By Pamela Bieri
Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine, located in the heart of Rancho Mirage’s restaurant district on Highway 111, celebrates a very successful first season with its distinctive concept featuring the tastes of Spain, Italy, and California. Drew Davis, the accomplished young chef at Catalan’s helm, and his wife Cynthia, warmly welcome guests to their family-owned restaurant. Co-owned by Drew’s parents, Mark and Lecie, the Davis family has clearly taken their place in the desert’s culinary community with passion and sincerity.
The restaurant conveys the Davis’ zeal for simplicity and fine food. Drew’s seasonally-changing menu reflects a farm-to-table concept using sustainable, locally sourced products from organic produce to natural hormone-free meats and sustainably raised seafood. Signature specialties include Catalan Paella, Grilled Skirt Steak, and Branzino, a Mediterranean Sea bass. Catalan’s service staff is equally passionate and knowledgeable about the menu and the flavor nuances to each dish.
Just as the food is inspired by the Mediterranean, Catalan’s mood conveys the art and music of this region in a comfortable, unpretentious ambiance. Lofty ceilings, contemporary furnishings, and artwork, and a tree-shaded inner courtyard set its welcoming tone. You almost feel like you are in Europe while dining in the courtyard.
Drew knew early on that food would be his life’s calling. Born in Los Angeles, he set out to refine his craft at some of the country’s top restaurants. Graduating from Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., Drew went on to train with top chefs in the Mid-West, Florida, and New York. He became executive sous chef at the famed East Hampton New York’s Nick and Toni’s, and was a private chef in Hollywood before opening Catalan with his father.
Happy Hour all evening at Catalan’s full bar features a signature Sangria, house-made infused liquors, Limoncello, specialty cocktails, and a three-course “Taste of Mediterranean” menu for $19.95. Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m.; prix-fixe menu 5-6 p.m. in dining room. Live music three nights a week.
Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine
70026 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
• Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Livers & Manchego Polenta
• Roasted Fennel & Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
• Whole Roasted Branzino
• Veal Milanese
• Grilled Veal Skirt Steak
• Catalan Paella
• Salt Cod and Potato Cakes with saffron aioli
• Chorizo Empanades with sweet pepper compote
• Chocolate, Chocolate Bread Pudding
• Catalan Cream Sweet Custard with Candied Orange, Toasted Almonds
• Barolo, Ceretto “Zonchero,” Piedmonte, Italy
• Garnacha/Cariñena, Morlanda, Criança, Priorat, Spain
• Catalonian Blend, Vall Llach “Embruix,” Priorat, Spain
• Honderrabi Zuri Bizkaiko Txaklna, Itsas Mendi, Basque, Spain
• Chardonnay, Cakebread Cellars, Napa
• Gavi Di Gavi, Batasiolo, Piedmonte, Italy
• Blood Orange Margarita
• Watermelon and Mint Caipirinha
• House-made Catalan Signature Sangria
• House-made Limoncello
• Estrella Damn Inedit Beer, Barcelona, Spain