May 24, 2013 – Dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Palm Desert

With its 19 locations across the US, Sullivan’s still considers itself a casual neighborhood steak house. It might be a chain, but honestly if you did not know that you would think Sullivan’s is as unique as their food. They pride themselves on having the same quality as the bigger competitors, but with better economical price points.

I met Chef Kevin Favinger at The Palm Desert Food and Wine event back in April. I was so pleased when he invited me into to do a private tasting. He really guided me through my tasting experience and served me a lot of half portions so that I was able to try lots of great menu items.

Here’s What I Tried:

Jumbo Lump Crabcake, with Cajun roasted garlic sauce, lots of plump fresh crabmeat, and the seasonings are very buttery. These are the way crabcakes should be.

Cheese Egg Rolls, with sweet and spicy chili sauces, and honey mustard. This is a very popular dish at Sullivan’s, and I guess you have to be a cheese steak fan, me not so much.

Shrimp and Lobster Bisque, with shrimp, lobster, sherry and cream. One of my all time favorite soups, and this one lives up to my standards.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere, Swiss and parmesan cheese, so velvety smooth, with great onion aroma and flavor, truly a keeper.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad, with basil pesto, balsamic, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. This salad filled with nice soft mozzarella cheese. The dressing is just right.

Iceberg Lettuce Wedge, with vine ripe tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese and blue cheese dressing crisp. Pops in your mouth lettuce, served very cold, I loved this salad.

Fresh Spinach Salad, with hard-boiled egg, red onion, tomato, button mushrooms and bacon dressing. Very healthy, another terrific salad.

Crispy Shanghai Calamari, with sweet chili glaze, bean sprouts, cherry peppers, crushed peanuts and scallions. Sweet and pungent, good coating on the calamari and the sauce is excellent.

Oysters on the Half Shell, with cocktail sauce, horseradish and saltines, they served 2 different types of oysters, both were super fresh and tasty.

Oyster Rockefeller, with spinach, pernod, and parmesan cream. with it’s cheesy spinach topping, these are a sure fire winner.

Filet Mignon 8 oz., cooked with a nice burnt crust, almost rare, fireworks in my mouth.

Broiled Australian Lobster Tail, what a great treat this lobster tail is, I am loving this.

Steakhouse Skillet Mushrooms, nice big whole mushrooms make this side dish a true winner.

Bourbon Peppercorns, Madeira Mushroom, Béarnaise and
Gorgonzola Garlic. Each sauce had it’s own unique blend, every sauce tasted very special, it was hard to say which ones I liked best.

Brussels Sprouts, this vegetable is the new rage and they do it justice.

Creamed Spinach, what I love about creamed spinach is the texture and the full bodies rich flavor, it is a very popular side dish and Sullivan’s does it the right way,

Creamed Corn, really hearty and flavorful.

Creamy Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, these have a nice bite, but really delicious.

White Cheddar Au Gratin Potatoes, a nice change then regular mashed or baked, I would try these.

Three Cheese Mac with Garlic-Butter Crust, very filling and good.


Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream so much vibrant banana flavor, save some room for this mind shattered experience.

Crème Brule, Tahitian vanilla bean, a nice light fluffy take on this ever evolving desert.

Here are the wines I tried:

Silver, Chardonnay, Mer Soleil “Unoaked”, Santa Lucia Highlands, perfect pairing with the Shrimp and Lobster Bisque, the un-oaked quality worked great with this soup.

Talbot, Chardonnay, “Kali Hart”, Monterey, was so good with the lobster, it all its glory.

Sonoma Cutrer, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, hit the spot with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, nice acidity, not too overpowering.

Bella Glos, Pinot Noir, “Meiomi”, California, kind of odd but I liked this wine with the Crispy Shanghai Calamari, as well as the spinach salad.

14 Hands, Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, another terrific wine with the steak, as well as the onion soup.

Hess, “Allomi”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, the bourbon sauce on the Steak really elevated this wine, great pairing.

Zinfandel, Four Vines, “Old Vine Cuvee” CA. This wine paired great with the woodsy mushrooms and the smoke charged Steak.

The interior is upscale with lots of hard wood to enhance the steakhouse like feel. It’s got that old school smoke house vibe. Book shelves with low lights, nice wood paneling, and elegant dark table clothes. This could be an old Wall Street establishment, with the lingering smell of boardroom cigar smoke, but only in my mind. This steakhouse is used by corporate folks, families, and young upscale types, all seeking the same enchantment, good food! For some reason here in the desert you see a lot of men in Hawaiian shirts, and ladies in short mini dresses. From surfers to golfers, Sullivan’s is aiming to please.

You can’t help but notice the high-energy kitchen; It is in contrast to the very communal attitude. It’s not like a serious, heavy steakhouse, far from being stuffy. It is fun and light, and serves great quality cuisine. Once again, without the horrific gouging prices. Definitely, my kind of place!

Sullivan’s Steakhouse
73-505 El Paseo, Suite 2600
Palm Desert, CA 92260
(760) 523-8710


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