This is more than a room with a view.
Executive Chef Cale Falk and Bar Manager Javier Santana have combined fine food with handcrafted beverages as part of the newly renovated and renamed Vue Bar & Grille at the Indian Wells Golf Resort.
The innovative craft style restaurant focuses on local produce, sustainably raised meat and poultry, fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine, under the guidance and fresh inspiration of Falk, who had been sous chef here for the past three years.
“Vue was one of two names under final consideration for the new restaurant,” says Scott Winant, food and beverage manager. “The (Indian Wells) City Council loved the name because of the great views from everywhere in the clubhouse.”
New renovations include glass dividers that separate the restaurant from the new gastro-pub that features top local craft brews, notably Saint Archer out of San Diego. A premium selection of California and west coastal wines are featured in a temperature-controlled wine room. A new bar menu has been carefully designed to complement both craft beers and quality wines.
The former private dining room is now a sushi bar offering sushi, sashimi and a variety of rolls and hand rolls (California Roll pictured above) led by Sushi chef Akio.
Cocktail No. 1: White Linen
Barkeep Javier Santana created several craft cocktails to pair with the food tasting, sharing the ingredients and thought behind each, starting with White Linen, a craft house specialty, made with Bombay sapphire, Le Germaine, lemon juice and a cucumber slice. The cocktail was light, dry and fragrant, and actually reminded me of White Linen perfume.
“The idea (of house crafted cocktails) is to craft fresh flavors that will make you think of the Coachella Valley,” said Santana, who was born and raised here, but whose bartending training took him to New York, Chicago and San Diego.
“Just as the craft beer movement began in San Diego, it is also becoming known for craft cocktails,” he said. “With the White Linen, I pay homage to Rene Dominguez, who invented the cocktail.”
White Linen was paired with Falk’s blue crab cake served with a segment of ruby red California grapefruit, radish in a Yuzu emulsion.
Cocktail No. 2: Koyo
Another new cocktail experience was the “koyo,” made with Junmal sake, Dubonnet rouge, a splash of Cynar (a bitter Italian artichoke liquor), yellow chartreuse, and Pavan. It had a soft mouth feel with nice syrupiness to it.
Matched to the koyo cocktail was a Kale and Quinoa salad with pomegranate and almonds on sliced persimmon with a fig balsamic vinaigrette. The red pomegranate seeds nestled in the green kale made a very holiday-festive dish; lots of texture and light, fruity flavor.
Cocktail No. 3: Ward 8
A 1920s classic prohibition era cocktail called Ward 8 was crafted with Blaton’s bourbon, fresh orange, lemon and grapefruit juice – a la Coachella Valley – with house made grenadine for a tangy, flavorful cooler.
With this, Falk presented a Diver scallop with bok choy, Yuzu puree and fennel confit with puffed black rice in sea urchin emulsion. The black rice was light giving an added crunchiness and nutty flavor to the dish.
Falk described his next dish as a “deconstructed chowder” with a filet of poached sea bass, a handful of steamed Manila clams, pork belly, boiled pee wee potatoes, and baby white heirloom carrots atop a rich chowder base.
“All our seafood is sustainably harvested,” he said “Our Pacific swordfish is line caught off Catalina.”
Cocktail No. 4: Manhattan de la Louisianne
Manhattan de la Louisianne, or New Orleans style was concocted with High West rye whiskey, Italian vermouth, Benedictine, a splash of Absinthe; Peychaud’s bitters with an orange twist.
Paired to this cocktail (pictured at left) were rare slices of New Zealand lamb loin and roasted beets on bed of sour cherry wild rice confit with a mouthful of pistachio brittle, giving a sweet crunch to the dish.
The dark rich flavors of bourbon, orange honey and bitters complimented the tender lamb with beets and sour cherry.
The courses were also paired with wines – a blended sauvignon blanc by Available; and a J Phelps cabernet sauvignon.
Vue Bar & Grille at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, 44500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (760) 834-3800.