Estelle Shanley The Desert Sun
November 29, 2016
Much has changed about this European restaurant and yet, much remains the same. Two years ago, owner and maitre’d Jean-Claude Constant saw an opportunity to expand, enlarging dining capacity to 74 seats inside and outside on a noisy sidewalk patio that catches all the bustling action of downtown Palm Springs.
While dining on French-Belgium cuisine, the patio provides a ringside seat for people watching in an unrivaled setting.
While Pomme Frite has expanded, so too has the kitchen, adding chef Stacey Hawkins, who came from the award-winning Desert Sage Restaurant in La Quinta. Although the menu has not changed significantly since it opened seven years ago, the new emphasis on presentation has added to the dining enjoyment.
Picture if you will an appetizer of escargots (unnecessarily listed as “French imported” snails), nine in a serving for $10. An imaginative serving of generously-buttered seasoned snails arrives served in a cone of a scooped-out fresh baguette. To enhance the presentation, a generous helping of perfectly mashed potatoes accompanies the appetizer, rendering it much more than a starter course.
Hawkins’ arrival coincides with the introduction of three prix fixe menus for $29.50 and $39.50.
These complete meals include wine.
Owner Monsieur Constant is Belgian, and Pomme Frite offers a mix of French and Belgium food, although any discerning gourmet will be hard pressed to define the difference.
A steamer pot of black mussels ($18) is prepared in a saffron or lemongrass broth, or in garlic and cream. For mussel lovers, choice of preparation is difficult but all are superb.
The Flemish-style beef stew made with prime beef is a wonderful dish and appropriate for the autumn months. Reigning supreme are the perfectly deep fried pomme frites. We also recommend the steak and frites salad, a delightful change of pace for $20.
Desserts here are marvelous, beautifully presented and quite French, except for the Belgian chocolate mousse, a stunning finale to a great meal.