So I found it very amusing when the Cute Gardener and I went to the desert for a friend’s birthday party last weekend and had a quintessential case of desert déjà vu while dining at Europa Restaurant in the charming and quaint Villa Royale resort in Deepwell, which remains one of my favorite non-disturbed neighborhoods in Palm Springs.
Over enormous Hendrick's gin martinis, the déjà vu continued with the meal because Europa represents an ambiance that is customary to old school valley cuisine. There are certain characteristics of this culinary genre like expensive classic dishes from the archives of a glamorous yesteryear perpetually served and rarely updated for the times, dim golden lit living room type settings, the excessive usage of seasoning and sauces, beefed up manly cocktails and the last bastion of above average service.
For dinner I had the tipsy Sardinian pasta. True to its moniker, it started out looking really good: a hearty pile of linguine sauced with a saffron cream vodka sauce that was surprisingly spicy and large meaty shrimps and scallops. But as the dish had time to sit in the sauce and get drunk it turned loose and greasy, as sots tend to do and became a little too much. There was also something off about the scallops texturally to the point of not being finished off by the CG who never leaves anything left on my plate untouched.
His risotto was very good in my opinion, full of mushroom flavor and made with quality Arborio rice. I am used to chefs in Los Angeles naming plates “risotto” and then serving glorified pilafs or other versions of less starchy rice.