By Rick Riozza
Perhaps I need to be pinched, but it seems as though Christmas has come early this year with the arrival of Chef Patrice Martineau, the newly named the Executive Chef at the illustrious Palm Springs’ Viceroy Palm Springs Hotel that houses the celebrated retro-chic restaurant, Citron.
Although I keep catching myself humming the Eagles tune, “there’s a new kid in town—and everybody loves him”, it’s a bit difficult to include the line here for although as Chef Patrice is still a young man as far as reputable international chefs go—indeed! he was a past protégé of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, his culinary talent and skills will no doubt swiftly prompt him into the echelon of this valley’s top chefs that include the likes of the Klins, Copleys, Bachers, Schmidts, and the like—with Chef Patrice Martineau entering as the—well, the new kid in town.
A native of the Champagne region in France, and Holder of a Masters Degree in Culinary Arts from Chambre Syndicale de l’Aube, Martineau has served as Boulud’s right-hand man at Daniel in New York City before becoming executive chef in London’s legendary Savoy Hotel, and chef de cuisine at the acclaimed Peter at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo.
Did you catch that? Tokyo!—yeah baby. Now you may have to go back to the future on this, but one of my favorite food fusions of the past was the French-Japanese culinary craze: That was when the best of the West met the finest of the East; where the identity and that special touch & feel of Japansese exact-point cooking collided with the summa-cum-laude sauces, prep, and the all-around gustatory whirlwind of the French. Enjoying Chef Patrice’s dishes brought all of that to mind.
A few of us local media peeps recently met at the Citron to meet Chef Patrice and to taste his fare. Although the ambiance of Citron Restaurant alone—with its Hollywood Golden Era décor—readily slides one into a pampered mood—we got even more pampered!
Like experiencing an exciting just-released movie, the oohs and ahhs permeated the table as we pursued a tasting menu showcasing Chef’s inventive impressions of Peruvian Hamachi Ceviche, Roasted Tiger Prawns, Yuzu-Kosho Crusted Slow Baked Scottish Organic Salmon, Grilled Colorado Lamb Chops and the dessert “Oeufs< à la Neige”. The visual sensation of each dish clearly bespoke the Japanese Art of Plating and each plate met with combination of the flavors, textures, and sensory profiles that was stellar. Five Stars! A great new menu here at Citron look forward to.
And as one would expect from a French epicure, the Chef does wine! Each course we enjoyed was paired wonderfully: Veuve Cliquot added elegance and a perfect dry cleanse to the ceviche; the roasted Tiger Prawns met a creamy and luscious Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley’s Groth Vineyards; the Whispering Angel Rosé is always a classic pairing for the Scottish Salmon; the grilled lamb chops matched the full-bodied Stag’s Leap CabSauv where the flavors of blackberry, plum, mild mint and coffee notes of the wine heightened the lamb’s already unique flavor. By the way—the Chef’s preparation of lamb is one of the best I’ve had in this town.
A great wine list by-the-glass or bottle is available also at the Citron Lounge & Bar. And everyone is encourage to call Citron for the latest information of Chef’s Tasting Menus, wine pairing meals and other up-coming culinary events. Bon Appétit!
Bienvenue à notre cher Cuisinier! Welcome to Palm Springs Chef Patrice!
And speaking of culinary wine events, alors! For those wishing to forego the pressures and commotions of the season, you, your friends and loved ones may desire to enjoy the warm ambiance of Citron for Thanksgiving. It’s one of the best prices in town for a complete meal including appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts: $58 adults; $29 kids under age 12.
Having Chef Patrice personally prepare a Thanksgiving meal for you sounds like the treat of the year! Some of the luscious and delectable items I already see on the menu include, the Beet-Vodka Marinated Salmon, Roasted Swordfish, Sonora Hills Roasted Turkey, and the Manjari Chocolate Hot Cake. Please check out the menu on line for some tasty reading.
And The Viceroy Palm Springs along with Chef Patrice at Citron is a real happening for the Christmas and 2015 New Year’s holidays. Simply go on line at http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/palmsprings for all details and menu items for theChristmas Eve Dinner, Christmas Day Dinner, Elegant New Year’s Eve Caviar & Beluga Vodka Citrus Menu Dinner, and, TheEndless Champagne New Year’s Eve Party.
Reservations highly recommended. 760-320-4117. The Viceroy Hotel, 415 S. Belardo Rd. Palm Springs Ca. 92262