Friday, March 25, 2011

The Venue Sushi & Sake Lounge (Exotic Mixologist Too!)

There is a new joint in town - The Venue Sushi & Sake Lounge.  Lounge, sushi, sake?  My curiosity was aroused enough to sneak in (yes, I said sneak, for it is located next door to one of our favorite haunts - Bellini) and give it a try.

The sleek interior seems more LA than Palm Springs, the music more disco than Asian, and the staff definitely transplanted to the desert.  Young and hip servers that are knowledgeable, with just the right amount of friendliness, are there to guide you through the experience.  The Mixologist, Lucky, is right on the money with his luscious concoctions.  Master Sushi Chef Engin Onural is young, talented, ambitious and in it to make your experience personal.

After Lucky assisted with my drink selection, which was a surprisingly difficult task given the extensive exotic drinks, sake and beer lists, I settled on the Emerald Dragon, a special drink that was dreamed up in honor of St. Patty's Day.  (Gotta love a Sushi Lounge that celebrates St. Patty's Day.)  Emerald Dragon in hand, I began to wonder if this was a drink I could replicate in the comfort of my home.  Cucumber, lime, rum based orange wine (who knew) and honeydew melon offer delicate layers of flavor to my palate.  Surprisingly refreshing, and not too sweet, the perfect drink for a March afternoon in the desert.

For a first dining experience at The Venue, I suggest the Omakase (Chef's Choice) for $45 per person.  It's a great way to try the dishes and have a completely personalized experience.  Our first course was a light miso soup with tofu, enoki mushrooms, spring onions and seaweed.  This is was the perfect way to wake up one's tastebuds  as it is the perfect balance of flavors and texture.

Second Course consisted of thinly sliced cucumber, micro greens, yuzu, blackberry (genius flavor addition), tomato, carrot and sesame seeds.  Fresh flavors with new combinations - I am in heaven.

The Venue Roll  - third course and our introduction to Chef Engin's sushi talents.  Simply delicious!  Spicy tuna wrapped in nori, seared salmon, micro greens, tabico and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  Hot, cool, textures galore - this is a winner!

Bosphorus - The Fourth Course.  Rather intimidating name for a sushi roll, but Bosphorus lives up to the chef's Turkish heritage.  Shrimp tempura, crab meat, and avocado wrapped in nori and graced with Escolar on the top.  Escolar has moved to being one of my favorite sushi/sashimi options due to this tasty roll!

Seems like this Omakase meal should be ending about now, but it's not as the fifth course is placed before me.  Spicy Tuna Cocktail, Chef Engin's version of Tuna Tartar, is brought to the table.  The presentation is stunning!  Tuna Tartar served over cucumber salad with yuzu and a hint of sesame make this a perfect dish.

Sixth course.  Shrimp Sushi, simple and beautiful presentation.  Yum!

Mochi Ice Cream completes a perfect meal and perfect afternoon at The Venue!

Make sure the next time you are in the mood to try something unique that you head to The Venue.

The Venue Sushi &Sake Lounge
73111 El Paseo (Located in The Galleria)
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Lunch & Dinner
Pet Friendly Patio


  1. Beautifully and deliciously written, Christy.

  2. He is the king of gluten free sushi too !!!

  3. Just walked past this place this morning on my daily stroll and wondered about it, thanks for the report, sounds great!