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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

IW Club Becomes Vue Grille and Bar

There’s good news for lovers of fine food and drink in the Coachella Valley: The restaurant formerly known as the IW Club has changed its name—and stepped up its game.

The restaurant, located at the Indian Wells Golf Resort at 44500 Indian Wells Lane, officially changed its name and concept on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of people came out that evening to celebrate the change at the city-owned venue, at a party that included food, cocktails, beer from La Quinta Brewing Company, and live music in the resort’s brand-new events pavilion.

Why the change?

“A lot of people had heard of (the IW Club),” said Scott Winant, the director of food and beverage at the restaurant and resort, “but the word ‘club’ gave off a private connotation. The main premise is to let everybody know it isn’t a private country club, so to speak.”

Indeed: The restaurant is open to all for both lunch and dinner seven days a week (as well as brunch on Sundays, of course).

Executive chef Cale Falk has reconfigured the menus to emphasize a farm-to-table approach, with the use of many local ingredients. Prices, while certainly not cheap, aren’t astronomical, either: Most lunch dishes are in the $15 range, while dinner entrées range from $21 to $38 (for a prime filet mignon).

I was fortunate enough to sample several of Falk’s new dishes at a private media lunch a couple of days before the grand opening, and everything we tried—including the aforementioned filet—was splendid. Other highlights included the Jamie Farms beet salad (pictured above), with “beet soil,” goat-cheese dressing and honey pearls ($15); a seabass dish with Manila clams, pork belly, potatoes, carrots and a sauce that made the plate into a deconstructed seafood chowder, of sorts ($29); and the Medjool dates with gorgonzola, apple and honey ($12).

Yum.

Winant said that Vue is hosting three different concepts under its one roof (and assorted patios, one of which will soon be covered for year-round comfort): an upscale, fine-dining area; a gastropub/bar area, featuring the craft-cocktail creations of local bar veteran Javier Santana; and a sushi bar/lounge featuring the work of sushi chef Akio Naito.

At that media lunch, I got to try some of the fish Naito was offering, and it was amazing. But that isn’t even what I am most excited about regarding the new Vue: It’s those cocktails being offered at the gorgeous bar. The Coachella Valley has been slow to catch on to the craft-cocktail craze that’s sweeping the nation, and Vue has one of the most intriguing drink selections I’ve found in the valley. Santana’s bar menu includes five different types of Manhattans, for starters; if rye or whiskey isn’t up your alley, perhaps something refreshing like the white linen is: It includes Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain, lemon and cucumber. The specialty cocktails all cost $10 or $11—or a downright reasonable $7 or $8 during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

One carryover from the IW Club days: Vue offers live music six days per week.

For more information or reservations, call 760-834-3800, or visit www.vuegrilleandbar.com.

Thai Smile Palm Springs Now in New Digs

Thai Smile Palm Springs, the popular restaurant that called 651 N. Palm Canyon Drive home for years, has finally moved to its new location at 100 S. Indian Canyon Drive.

The move into the spot at Indian Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way has been in the works since at least May; a representative back then told us that owners hoped to have the new and bigger location open by August. Obviously, that projected opening date was overly optimistic—but Thai Smile management wisely made a deal to stay in their old spot as long as they needed. In fact, only several days passed between the old location closing, and the new one opening its doors.

So far, so good at the new location: On a recent evening, the wait for takeout orders was running at least 45 minutes.

Call 760-320-5503, or visit www.thaismilepalmsprings.com for more information.

Paradiso Closes Its Doors

Paradiso, the newish Cathedral City restaurant known for its pastas and its all-you-can-eat pizza on Monday nights, closed its doors rather suddenly in late November.

Mike Ramos and Chip Yarborough opened the restaurant, at 35903 Date Palm Drive, last spring. After a summer closure during the month of August, the restaurant reopened on the Monday of Labor Day weekend, and seemed to be gearing up for the height of season. However, around Thanksgiving, everything regarding the restaurant went silent, without any explanation: Its Open Table reservation system went offline; there were no more Facebook updates; and the restaurant’s voicemail system became full and stopped accepting new messages.

If we receive further word on what happened, we’ll pass it along. In any case, we’re sad to see this locally owned spot go so soon.

In Brief

The Copa Room Palm Springs, at 244 E. Amado Road, the sister nightclub of The Tropicale restaurant, officially opened its doors with a “soft opening” and a packed house on Wednesday, Dec. 11; watch www.copapalmsprings.com for more info. … The Miramonte Resort and Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells, has named Adam Votaw—a veteran of restaurants both large and small around the world—as its new executive chef. … Here at Independent World Headquarters, we’ve been getting inundated with news releases about various Christmas Day dining options around the Coachella Valley. We don’t have space to list specifics, but chances are, one or more of your favorite dining spots will be open; that’s one of the advantages of living in an area beloved by tourists. No need to eat duck at the Chop Suey Palace here! Call or visit the website of your favorite restaurant to learn more.

Published in Restaurant & Food News