Recently opened in Cathedral City sits an award – winning restaurant where the owners make some of the best limoncello I have ever tasted. If you are not already familiar with limoncello it is an Italian lemon liquor that is produced in Southern Italy off the Amlafi coast.
What began as a small catering company is now one of the busiest restaurants in the California desert. The owner’s come from Connecticut and recently made the desert their home. Tommy “Cello” as he is frequently referred to is the magician who makes fantastic lemon liquor, which is traditionally served as an after dinner drink or digestive as the culinary experts like to describe it.
The restaurant itself is located in an out – of – the way shopping center that has seen better days. But don’t let that dissuade you, this tantalizing American Bistro that was selected as one of the ten best restaurants by Palm Springs Life Magazine. Located on Date Palm Drive and Gerald Ford Drive, Cello’s invited me in with their warm, cozy and relaxing vibe that made me feel right at home. The soft lighting brings an elegance and sophistication that lacks the stuffiness that some would think. And with live Jazz providing a soothing ambience sound to the atmosphere, was just the right touch to move the night.
On the night that I was there with my wife, we were given the option to eat inside or outside on the patio, and with the cool breeze on a summer night, the patio worked just fine. After a brief conversation that included sharing a few laughs with the owners, we started off the evening with some wine and an Onion Soup Fondue that comes equipped with a deep-dark, richly flavored broth along with caramelized onions and three croutons to give it that right appeal.
When my main course arrived I can see why this place was the winner of the 2011 Restaurant of the Year award. My wife ordered the ‘Pasta of the Day” and I the “Catch of the Day” which was a mussels and prawns dish that was prepared to perfection. My wife’s Eggplant Cannelloni left little to be desired, stuffed with spinach and ricotta and served with a marinara sauce. Our friends ordered what is purported to be Cello’s signature entrée, the Chicken Caprese. It is a flavorful choice that is groomed with yellow and red cherry tomatoes along with mini fresh mozzarella balls.
For desert we shared strawberries stuffed with marscarpone and dipped in rich chocolate and a tiramisu that gives cake an added dimension with the pudding filling.
Of course, we all finished with the limoncello, which is a little bit of Italy in glass.