JEM Steakhouse Offers New Dishes With Pan-Asian Influence

Spotlight 29 Casino restaurant keeps signature steaks, favorite sauces intact

JEM Steakhouse's seafood offerings include a new seared ahi with scallops – a dish that definitely has a Pan-Asian appeal.

Pamela Bieri


JEM Steakhouse is the classic, upscale dining experience at Spotlight 29 Casino, known for its dramatic winged, retro-style entrance.

Spotlight has the look and feel of Las Vegas circa 1956, but more intimate and with attentive service.

Our table was team-served by Justina Ramirez and Rosa Sotelo -- and décor that is also a subtle, updated version of mid-century modernism: Dove gray walls, white palm frond chandeliers, lots of reflective beveled mirrors and dark charcoal accents. High-back booths around the perimeter offer private venues while throughout the room, each linen-clad table sparkles with amber glass candles and wine glasses.

JEM opens the fall season with several new dishes that reflect a Pan-Asian influence, while keeping its signature steaks and favorite sauces intact on the menu. Mexican-born Chef Dario Canizales trained in the Coachella Valley, first at a Chinese restaurant and later under French Chef Frederick Nail, then at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage. Canizales hones his Asian and classical culinary skills at JEM.

What's for Dinner

One new dish, the Caribbean grilled jumbo shrimp appetizer, is served on a rectangular dish with three large butterflied shrimp atop crispy coconut polenta cakes. A pineapple mango with ginger and lime salsa tops the shrimp while a contrasting creamy chipotle aioli was piped along the bottom of the dish.

The new Pear Salad arrives with slices of chilled poached pears fanned over a bed of baby field greens sprinkled with candied walnuts and shaved red onion. A light kiwi-pear vinaigrette brings the flavors together.

JEM’s seafood offerings include a new seared ahi with scallops – a dish that definitely has a Pan-Asian appeal. Layers of tender ahi, quickly pan-seared and blackened on the outside, are presented with a mound of Jasmine rice topped with julienne vegetables with an orchid nestled in between. The plate is drizzled with soy-glazed Yuzu sauce while a small cup of soy and ball of green wasabi is offered for a spicier dipping sauce.

One of the classic dishes is the USDA Choice Filet Oscar (pictured right). This generous tender medallion comes grilled to order topped with a melt-in-your mouth bite of crab leg all gently ladled with Béarnaise sauce. A decoratively piped mound of garlic mashed red potatoes and hand-trimmed grilled asparagus make this quite a bargain for a steakhouse experience.

Most steakhouse dishes are a la carte. But you can order more sides if you like: Creamed spinach, saffron rice pilaf, JEM steak fries, and so on.

A Cajun pork chop, veal chop Milanese, rack of Australian lamb, and chicken Francaise round out the meat and poultry offerings at JEM. Several pasta dishes include a rigatoni de Manzo that comes with chopped filet mignon; a lobster and shrimp on fettuccini with Arrabbiata sauce; and classic chicken fettuccini Alfredo, or add shrimp for an additional cost.

Save Room for Dessert

A half dozen sumptuous choices include a warmed chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, house-made carrot, New York style cheese and ricotta cheese cakes, plus an ultra-rich Grand Marnier crème brulee. Generous scoops of chocolate, strawberry or vanilla ice cream are also available.

A full bar with hand-crafted cocktails, well and premium liquor, draft and bottled beers and a wide selection of wines are available.

JEM Steakhouse at Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, opens at 4 p.m.; (760) 775-5566.

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