Dressed for Success

By Lynn Lieu

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Posted December 30, 2010 in Eats

The island-themed retailer, Tommy Bahama’s is known for the most part for its resort-style clothing. But in Palm Desert, the retailer is also a restaurant and bar serving up some of the wildest concoctions of rum-infused cocktails and creative seafood dishes perfect for spending life in the slow lane.

Like its clothing, Tommy Bahama’s’ dining room is decked in the cleanest decor with a relaxing touch. A showcase for “island modern,” the restaurant’s dim lighting and fluffy pillows, available at every booth, create a relaxing atmosphere. Monkey statues and palm leaf fans add a hint of Jumanji to the mix, while a live steel drum and bongo player creates resort getaway ambiance—everything that you would expect of the retailer from one look at its print ads.

What’s unexpected is how well the clothing line does drinks and food.

With a full menu of cocktails and its own line of rum, Tommy Bahama’s’ bar is super creative from the Frost Bite (a mix of Tommy Bahama’s white sand rum, triple sec, sour mix and raspberry liquor) to the Crazy Cuban (a combination of white sand and golden sun rum, Cruzan coco rum, 99 Bananas and pineapple juice). The bar even gets creative with its classic mojitos adding even more of an island taste to the already sweet Cuban drink to create the Pineapple Yuzu Mojito, a blend of white sand rum, muddled fresh pineapple and mint, yuzu, fresh lime juice and spirits. This mojito is sweeter but still just as refreshingly light as its classic version.

Currently on the special menu is the Rib Eye Prix Fixe, which includes a 16-ounce cut of meat on the bone, an appetizer and desert. The tender rib eye is served with a red wine reduction sauce, root vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. The sauce is semi-sweet and counterbalances the potatoes well, allowing the sides to act as a palette cleanser to a flavorful dish.

Among the available appetizers for this special is the Cooper Island Crab Bisque, a surprisingly creamy soup with small pieces of crab. The bisque goes down smooth and without that funny fishy smell you get from most seafood soups. Another great sea food appetizer is the Loki-Loki Tuna Poke, a blend of Ahi Napoleon, guacamole, capers, soy and sesame oil served with island flatbread. The Ahi and guacamole in this dish blend well texturally, creating an almost salsa-like taste with the capers adding a touch of saltiness throughout. The guacamole masks the Ahi from being too fishy. But unlike tomatoes, the Ahi is more tender and soft. The flatbread is a crunchy chip that offers a different texture, preventing the dish from seeming mushy.

For dessert, the Piña Colada Cake is a large-portioned light topper to the dinner. The cake has four layers of moist vanilla cake with Myers’s Dark Rum, chopped pineapple and white chocolate mousse throughout and is coated on the outside with toasted coconut. While the description sounds daunting, the cake is actually light and refreshing.

But this is only one special available at the restaurant; also on the menu are salads, sandwiches, burgers, chicken, pasta, fish and much more.

Who knew a retailer would be so good at cooking?

Tommy Bahama’s., 73-595 El Paseo, Palm Desert, (760) 836-0188; www.tommybahama.com. 10AM-10PM every day. AE, D, MC, V.


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