A recent article on JetSetExtra.com had an extensive discussion of Palm Springs Restaurant Week. We were so pleased to see that Chef Dawn Walker enjoyed her visit with us, and thought we’d share that excerpt with you:
We enjoyed our last meal during our stay in the Coachella Valley at Johannes Restaurant. Owner Johannes Bacher channels his Austrian roots with a contemporary flair at this twelve-year-old gem in downtown Palm Springs. When you walk into this restaurant you will be amazed at how modern yet soothing the décor is. The restaurant was recently remodeled by the chef’s brother, and the stunning blond wood, stainless steel accents, warm colors, eclectic art, and even the strategically placed Granny Smith apple centering each table all invite the diner into another culinary world, one that many restaurants only dream of venturing into.
Our meal at Johannes was first-class. For both my husband and me, all courses arrived and were cleared by separate servers at the same time. New, appropriate cutlery was gently place tabletop prior to each course arriving. The server checked on us frequently, and our water glasses remained filled for the entire meal. We enjoyed and reveled in the fine European dining and service experience we had at Johannes.
The Restaurant Week menu offers guests many delicious selections of fresh starters, mains, and desserts, however, given our short trip, we wanted to try a more traditional flight of dishes. This included the wild mushroom soup with tarragon crème fraîche and white truffle oil; escargot baked with garlic, breadcrumbs, and green herb butter; cheese spätzle; Wiener Schnitzel with roasted parsley potatoes, cranberries, lemon, and cucumbers in a dill sour cream dressing and topped with a caper and lemon sauce; and seared kangaroo.
It is difficult to choose one dish over the next because they all were so delicious, but what stood out for me was the quality of the ingredients—most fresh, many organic—with real tastes and textures. The delicate blend of mushrooms in the soup, the green herb butter with tender snails, the juicy pounded veal of the Wiener Schnitzel, the herbs and garbanzo beans in the spread for the fresh bread at the beginning of the meal, and the mix of the fresh dill and sour cream with the cucumbers all reminded me how important fresh local ingredients are to a high-end establishment such as Johannes. And, of course, the apple strudel was the best I have ever had. For $38, the Restaurant Week meal was a steal! But I would go back and pay much more for such a fine meal, especially those traditional Austrian favorites such as spätzle and Schnitzel.