Recently, friends from the Northwest got in touch with me and told me to choose a restaurant for a birthday dinner, Spencer’s with a reputation for outstanding food and service, immediately came to mind.
Keep in mind… Spencer’s is participating in the annual Palm Springs Restaurant Week taking place May 30-June 8.
Spencer’s is nestled at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains. Valet parking is available. The restaurant occupies the space that has served the Palm Springs Tennis Club since it opened in 1947.
If you want a formal atmosphere, you will want to make reservations for inside. This particularly evening the floor-length dark blue tablecloths, fresh flowers on the table presented a very calming sense of elegance. In the background, a piano player provided a backdrop of music to dine by. (If any member of your party has a hearing issue, he maybe more comfortable seated away from the piano or even out on the patio.)
If your want a more casual and relaxed feel, request your reservations for the back patio. (When you call, they say, “We will make a note that you have requested the patio” Thus, informing you, it is not a given you will be seated on the patio for is in high demand) The dividers in the patio are equipped with both heaters and air conditioners, so there is no time of the year that you cannot enjoy the ambiance of a Palm Springs evening.
Wine and Cocktails
With over 7,000 bottles of wine in their wine cellar it is possible to explore wine from all over the world. However, there is an emphasis on California wines. When in doubt, ask their Sommelier to recommend a pairing with your meal. Spencer’s is a Wine Spectator Award Winner.
On their website they say “American cuisine with a French Pacific Rim Influence.” The menu is so diverse the most discriminating person will find something to eat.
A basket arrived with the smell of freshly baked bread. The rolls were warm and delicious. However, our favorite proved to be the lavash bread made with parmesan cheese and dash of pepper.
Sautéed Crab Cakes – Maryland Blue Crabmeat with Heirloom Tomato, Lemon-Butter Sauce, Capers and Tiny Greens
If you are looking for crab cakes with an edge of spiciness these are not it. If there was filler in them, we couldn’t distinguish it. There was no skimping on eating pure, fresh crab meat.
Beefsteak Tomato Tartare – Shallot, Tarragon, Capers, Ricotta Cheese, Parmesan Croton and Olive Oil.
This appetizer arrived and you wanted to just embrace the look of the colorful tower. The consistency was perfect for spreading on the warm bread that accompanied our meal.
My friend ordered one of the specials of the evening, scallops. He stated they were perfectly prepared and were some of the best he has ever eaten. They were served with black rice and baby bok choy.
There was not a plate that was not presented without it looking like a piece of art. It was also noted that all three of our dinners were presented on a different shape of white plates appropriate for our entrée.
Another of my guests ordered Porcini Black Angus Filet Mignon served with broccolini and Gorgonzola-sage sauce. She was delighted that it was prepared the way she liked it, but was grateful she had ordered it medium/rare for it came out medium. So check with your server to make sure your steak is presented the way you like it.
I choose a special of the day Lamb with Rosemary. The lamb chops were extremely tender. I was thrilled my favorite spice, rosemary, was there yet did not overpower the lamb. My entree was served with mash potatoes and sautéed spinach and cheese. The word to use to describe my meal: Magnificent.
Our dinner ended with the presentation of a Vanilla Crème Brulee to celebrate my friend’s birthday. Perfectly browned sugar, and huge blackberries, and mint were artistically arranged to make it the perfect ending to a memorable evening.
When you are looking for that special place in Palm Springs to celebrate, do business or relax under the star-filled desert sky, this is the place.
Reservations are a must.
701 W Baristo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Breakfast: 8-11:00 a.m. (Monday-Saturday)
Lunch: 11:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner Daily: 5:00-10:00 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 8-2:30 p.m.