Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Trattoria Tiramisu - restaurant review

The husband and I had plans to be in the Palm Desert area on a Saturday night, so we were looking for somewhere to have dinner. I talked to a co-worker who knew the area well, and one of the places he recommended was Trattoria Tiramisu. The menu looked good, so we decided to try it out.

The restaurant is tucked into the corner of an outdoor mini-mall, inset from the main street, so we ended up driving past it and then coming back to find it.

We went inside, but when the husband checked in, he was told that they didn't have a reservation for him. Hmmm, that's odd, he had called the day before to make the reservation. The restaurant was fairly small (just one room), and they didn't have any more tables left inside, but they had an outdoor seating area that was open, so we agreed to sit outside. We were led to our table and left with menus, and shortly after, we were brought some bread and an eggplant-based spread that was quite delicious.

The outdoor seating area is just outside the restaurant, with a number of small tables on what is basically the sidewalk area for that section of the mini-mall. There were hedges and space heaters and such put up to kind of off-set the area, so that was a nice added touch, and there was music piped outside as well. We were the only ones outside for a while, so we had the whole area to ourselves.

The server actually came by a little while later to say that they'd found our reservation - it had inadvertently been entered for Sunday night rather than Saturday night, so he apologized for the error.

For a starter, the husband ordered a cured beef salad, which he enjoyed. I decided on a mixed greens salad with goat cheese, which was quite tasty.

The husband had already known what he would be ordering as an entree. He had noticed on the website that on Saturday nights, the restaurant offered an entree featuring slices of roasted leg of veal, which was accompanied by rosemary potatoes and spinach. He very much enjoyed his entree.

There were a few things on the menu that looked good to me, but then the server went through the specials of the day. He mentioned a spaghetti dish with lobster and cherry tomatoes, and it just sounded too good to pass up, so I had that. It was very tasty indeed. The red sauce was very good, and the lobster pieces were plentiful and nicely cooked. I'm a fan of red sauce pastas anyway, so the extra tomatoes in the dish were a nice addition.

For dessert, the husband ordered the spumoni, which had pieces of pistachios and cherries, and the husband enjoyed that. I decided that if they were going to include "tiramisu" in the name of the restaurant, they better have a great version of that dessert, so I chose that. I've had tiramisu before, and it's usually a rectangular piece, presumably cut from a larger piece. In this case, though, the dessert came in a wide dessert glass - a sort of single serving size. Curled chocolate shavings (I think they were dark chocolate because they weren't that sweet) were plentifully sprinkled on top, and the combination of that and the lady fingers and cream was just delicious.

It was a nice evening out - it had been a bit windy earlier in the day, but it died down enough to make dining outside comfortable - and with the extra accents, it was nice to have dinner outside. We were the only ones out there for a while, before other tables were sat as well. I heard a couple of people mention that it was kind of loud inside the dining room, so they liked the relative quiet outside instead, so I found that comment to be interesting. I did notice that the dining room was busy the entire time we were at dinner. When a party would vacate their table, the table was cleaned and re-set and then another party was sat down.

And even when we were the only party outside, we were never neglected. We ended up being a bit confused because we had a few different people coming by to take our order, but our server would wander out on a regular basis to check on us, usually surreptitiously - he didn't interrupt us, but it was clear that he was available if we needed something. The busboy was prompt in clearing our dishes when we were done with a course, and we were also offered to have our bread replenished, which we ended up declining.

And this part will sound really weird, but I actually found it quite refreshing that our server in the Italian restaurant was in fact Italian. You could tell in the way he pronounced the various dishes as well as the cadence in which he spoke. He also had a very nice demeanour - helpful and knowledgeable, happy to be there, pleasant all around, and even lightly humming/singing to himself when he would wander outside.

A different server ended up taking our dessert order, and he too was very nice and also Italian. When he asked about dessert, we actually had a misunderstanding before I realized that they didn't have a printed dessert menu, but rather, he just recited the various choices.

On a side note that amused me, the co-worker who had recommended the restaurant ended up dining there that evening as well. I hadn't known much ahead of time that we were going there, so I hadn't had a chance to mention it to him, so it was funny when he walked up as we were enjoying our starters. After saying hello and chatting for a minute, he went to join the rest of his party inside the dining room.

Since the restaurant is in the mini-mall, there is plenty of nearby parking.

Overall, it was a wonderful dinner, with terrific food and great service. It's definitely a restaurant that I would return to and that I would also pass along the recommendation to other people.

Trattoria Tiramisu
72655 Highway One Eleven, Suite B6
Palm Desert, CA 92260
(760) 773-9100

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