What: The roasted suckling pig
Where: Alebrije Bistro Mexico, 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
How much: $28
Contact: 760-537-1279; www.alebrijeps.com
Why: It’s a surprisingly refined dish.
Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week brought both disappointments and delicious finds at the handful of participants I was able to visit—but my most delicious find of all was Alebrije Bistro Mexico.
It was so delicious that Alebrije was the only place I visited twice during Restaurant Week.
Alebrije went above and beyond by offering four courses—not just the requisite three—for $39, and the food showed a level of sophistication rarely found here in the Coachella Valley. A couple of examples: The octopus ceviche ($14 on the regular menu) respected the star ingredient while wowing the taste buds. The creamy poblano soup ($8) with roasted corn and caramelized peppers was a nuanced, creamy revelation, with the spice and earthiness of the pepper enhanced and improved by the sweetness of the corn.
Either of these dishes was worthy of an endorsement—but the entrée I had on both Restaurant Week visits, as well as a follow-up visit, came out on the top of my list: the roasted suckling pig. There doesn’t seem to be all that much to the dish: There’s a pile of shredded meat with onions on top; some corn puree spread around the plate; and small dishes of black beans and salsa verde, with homemade corn tortillas on the side.
The magic happens when the ingredients are combined: Once a portion of that moist, delicious pork is placed in a delicious tortilla with a little bit of each of the other ingredients … wow.
On all of my visits so far, Alebrije has been far from busy. This, folks, is a shame: This Palm Springs restaurant is offering an upscale dining experience like no other in the Coachella Valley. Go. You will be very happy that you did.