For too long, Palm Springs has been more about camp than it has been cool. But that’s started to change over the past few years — many thanks to the city’s full embrace of its mid-century heritage and the introduction of hotels such as The Ace and The Saguaro. Now you can add Workshop Kitchen + Bar to desert’s renewed classy and cool quotient. This American-fare restaurant, which specializes in dishes and drinks based on ingredients grown and grazed within 100 miles of Palm Springs, has upped the ante for all other eateries in the area.
You know you’re in the right place when you enter through the courtyard and into the industrial hanger-like dining room. It’s cement chic, with a communal table running the length of the restaurant and incredibly private banquettes for when you’re looking for a more exclusive, intimate experience.
The concepts of “small-plate” and “farm-to-table” dining have almost become cliché in the restaurant world, and Workshop’s menu is heavy with both. But for some reason it still feels fresh here. Maybe its because so many of its neighboring restaurants seem to still be catering to the “Howard-Johnson’s,” “tiki-tiki,” “do-I-get-an-umbrella-in-my-drink” crowd.
Speaking of drinks and clichés, this place has a bar menu “to die for.” We couldn’t get enough of the Palm Springer — a vodka, pineapple juice, grenadine, and bitters drink that they describe as “similar to the kiss of an ex-lover…only without the early-morning awkwardness and wayward feeling.” And if you’re gonna do small plates, you might as well do it right. The octopus carpaccio is, for good reason, a favorite — along with duck-fat fries. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll follow that with an amazing beet salad and, wait for it, a 30-oz rib-eye steak that’s so delicious and filling that you might think you’ve died and gone to heaven — or, at the very least, retired in Palm Springs.
Workshop Kitchen + Bar (760) 459-3451 is located at 800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA.