You just can’t mess with perfection and at Johannes that is pretty much what you are going to get. From the soup to the duck, everything here is a work of art and hard to mess with. The competition just doesn’t exist and all you know about good cuisine gets thrown out the window. Because at Johannes there is no such thing as good, greatness is everywhere and has been for many years. So why bother making any serious changes when they have been getting all of the best restaurant awards, including Bon Appètit, Restaurant Writer’s Association, Wine Spectator, Alaskan Airlines, Elle Magazine, Out and About, Desert Entertainer, The New York Times, Zagat, Open Table, Travel and Leisure, The Desert Sun, and Yelp for many years in the Coachella valley.
Each plate is presented as a piece of culinary art, with your taste buds in tow, I promise there will be explosions in your mouth. This is cut to the chase kind of food with premier ingredients, all in their designated areas on your plate. What’s more is that you pretty much forget any other cuisine that you have had after imbibing on these remarkable food sculptures. You will be brought back to a time when minimalism did not exist and the more the merrier still survives. What ever your pleasure in the culinary world, Johannes is guaranteed to please.
Here’s what I tried:
Hop Soup, Wild Mushroom Soup, Crème Fraiche, Chives, White Alba Truffle Oil. Creamy, dreamy, and perfect, this was a very nice start.
Corn Puree Dungeness Crab, so delightful, I could just eat this lovely soup all day.
Malayan Meatballs, Braised In A Yellow Curry Coconut Sauce, Toasted Almonds, Chives, Coconut Flakes. A delicious rendition of this glorious staple, loved it.
Smoked Idaho Steelhead Trout, Potato, Dill & Granny Smith Apple Salad, Horseradish-Grain Mustard Dressing. The presentation on this plate is worth the price of admission, and the flavors are equally as wonderful.
8 Escargots, Baked In Garlic, Bread Crumbs, Green Herb Butter. I had this last time; I think I would do another appetizer in place of this next time.
Spice Rubbed New Zealand Grass Fed Young Lamb Rack, White Beans, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Grilled Green Onions, Passion Fruit Cabernet Reduction. For the meek diner these spices might be too overwhelming, but for me it was a welcomed change on most lamb dishes.
Crispy Roasted Half Duck, Braised Red Cabbage, Polenta Cake, Orange Sauce. I just love a good duck a l’orange and their version is really a masterpiece. This was my favorite entrée item of the night; the braised red cabbage really hit a home run.
Seared Maine Scallops, Potato, Fire Roasted Corn, Leek, Shiitake Mushrooms, Wild Arugula Ragout, Black Truffle Reduction. Scallops and truffles oh my, how could you go wrong! That being said, dig into a great scallop dish.
Beef Goulash, this was their special and done in their style, it kicked you know what, but you have to like this sort of dish.
Orange Cinnamon Chipotle Chocolate Mousse, Made With Bitter Valrhona Chocolate and Raspberry Coulis. This is a very delicate mousse, but packed with great chocolate flavor.
Crème Brulee with Tahitian Vanilla Brulee. What a fabulous way to end my stellar meal.
Ruby / Noval Black, this port went great with the chocolate mouse, seeing that it is a very special port.
Tawny Graham’s 6 grapes reserve, no brainer, goes with anything chocolate.
Shoga Tini, Blue Ice Vodka, Fresh Ginger Syrup, Fresh Lemon & Apple Juice, Simple Syrup, and Candied Ginger. This was my favorite martini of the night, nice crisp coolness with a bit of a snap from the ginger.
Au Pear, Pear Vodka, Pear Nectar, French Pear Liqueur, Pear Garnish. Lots of great pear essence, which was very refreshing.
Rosemary-Tini, Sliver Tequila, Rosemary, Lemon, Simple Syrup. I just could not wrap my head around this very strong cocktail.
Triplex, Blue Ice Vodka, X Rated Liqueur Made From Blood Oranges, Mango & Passion, Fruit Juice. All you get in this martini is big orange flavors, so if you’re a fan of oranges go for it.
Sauvignon Blanc, Spotswoode, 2013, Sonoma County 72%, Napa County 28 %. You get the best of both counties in this wine and it pairs nicely with the trout salad.
Chardonnay, Rombauer, 2013, Carneros. This wine goes super well with the Corn and Crab puree; it has a nice creamy finish that cooperates with the soups luster.
Chardonnay, Stags Leap. I would pair this wine with the scallops, it is the perfect combination.
Pinot Noir, Starmont, 2012, Carneros. This is a warm and welcoming wine to be paired with the fantastic mushroom soup.
Pinot Noir, Foggy Valley, Sonoma County. Pair this wine with the Malaysian meatballs; it has a nice undertone of berries that will be great with it.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard 29, Cru, 2012, Napa Valley. This is a deep solid wine that will go great with the lamb.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Napa Valley. This wine would enhance the spicy, sweet Beef Goulash with all of its jammy perfection.
Malbec, Catena Zapata. My taste can be a little different, but the duck went well with this wine for me. I loved the duck and I also loved this wine, so it was a no nonsense combo.
Chocolate Mousse – orange cinnamon, chipotle infused chocolate mouse, with bitter vairhana chocolate, with raspberry coulis. For the chocolate lover you will never find such a great mousse, just try it!!
Crème Brulee, with Tahitian Vanilla Brulee. By far the most decadent dessert ever, with its luscious vanilla flavor and its smooth as silk consistency, a must have.
Palm Springs Life magazine must know something about great cuisine, Johannes has been voted “Best Continental Restaurant” 2013 & 2015, and “Best Romantic Dining” 2012. This magazine is the ultimate guide on where to dine in the desert.
My server was the same server as last year, Barrie. She delighted me with her smart, non nonsense service and scaled my desired menu items down to what she thought would be a better experience. She was right and I enjoyed her choices. Barrie was as engaging as efficient, which is good to know that you’ll be in great hands.
This food is not light, so leave your diets at home where they belong. Indulge in the rich Eastern European sauces and the delicate Austrian staples. Just take a bigger walk on Palm Canyon after dinner and you will feel happy and satiated after your fine dining experience at Johannes in Palm Springs.
196 S Indian Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(Last year I had my guest columnist Steve write the review, this year I am writing and dedicating this review to him, by showing me how to brand myself and my website.)