By Rick Riozza
No—the internationally famed Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs is not the new gambling casino in our Coachella Valley; don’t take the title of this piece the wrong way. Rather, I’m using the expression “Aces High” to give a royal flush salute & shout-out to the new chef and his new cuisine menu at the King’s Highway Restaurant at the Ace Hotel.
Recently I joined the food & beverage bloggers, Penny and Paolo Max from The Palm Springs Wine Blog to meet with Chef Yssac Ramirez and check out the new open seating scene by the hotel’s poolside patio. Nice to check out the restaurant scene again!
Since The P.S. Wine Blog already wrote their review, being in the mix that evening, it’ll be easy for me to quote our findings. And I’ll finish up reviewing the wines we tasted from The Amigo Room wine list.
“What an enjoyable time we had at the King’s Highway Restaurant at the Ace last evening. The tables were staggered outside by the pool, the heaters made it extra cozy and warm and the band played some delicious live jazz. What made it even better was the food! Chef Ysaac Ramirez has created a new and extremely delectable menu, creative and delicious, well balanced, fresh and vibrant.
“For appetizers, we started out with the Tabbouleh Salad (quinoa, kale, basil, smoked barley, hazelnuts, feta) it screamed spicy freshness in the best way. Next, we tasted the Maitake Mushrooms (sour cream, chives, caramelized onion, and prosciutto), you’ve got to taste it to believe it. It was soft and crunchy at the same time, intriguing. We followed that up with beets (buttermilk, radish, chives, almond crumble, parmesan), a delectable concoction.
“The main courses we tried were the Bucatini (tomato, garlic, basil pesto, grana padano), featuring a perfectly cooked fresh pasta, delivered from Domenicos in L.A.; The chef’s favorite, Quarter Chicken (tomato, barley, kale, salsa mojo), that was reminiscent of a delicious confit; and the Redtop Farm Pork Chop (buttermilk mash, pearl onions, apple, red onion reduction) which was tender and unctuous.”
The Amigo Room is where one can find “inspired cocktails and craft beer in a cool cavenous space.” For those of you who’ve been there—well, you know what we’re talking about. An honorable mention to Erica the bartender for the mocktails she poured namely the Desert Facial (cucumber, pineapple, mint), a good palate cleanser, and the Cranky Coyote (grapefruit, lime, rosemary syrup, with a salted rim), a fan favorite. All drinks were served to us on the patio.
I was pretty pleased with the versatility of wines by the glass on the list:
They cover the sparkling wine waterfront with a House Bubbles Prosecco-style, $11; and a cremant from Burgundy, Bailly-Lapierre Brut Rose, $14. Available by the bottle is the Spanish Mont Marcal Cava (Penedes, Spain) $45; and we have the ever-popular Veuve Clicquot at the celebratory price of $166.
The House Rose is a Provençal one from France, a Grenache Noir, $14; and a Curran Rose, a Grenache Gris from Santa Barbara. For you snappy Sancerre fans, there is one from the Loire, Domino Sancerre $19. If a California Sauv blanc is more your speed with softer citrus notes, there’s the Cadre Stone Blossom, $16, from beautiful Edna Valley.
A very nice glass of Chard shows up as a Trefethen Chardonnay, $15. As to a nice Pinot Noir, I enjoyed the house pinot, which at the time was the 2018 McIntyre from Santa Lucia Highlands—absolutely tasty! However currently, they are serving the 2017 Poppy Pinot Noir, $15—which is tasty as well. I’ve met the mother of the winemaker from Poppy while she was shopping in my wine department; so I have some type of affinity to that wine as well.
Finally, for a Cab, there is the 2018 Chateau Souverain from the North Coast of California. This wine just recently received some high marks from Wine Spectator magazine. All in all, I found the white wines and the pinots to best fit Chef Yssac’s cuisine style.
Unfortunately, or fortunately—depending on your world view on the wine game, this wine list above is subject to change—indeed, we hear that there will be some changes in the coming month. The best thing of course is to check the website at www.kingshighwaydiner.com/drinks.
It was just great to get out and dine again. With all the safety precautions in place, I know we are all looking forward to enjoying and supporting our local restaurants. Let’s keep in touch—Bon Appétit & Cheers!
Rick is a certified wine steward and your somm-about-town, hopefully soon to be pouring at your favorite wine venue. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.