What: The Merguez lamb sausage
Where: Cuistot Restaurant, 72525 El Paseo, Palm Desert
How much: $9.50
Contact: 760-340-1000; cuistotrestaurant.com
Why: It’s affordable and delicious.
A round of applause, please, for the bar menu.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to a restaurant and eschewed the main dining room in favor of the bar—and as a result, presumably had a superior experience while saving a few bucks to boot.
My most recent amazing bar-menu experience came at Cuistot, the much-loved, longstanding French restaurant at the western end of El Paseo in Palm Desert. The hubby and I had stopped in for the restaurant’s Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week drink, an amazing (and gorgeous) gin-based beverage called the Aviation, so we headed for Cuistot’s bar area—cleverly named BARcelona. We were a bit peckish, so we decided to also get a small bite from the BARcelona menu. Our choice: the Merguez lamb sausage.
The sausage wound up being so delicious that we had to talk ourselves out of getting a second order. The reddish meat was impeccably flavorful—slightly spicy and pleasantly earthy. My only quibble is that the menu said the dish came tzatziki; it would have added a delightful creaminess, but it was nowhere to be found. On the plus side: The arugula beneath the sausage, doused with lamb jus, was no mere garnish; it was also delicious. We devoured every bit of it.
Bonus: From 4 to 6 p.m. in the bar, Cuistot also offers a happy hour menu. From that menu, an endorsement within an endorsement must go to the homemade pate, which was an utter steal at $9.50.
It was an amazing experience: The food, the drink, the affordable prices, and the conversation with Fernando the bartender were all impeccable.
Another round of applause, please, for the bar menu!