What: The creamy coconut cake
Where: John Henry’s Café, 1785 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
How much: $8.50
Contact: 760-327-7667; johnhenryscafe.com
Why: The ice cream pushes it over the top.
The website for John Henry’s Café calls the restaurant “the best kept secret in the desert”—and even though the place has been around for more than 30 years, and is consistently busy, there paradoxically may be some truth to that statement: I drive by John Henry’s no less than several times per week, but for some reason, it’s one of those places that doesn’t come to mind regularly when I am considering a nice night out.
On my part, this is a shame: John Henry’s is a fantastic place for good food, top service, great cocktails and an old-school Palm Springs vibe.
On a recent visit, we couldn’t get a seat on the lovely patio, so we sat inside. My chop-chop salad ($7.95) and veal scaloppini, marsala-style ($23.95), were both delicious. However, none of those dishes wound up being the highlight of the night—and in fact, we almost didn’t order what became that highlight.
Toward the end of the meal, someone mentioned how amazing the creamy coconut cake was, and we debated whether to order a piece for the table to split. Most of my companions decided against it, but my friend Brad and I were curious, so we decided—after originally telling our server we weren’t having dessert—to get a piece and have a couple of bites; I’d then take the rest to go.
The cake was perfect—soft, perfectly sweet (but not too sweet) and delicious. However, the coconut-pineapple ice cream was what made the dish truly special: It was one of the tastiest ice creams I’ve ever had. I was pretty stuffed after the salad and the veal, but the ice cream was so fantastic that I didn’t want to stop devouring it.
This cake helps show why John Henry’s is consistently busy—even if the restaurant does, in some ways, remain a “secret.”