Owned and operated by Chef Johannes Bacher, an Austrian man who took to cooking at a young age and eventually found Palm Springs after stints on cruise ships and in several major hotels, Johannes Restaurant occupies a quiet corner on South Indian Canyon Drive and although featuring Organic local Produce and an outdoor patio like much of his competition little else about the experience resembles what one might consider ‘typical’ of the area.
Self described as serving “Modern European Cuisine” from “The Eclectic Chef,” a pair of descriptors that each seem regressive in an era where various Ethnic styles are widely embraced everywhere from Salem to San Diego, it was just prior to a 7:30pm reservation that seating was offered in the warmly lit confines of Johannes’ primary dining room, the crowd a bit older than that found elsewhere in town and also more sophisticated in terms of dress.
Upscale but without pretense, a small bar looking in on the kitchen available for walk-ins and Happy Hour Specials daily, it was after sitting for a few moments that a middle-aged female server presented the Autumn Menu in addition to a few daily specials and although several items including Crispy Duck and Pretzel Crusted Pork all were tempting it nonetheless seemed foolish to ignore the Chef’s heritage when eventually faced with a decision, the three course meal preceded by thin slices of Baguette paired to a housemade spread of Garbanzo Beans, plenty of Herbs and Avocado.
Fitting the “Modern European” claim by presenting even his most classic recipes with a creative twist, the Cheese Spaetzeln pairing tender housemade Dumplings with a duo of melted Cheeses plus a tangle of crispy Onions and fresh Arugula, it was with the small starter quickly consumed that the meal moved onward to one of nine styles of Weinerschnitzel, the classic pounded Veal cooked golden with several traditional accoutrements plus a $4 boat of Jager Sauce featuring Wild Mushrooms cooked tender with Bacon in a Red Wine Reduction.
Avoiding the sour Cucumbers and lifeless Potatoes, the side of Sauce well-worth the supplemental charge as it helped breath a bit of life into a plate that was otherwise slight in Salt or Seasoning, it was in using the fresh Cranberry Jelly that a transition to Dessert was made, the $10 slice of Streudel everything one could ask for with crisp pastry rolled around plenty of tender Fruit, Butter and Cinnamon.