To call Wolfgang Puck the new kid on the block sounds kind of silly.
After all, he opened the original Spago overlooking Sunset Boulevard in 1982 and currently has dozens of restaurants around the country.
But here in the desert, Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar is indeed the latest addition to El Paseo’s growing list of dining hotspots.
The interior of the restaurant is similar to Puck’s other two Pizza Bar locations in Charlotte and Greensboro, NC — recycled wood on the walls interspersed with black metal in grid-like patterns — but there are clear references to its desert locale.
Brightly-colored, site-specific artwork fills the walls of the main dining room, and its hot and cool hues seem to reflect the frequent daytime/nighttime extremes of our weather. And while the chairs throughout the room are the same style as the ones in North Carolina, they have been painted to complement the desert-inspired artwork.
The menu includes a large variety of appetizers—don’t miss the San Daniele Prosciutto — salads, pastas, and grilled specialties. And, of course, 16 different types of pizza including Puck’s famous smoked salmon version.
One thing you won’t find anywhere else except in Palm Desert is “Wolfgang’s Build Your Own Sundae” dessert. A sundae cart —inspired by a similar setup Puck saw while on a trip to France — is literally rolled up to your table fully loaded with tempting options.
On a recent visit, my friend and I created our own little masterpiece: Pistachio and vanilla ice cream, with a little caramel sauce drizzled over the vanilla; lemon sorbet with a scattering of fresh raspberries next to it; and then we topped the whole thing off with some crunchy candied almonds.
But you don’t have stop there. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, two kinds of cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate chips are also available.
He may be the new kid on the block, but based on the buzz and the smiling faces throughout the dining room, it appears that Puck has adapted quite well to his desert surroundings.
Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar, 73130 El Paseo, Palm Desert, (760) 568-2700.