Canyon Bistro patio a cool place for summer suppers
Table for Two
Special to The Desert Sun
May 16, 2002
One of my favorite dining spots for warm evenings is the patio at the Canyon Bistro in Palm Springs. Ceiling fans and misters keep you cool and the menu offers many lighter entrees perfect for hot-weather dining. And you can't beat the view -- people watching along Palm Canyon Drive and the glorious backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains at twilight.
Restaurant We called the same evening and were able to book a table for a Friday night busy with tourists and locals. The gracious staff seated us at one of the tables on the patio.
Chain restaurants should be so lucky to have staff members so genuinely nice and helpful. The waiter allowed us to take our time with the large menu; and once ordered, the wine and food was brought promptly. Dishes were removed discreetly between courses and our conversations weren't interrupted.
The starched white linens and formal place settings are juxtaposed with tile floors and greenery along the patio. Inside, tables and banquettes are available for intimate dining.
Menu With summer heating up, I'm interested in lighter white wines, and the list at Canyon Bistro doesn't disappoint. I like to move past the chardonnays this time of year and sample sauvignon and fume blancs. The bistro even offers a trendy viognier, an Australian Riesling and a California Gewurztraminer along with white wines from France. There's a fine selection of red wines if you prefer to stay with reds.
We stayed on the light side and selected the Santa Margharita Pinot Grigio, $36.
Determined to have salmon for dinner, I bypassed the tempting seafood appetizers, including mussels, smoked salmon, crabcakes and shrimp with sauce the menu promises is stolen from Le Vallauris.
We started with the bruscetta, $5.25. The loaf was pre-cut, but it took some tearing to share the foccacia, which was topped with tomatoes, garlic, basil and goat cheese. The fresh tomatoes were a true taste of summer.
I bypassed the half-dozen salads offered on the menu and started with the signature Gazpacho soup, $5. Diced cucumber, onion and tomatoes in a tomato base make for a cool, refreshing start.
For entrees my companion ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo with sautéed shrimp, $19.95, and I had the salmon, $18.95.
The fettuccine, one of several pasta dishes on the menu, features eight plump shrimp on a bed of creamy homemade sauce, which the waiter sprinkled with freshly ground Parmesan cheese.
The salmon is served with a spicy ginger glaze on a bed of stir-fried vegetables. Sticky white rice came in a separate dish. There's a lot of good salmon to be had in this desert community, but this is a favorite. The salmon is always pink, the sauce light yet spicy.
The menu also includes other light entrees, including the rosemary infused rotisserie chicken, crab cakes, Marseille-style bouillabaisse and ahi tuna. For those who believe heat cuts the heat, the house specialty curry is offered with vegetables, chicken, seabass or shrimps.
A particular vegetarian favorite of mine, which I've had on previous visits, is the charbroiled Mediterranean Verdura, a melange of grilled eggplant, zucchini, tomato, sweet peppers, squash and polenta.
To top off my meal, I ordered the lighter-than-air Floating Island dessert while my companion couldn't resist the chocolate fondant cake. The island is a meringue floating in a sweet sauce with vanilla and butterscotch flavors. The rich, moist cake was also a big hit with us.
Final thoughts The impeccable service and fine food served up at the Canyon Bistro make it a good choice any night. But for warm-weather dining, it's an especially good choice.
Source: Table for Two