Catalan

Chef Drew Davis may have created delectable dishes for the likes of President Bill Clinton, rock star Billy Joel, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and rap and pop royalty duo Jay Z and Beyoncé, but since the spring of 2012, there’s no place this culinary wunderkind would rather be than right here in the Palm Springs Valley’s Rancho Mirage, in the kitchen of his very own eatery, Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine, on Highway 111’s Restaurant Row.

It had been a while since I’d checked in with Drew—or with his beautiful wife Cynthia and father/business partner Mark, both of whom work the front of house while the master chef (a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who’s toiled in both New York and Los Angeles) slaves over the hot stoves—so I decided to visit the trio soon after they reopened following summer hiatus.

While the restaurant’s physical space has been renovated to accentuate the modern yet rustic feel diners have come to know and appreciate, the biggest and best change is in the menu, which hews closer to its Spanish roots than ever before. What hasn’t changed is Davis’ devotion to using only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients he can get his talented hands on.

The result is a menu that is so diversely gorgeous/gorgeously diverse that nobody will leave the table hungry or dissatisfied with their choice of small plates or salads, sides, pasta, or large plates. And don’t forget to start with something for your party to share—may I suggest the House Marinated Mediterranean Olive Jar or the Spanish Meat plate? In addition to all its a la carte selections—have I mentioned the killer Paella, one of the best I’ve ever tasted?—Catalan rolls out quite the welcome mat with authentic traditional tapas, signature cocktails, an impressive wine list, and a fantastic Three-Course Chef’s Tasting Menu titled “Taste of the Mediterranean” that has a plethora of options priced between $19.95 and $24.95. It’s available all evening Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and all night every night in the bar. Add any wine by the glass for only $5.00!

It should also be mentioned that Catalan features live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings…and that on Wine Wednesday’s, vino by the bottle is half-price in the dining room as well as in the adjacent Boqueria Bar.

I’ve also just found out that on Wednesday, November 18, the Davises will host a Wine Dinner featuring the Wines of the Mediterranean. A 6:30 p.m. five-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, with paired wines and guest speaker Marcos Mizzau, is $79. For complete offerings and wines, and to make reservations, please visit www.catalanrestaurant.com. Although I was just there, this deal might prove too good to resist. Here I go again! There’s just too much good stuff going on at Catalan for me to stay away for long…

Catalan Restaurant Rancho Mirage