The New and Improved Catalan Opens

How do you improve on perfection? I’d say a Palm Springs Valley first—like placing a whole roasted suckling pig on your menu—would do it. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I’m so happy to report that one of my favorite Rancho Mirage eateries—Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine—has reopened for business after its August hiatus. But rather than return from their well-deserved break with nothing different to show for it, amazing Chef Drew Davis, his wife Cynthia (as gregarious as she is gorgeous inside and out), new general manager Aaron Peverieri, bar manager Cory Como, lead server Kiersten Hoetger, and the restaurant’s entire expert staff have opted to offer many an innovation on their menu—including the aforementioned piglet. But more on that later, dear readers.

The goal behind this reimagining of Catalan, which includes subtle changes to the dining room’s already elegant décor, is to make it more accessible, more family-friendly, more rustic, more in line with a traditional Spanish hacienda. The truth is that so many items are making their debut at Catalan that to list them all is impossible. There’s something novel in virtually every category, starting with cocktails, where Drew, Cynthia, and Cory wish to place emphasis on specialty drinks featuring house-infused liquor, such as the Cucumber Collins (gin + cucumber = ultimate freshness) or the Matador, a Manhattan made with whiskey barrel-aged in-house for 42 days.

To name a few other of Catalan’s most exciting additions, I’d start with the sharable Famed Imported Ibérico Ham (known as the finest ham in the world by connoisseurs, and available in three, five, or eight ounce portions). Melt. In. Your. Mouth. Seriously! Then I’d move onto the vegan Marinated Spanish Mushrooms, one of eight options on the Chef’s Mixed Tapas Plate. Habitués will be happy to hear that the Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Livers are back by popular demand after a season’s absence. And regulars as well as newcomers will devour the delectable new Catalonian Seafood Stew, which bursts forth with fresh fish, prawns, clams, calamari, chickpeas, leeks, tomato, and herbs in a saffron broth. If someone at your table doesn’t order this dish upon your next visit, you’re doing one another a disservice. Yes, it’s that delicious!

And now, for the star attraction on this fall menu: The Family Style Suckling Pig. The prerequisites are that you be a minimum of six people, and that you make a reservation for it 72 hours prior. What you’ll get in return is a scrumptious, 10- to 13-pound whole cochinillo roasted on a spit in a special oven in Catalan’s courtyard and served to share with three sides (newly available are the Braised Tuscan Kale, Roasted Local Beets, and Shaved Sautéed Brussels Sprouts). Potter and I are looking for a fun foursome to join us for this fabulous feast. Any takers? Drop us a line. And in the meantime, go to www.catalanrestaurant.com to discover all the tremendously tantalizing tastes this talented couple are waiting to taunt your taste buds with.