Johannes Cosmopolitan Cuisine offers lunch, lower prices, specials
By Maureen Daly
Johannes Cosmopolitan Cuisine
196 S. Indian Canyon Drive,
Palm Springs, CA
Hours: Dinner begins at 6p.m., Monday through Saturday, lunch served 11:30a.m. to 2p.m. on Friday and Saturday only.
||(out of 4)
Special to The Desert Sun
December 22, 2000
RESTAURANT: Johannes Cosmopolitan Cuisine, now in its second season in downtown Palm Springs, operates under the direction and perfectionist scrutiny of owner Johannes Boucher, culinary entrepreneur and chef extraordinaire.
BACKGROUND: Three important major changes are evident this year, starting with this new policy statement by Boucher: ''I did not want to have a destination restaurant where customers came for special occasions or just once in a while. I wanted a place where people who enjoy good food could come often, find wide variety and reasonable prices.''
Though the superb quality of the food has not been sacrificed, there have been menu changes and a general adjustment of prices so that full dinner entrees now range from $19 to $29. Many diners are tempted to order more than one course. Thus, an average luncheon check at Johannes is $15 to $18 and dinner checks average $35 to $40, both figures without liquors.
And the second gold-star change: Luncheon is now served here on Friday and Saturday only, days when business folks may well merit a special lunch, or Saturday – an opportune day when many other deluxe restaurants are not serving lunch.
Customer favorites out of nine midday appetizers are curried carrot and potato cream soup with chives and croutons, $7; and an endive watercress salad with grapes and Asian pear, blue cheese and crispy wild boar bacon, $10. We recently savored one appetizer as a complete lunch, with fresh table breads: Washington Penn Cove black mussels steamed in coconut and coriander, $10, in a broth rich with flavors of the sea, plus ginger, garlic and pink chilies.
OUR THURSDAY NIGHT AFFAIR: This is the third interesting innovation at Johannes, a special prix fixe, once-a-week menu, changing in focus each month. Currently featured is an Austrian Dinner, $45 without wines, five courses in all, with entree choices of salmon trout fillet, roasted root vegetables and herb cream sauce or a rich veal stew in tarragon mustard sauce, carrots, green peas and potatoes. Dessert is Tyrolian winter bread pudding, vanilla sauce and housemade chestnut ice cream.
The regular menu is not available on these Thursday nights. Reservations are strongly suggested. For future monthly affairs, Johannes promises other five-course menus, striving to keep the price at $45, featuring all-fish, Asian or Italian specialty evenings, and other dining adventures.
Thus three major changes: Lowering of all-over prices; luncheon now served every Friday and Saturday and special menu, five-course Thursday Night Affairs, with an Austrian Dinner featured until the end of December.
DINNER: Served Monday through Saturday, with inside and terrace dining for up to 50 against a sophisticated sunny background of tangerine walls, pristine white linens and table vases in cobalt blue with tiny, fresh flowers. A full bar here, courteous informed service, and an open stainless steel kitchen to spotlight chef Johannes and sous chef Neftali Gonzalez hard at work on the ample menu – nine appetizers, same number of entree specials, plus evening specials and an enticing roster of housemade deserts. And what a range of appetizers, from an $8 roasted beet and grapefruit salad with roasted peanuts, toasted coconut and Thai vinaigrette, to a superb $19 French duck foie gras with pineapple confiture and other intriguing complementary additions.
Outstanding entrees include Scottish salmon with lobster mashed potatoes, $27; Australian lamb rack, $30; rare duck breast with pea shoots, braised onions, caramelized apples with star anise Chile plum sauce, $13; and many other choices. And the offbeat triumph of the entire menu, just $24 for crunchy hot and fork-tender wiener schnitzel accompanied by potato pancakes, a few greens and cranberry jelly – chef Johannes at his best.
Source: Table for Two