While I am certain that I will never run out of restaurants in the valley in which to dine, there are some that I wish I could review over and over again! Having judged the Crater Lake Chef Challenge for several weeks and recently awarding La Brasserie’s Chef Emmanuel Janin the winner, I knew I had to visit this French bistro to see if the talent extends into his menu. After an amazing evening, I am ready to return again so that I can try more of these amazing dishes!

My dear friend and I were seated on the intimate patio where we were able to enjoy the desert’s beautiful weather with an open view of the bright full moon and surrounding stars. We received the most amazing service by not only our beautiful, attentive server, Christina, but also her service assistants. Plates were cleared, silverware was reset and the table was cleared and crumbed between courses in a fashion that rivals some of the finest restaurants in the industry. I was truly pampered!
The wine list is impressive, not in size, but in quality. We began with a Côtes du Rhône that would pair with both entrees and even our dessert! Our first course was a “Gravelax” appetizer of cured salmon over toasted brioche. It was a mouthwatering beginning to what would be an amazing combination of flavors for one evening! My guest enjoyed a roasted beet salad while I received the mixed green salad with crispy goat cheese and a pear vinaigrette. We were off to an amazing start.
We felt no rush between courses and truly enjoyed the dining experience as it was meant to be enjoyed. Taking our server’s recommendations, our entrees included Sauteed Calf Liver and their Oven Roasted Pork Chop. The Liver is one of their specialties and I would bet that even if you do not like liver, you will love this dish. Served with roasted shallots and a sherry vinegar demi-glace topped with crispy bacon, this entrée is incredibly tender and full of flavor! The pork chop is brined for six hours with honey and seasonings before being roasted and served with a Coachella date chutney. The pork was served with chipotle mashed potatoes and the sweet chutney profoundly complimented the peppery potatoes. It is no wonder that this chef is getting such recognition in our valley!
The best part of an authentic French meal is definitely the dessert! La Brasserie’s pastry chef, Ariana Didziulis, was sure to impress us with her decadent chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries. As we had finished our red wine with our dessert, I completed this amazing evening with a taste of Grand Marnier. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal!
La Brasserie offers entertainment every Friday and Saturday night through season from 6-9:30 pm including local favorites like Eric Frankson on Friday, November 16th and Todd Ashley on Saturday November 24th. La Brasserie is located at the corner of Washington and Hwy 111 in La Quinta and open for lunch from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, serving dinner from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Happy hour is offered from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Open Monday through Saturday, reservations are recommended for dinner service but not required. Come see why Chef Emmanuel was named winner of the 2012 Crater Lake Chef Challenge.

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