Le St. Germain serves Paris chic cuisine in high style
Le St. Germain
74-985 Highway 111
Indian Wells, CA
Dinner 6-9 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday
||(out of 4)
Table for Two
Special to The Desert Sun
August 16, 2001
When you yearn for Paris and the chic ambiance of a restaurant taking its mission seriously with no shortcuts, Le St. Germain, opened in 1995, stands as a beacon for French Mediterranean cuisine.
Centrally located, it is convenient to at least 16 country clubs from Ironwood to Indian Ridge. This stunning dining room is an icon of true desert elegance. Tables are set with crisp white linens and generous spaces between dining parties to ensure privacy. This is a haven for savoring conversation and cuisine.
Le St. Germain was the recipient of one of the Wine Spectator magazine's Restaurant Awards 2001 "Awards of Excellence." Only 2,753 restaurants in the world were recognized in this prestige publication. These wine-friendly restaurants reflect the finest wine lists in the world. Locally, Le St. Germain is known for showcasing fine French and California wines, many served by the glass.
RESTAURANT: A magnificent painting of Paris with Notre Dame dominates the dining room. Nostalgic and dreamlike, gazing at it brings you closer to the City of Lights. Call it romantic or intimate, this restaurant has what it takes to establish a loyal clientele. The ambiance is relaxing -- no open kitchen, clattering plates or music to drown out conversation.
Fine dining unfolds as soon as you are seated. Every guest is warmly greeted and seated. In this lovely setting, not just any dinner unfolds. Our server was attentive, but more important, familiar with the menu. His concern was reflected in several ways, from having our glass of ice tea replenished without asking to his recommendation for ordering the soufflé in advance.
MENU: The menu is classic, yet simply elegant with merely 11 appetizers and 12 entrees, with the addition of two specials the night we dined, one being tiger prawns, $32, and a lavish lobster salad, $18.
We delved into the menu by ordering a glass of Echelon chardonnay, $9 a glass, a refreshing way to start the evening. With some vintage music softly playing in the background, we sampled the organic greens with papaya, berries and goat cheese dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette, $7.
We went on to nibble at the crisp Parmesan basket which held baby romaine dressed with Caesar dressing, $9. And here we parted, menu-wise.
I decided to try the "Le Cafe" menu, priced at $19.95. It is in line with several other restaurants offering reduced rates for three-course summer dining. Another salad, this one served on an exquisite frosted glass plate, was ideal for a warm summer evening. The endive watercress salad with pancetta chives vinaigrette was tangy. Toned down a bit with the pancetta chive vinaigrette, it was the kind of salad I hoped they retained on the menu when the temperature starts to fall.
The half-grilled chicken with a lime ginger soy sauce was tender to the fork. Ending this with a petite pastry of lime pie was a perfect way to conclude dinner.
The second option is the Le Brasserie Menu, $23.99, which started with corn chowder and spinach with a touch of fish essence oil followed by roasted butter fish with calamata olives and a tomato and bell pepper. Dessert was a lovely apple tart.
My companion decided to try the pork tenderloin steak with garlic mashed potatoes and a summer fruit chutney and port wine. The pork was truly tender and compatible with the mashed potatoes, which were enhanced by the garlic, not overpowered by it.
We decided to save the Lake Superior whitefish with spinach, mushrooms, pommery mustard and fried leeks, $22, for next week, and the raviolis, spinach ricotta, Maine lobster and tomato herbs, $24, for a good reason.
Unfortunately our server reported they were out of the tarte tatin, so it is just one more reason to visit again this summer, and linger over those entrees plus dessert.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A desert original, perfect for a special occasion or during the summer, when you are in the market for a reasonably priced three course dinner. Those who appreciate a delightfully dramatic menu will not tire of the cuisine, which reflects the finest ingredients available. Special requests are taken seriously and served with pride.
Source: Table for Two