What: Caramelized onion tart
Where: Bar Cecil, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, No. H-104, Palm Springs
How much: $14
Contact: 442-332-3800; barcecil.com
Why: It’s like French onion soup, but better.
Bar Cecil has been open for two years now—but my recent visit there was my first.
Why? Bar Cecil is the most difficult reservation to get in the valley. If you go to Open Table right now and try to get a reservation, you’ll almost certainly find no availability, like, ever—unless you’re looking at Open Table in the wee hours of the morning.
Bar Cecil only offers reservations 30 days in advance, and Open Table releases reservations each day around midnight. By the time most of us wake up, Bar Cecil’s just-released openings 30 days away are snapped up. I just so happened to be awake around 2 a.m. one morning, and that’s how I got a 6:15 p.m. reservation 30 days away.
So … does Bar Cecil live up to the buzz and the exclusivity? Is executive chef Gabriel Woo’s food all that?
I’ll leave those questions for others to answer and simply say we really enjoyed our dinner. The service was fantastic, and the vibe, much of which pays homage to British artist/fashion designer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), was fun.
As for the food, everything we had ranged from decent to the reason why we’ll definitely return to Bar Cecil: the caramelized onion tart. It’s like the best French onion soup you’ve ever had—with the caramelized onions, the pastry and the comté cheese—converted into a sharable, gorgeous appetizer. At $14, in 2023, the price is downright reasonable, too.
If you don’t want to be stalking Open Table at ungodly hours of the morning, and/or you don’t want to wait 30 days to visit Bar Cecil, you can show up (preferably a little before the restaurant opens) and pray for a last-minute cancellation or an open bar seat. Whatever you do, if you get in, be sure to order the caramelized onion tart.