is offered 7 days a week, 3 pm-6 pm, Late Night Happy Hour, Friday and Saturday nights, 9:30-12:30 with Dancing!
Tuesday ~ EINSTEIN (steel drum/ vocals) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Wednesday ~ BEN (ukulele/ vocals) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Thursday ~ CASEY(acoustic guitar/ vocals) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Friday ~ INKA KINGS (Peruvian Jazz) 5:30pm-8:30pm Mike Mc Cormick (Hits of the 60’s through today) 9:30pm-12:30am
Saturday ~ JEFF (acoustic guitar/ vocals) 5:30pm-8:30pm
Slim Man ~ King of the Springs (Pop and Smooth Jazz) 9:30pm- 12:30am (CV Weekly sponsored party featuring Crater Lake cocktails, informal modeling by Kimballs Fashions, and more.
Sunday ~ BEN (ukulele/ vocals) 11:00am-2:00pm
CARMENS (Hits of the 50’s-90’s/ dancing/ guitar/ vocals) 6:30pm-9:30pm