dish creative cuisine

“Dishing” on dish Creative Cuisine

One restauranteur’s journey to establish an identity in Palm Springs.

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants, Watch & Listen - Restaurants

dish creative cuisine

Many of those who dined at dish Creative Cuisine at its original strip mall location in Cathedral City became instantly enamored of the nine-table restaurant’s creative and unique dining experience.

You could watch the chef, Joane Garcia-Colson, as she worked through the open brick window while you awaited the multiple amuse-bouche courses that were sent out throughout the meal. From savory doughnuts slathered with compound butters instead of the usual bread basket, to ingredients, presentations, and techniques that made the ordinary extra-ordinary, a meal at dish was far from ordinary.

VIDEO: Chef Joane Garcia-Colson prepares the “new-for-fall” lamb dish – Maple and Balsamic Glazed New Zealand Lamb Chops.

When an opportunity was presented by frequent diners who owned a historic building in downtown Palm Springs (former location of Don the Beachcomber), Garcia-Colson envisioned the possibilities of a larger space — 5,500 square feet — in the thick of what she calls, “the renaissance of downtown Palm Springs and the Uptown Design District. It was growing, it was exciting, and we wanted to be a part of that.”

That was almost two years ago. Garcia-Colson still “loves being in Palm Springs,” but then adds, “we’re still getting our footing.”

The reasons are common to a very competitive restaurant city and valley. When dish launched in January 2014, Garcia-Colson wanted to continue to expand on the concept of offering a dining experience. “Food should be fun,” says Garcia-Colson. “I like to change things frequently and give people new experiences. I also want to create an environment that is not just about eating and leaving. People should relax, interact, and be connected to the whole experience of dining out.”

Opening people’s minds to this approach to dining has been part of the challenge. In addition to attracting customers who understand and enjoy the concept, finding qualified help, especially in the back of the house, has had its bumps.

“The labor pool in Palm Springs is more transient in nature than in a larger city,” she says. “Because of our alive and growing restaurant scene, there is a smaller pool of qualified help to draw from in our smaller community.”

dish creative cuisine

Grilled Brie with warm blackberry, ginger & jalapeno chutney is on the fall menu this season, an inviting starter or small plate course to share.

Garcia-Colson has made her bid to build a customer loyalty by staying open over the summer months and offering a 3-course, prix fixe menu at a reduced price. There are also nightly bar specials and the restaurant has built-in casual dining options at the bar and also offers a late-night Happy Hour from 8-10 p.m.

Guests looking for a new experience each time they dine can opt for Sunday Night at the Chef’s Table, a 10-course tasting menu paired with wine and a welcome glass of champagne. These events are hosted in the Chef’s Room, with a peep-view into the kitchen so guests can watch the meal unfold. The space seats a dozen and reservations must be made in advance.

dish creative cuisine

The Duroc Pork Tenderloin rubbed with Fennel, garlic, rosemary and Orange Zest.

The Chef’s Room is also the site for Rotating Wine Education events, “where people can really learn and ask questions and be educated about wine from a trained wine professional,” says Garcia-Colson. Patrick Bartlett of Mood Wine is a regular host to these “Wine Tasting and Tapas” events, which include small tasting portions of flavors designed to pair with the wines.

If sipping prohibition era cocktails and listening to live music from the 1920s to 1940s is your idea of a late night on the town, then dish After Dark, “A Speakeasy Bar”, may be your kind of gin joint. “This is someplace for folks looking to have great music, great cocktails, and conversation,” she says.

The experience will be offered on Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight and guests will need to reserve a seat in advance and enter with a password.

dish Creative Cuisine, 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs 92264. 760-322-7171

Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services — Follow her on Twitter: @nourishfoodsps.