Monday, July 2, 2007

Kalura Trattoria - Palm Springs

On Friday, Sue and I found ourselves heading out of town for a quick last minute get away to Palm Springs. Usually not the place you want to be this time of year. But the heat doesn't bother us, and we have the town mainly to ourselves as most of the tourists flock elsewhere in the summer. A lot of the touristy-based restaurants are shut down for the summer as well to reopen in October. Just as well. We crave the local hangouts.

On Saturday, we went for a drive on Palm Canyon Drive to scout out where we would eat and came across an astoundingly good restaurant. I mean this place knows what it is doing and who it is.

Kalura Trattoria, Kalura means "Desert Sun" in Italian or something like that. Owners Ignazio Battaglia, Vincenzo and Pino Amodeo come from Italy with a long experience in Italian cooking. They learned how to cook in culinary schools in Italy.

It's located by the old Theatre on South Palm Canyon Drive and occupies the space that housed the original Louise's Pantry for more then 50 years.

We took one look at the menu outside and we were mesmerized by the depth of dishes and how reasonably priced it all was. Although this was Saturday night and this place was hopping with customers, the hostess sat us immediately. We wanted to sit outside and let the water misters wash over and cool us as we people watched.

Before we even sat down, there was our waiter at our table already pouring Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. He quickly returned with the most amazing bread I have ever had. it was a basket filled with a very light crusted Italian style rustic bread that was infused with anise seed. It was excellent and went well with the oil and vinegar.

At this point I had realized that I had forgotten the camera! OK, first posting and no camera! So I will try to do the food and place justice by my bad Hemingway. OK where were we? The wine list and menus arrived as the waiter eagerly told us of the evenings specials. WOW! The specials were very special indeed. I opted for the Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana. Usually don't do this dish as in most places it tends to be way to salty, but it sounded good. Veal wrapped in prosciutto with a Pinot Grigio sauce with sauteed spinach and oven roasted potatoes. YUMMY!

Sue opted for the Penne Quattro Formagio. Also on the specials list for the evening.

The wine list was an essay in how to include all who come to the restaurant. Very high quality wine at prices for every pocket book. At least 30 bottles on the list from both California and Italy. We chose a 2003 Cabernet from Trinchero Winery, 22 bucks. Excellent value and a stunner of a wine at this price.

I really can't say enough about the wait staff--very attentive and our water and wine glasses never went dry. We both ordered the house salad and I love it when your choices are limited in a restaurant with a real chef. There was no choice of Ranch or Ranch Lite or any corn syrup infused off the shelf salad dressing. One choice and one only. It was literally the chef's salad. It came with a light balsamic vinaigrette that you could tell was hand tossed and covered every bit off fresh spring greens on the plate. My opinion is you should never have to season your food when you go to a restaurant that has a real chef / owner running it. You should experience what the chef wants you to taste. It should be up to him or her to tickle your taste buds.

The food arrived in no time. And looked picture perfect. Sue and I looked at each other and thought no way could we have stumbled into a place like this and to review it for our first entry. Sue's pasta was cooked to perfection. Al Dente or "to the tooth" as they say. With a few grinds of
parmigiano reggiano from the waiter's cheese grinder it became Cinco Fromagio. The cheese sauce was very good and the cheeses did not overpower the dish. It was light and refreshing perfect for a hot Palm Springs evening.

My dish was a great balance of very interesting combinations. At first you have the veal which has a very light gamey taste to it and can be easily over powered by the prosciutto and a heavy cream sauce. But the chef had this dish firing on all cylinders. The veal was wrapped in thin strips of prosciutto and then pan fried to a golden brown. The pan then deglaised with the Pinot Grigio and all of the tasty bits on the pan scraped up and finished off with a bit of cream and butter. At least that is how I envisioned it going down. PERFECTION! Compliments to all at this place.

Kalura Trattoria
124 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, California 92262
Open for Lunch & Dinner, Mon - Sun, 11AM - 1AM

PS I found a link that has their menu. check it out you can see what we are talking about.
http://www.palmsprings.com/dine/kalura/index.html

Remember it's just food we are talking about here. So always live, love and eat!

Ciao

Michael

1 comment:

LA woman said...

I wish I could say the same about our visit to Kulura. The wait staff was less than stellar, the food was mediocre at best even though the potions were huge and fairly priced. The grilled salmon with bowtie pasta was very fishy and oily. The rissotto was mushy yet parts of it undercooked. Other than the fellow who brought the bread to the table and refilled the water, everything else was very disappointing. We would not go back.

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