Take a rustic restaurant and a not so rustic chef who takes his persona and melds it together with the setting and what he gives you is Morgan’s in the Desert. This hidden gem of a restaurant provides a winning menu from the opening taste to the end of a breathtaking evening.
Executive chef Jimmy Schmidt brought an impressive resume to Morgan's when he took over their kitchen at the legendary La Quinta Resort & Club, and the menu he has put together only adds to his long list of accomplishments. Schmidt has been honored with several awards in his 30-year career and you will taste his excellence in whichever selection you make from his menu.
Schmidt gave Morgan’s menu a great assortment of dishes to choose from starting with a beef selection that is all Prime Certified Angus and then continues with a fantastic assortment of fish and seafood dishes. Some on the notable seafood dishes include Seared Maine Diver Sea Scallops, Salmon, Lobster and Shrimp. The beef selection at Morgan's is also wide-ranging and once you take a bite from one of their steaks you will be able to taste the high quality. In addition if you want to make your steak more personalized, Morgan’s has three steak crusts, crispy parmesan, maytag blue cheese and nuske smoked bacon. To save the best dish for last, the Rack of Pistachio Crusted Colorado Lamb is cooked so tenderly it takes little effort to cut it and the pistachio crust gives a just a little texture but leaves with all of the flavor of the lamb itself. Schmidt also complimented the lamb nicely with a side of cassoulet bean ragout.
Morgan’s really knows how to kick off your meal, with a selection of appetizers that well if you don’t like anything on the list, then you just don’t like to eat. The Spice Crusted Prime Sirloin Beef Carpaccio is sliced razor thin and leaves you with nothing but flavor and is plated with a baby bella mushroom and artichoke salad. You will also find some flavorful farmer's market soup and the other choice that will really delight the taste buds is the Seared Salt and Pepper Crusted Foie that is brought together into a flavor delight by combining it with Caramelized Anjou Pear and Wild Mushrooms.
If you are looking for something a little simpler, Morgan’s made a great choice by having a cheese plate offering as a prelude to dinner. I’m not quite sure why this is not more popular with high end restaurants, but this a fabulous choice to get your taste buds going while allowing you to enjoy a wide selection of cheeses that you might not venture to taste in your everyday life.
If you are going to go with the cheese you have to know that wine is certainly a centerpiece of Morgan’s, as they give you a vast selection of wines and the assortment is matched by the variation in prices. You certainly are not locked into buying an expensive glass or bottle, as Morgan’s gives every budget a chance to enjoy a fine glass of wine and sommelier Francois Cinq-Mars is on hand to make sure that you are getting the perfect wine to compliment the perfect meal.
For those of you who prefer a mixed drink and like to try new things, Morgan’s has a great book of classic cocktails that is perfect for anyone who is not a mixologist. They provide pictures, names and of course the ingredients of almost any drink you are looking for and some you might not be looking for but you will be glad you found. If you prefer a sweet drink, take a flyer on the Mary Pickford, you will thank me later. The drinks are a great reason to come to the bar, but the atmosphere will keep you there. The bar has a great laid back feeling with couches and tables that make it a great place to hang out with a group of friends for a fun night out. The other perfect part about the bar is the piano playing of Paul Douglas. Douglas plays a great assortment of music and has the range to jump from era-to-era with song selection, and if you need a special song to complete your evening, just slide up next to the piano and he will gladly play a song of your choosing.
To finish the evening off Morgan’s has put together a creative sweets menu that will entice your taste buds. The Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream Parfait might sound a little bizarre, but if you want something to give you an endless assortment of flavors, this is the desert for you. This dessert comes out looking like a typical sundae, but if you eat correctly, it is anything but typical. The key is to take your spoon and push it all the way to the bottom of the dish, then slowly pull it straight up and take a taste. Once you taste it, you are taken from the bittersweet hot fudge, to the salty popcorn ice cream and actual popcorn pieces to the finality of the caramel, just a splendid trio of flavors to complete the evening. The other desert on the menu that will satisfy you sweet tooth while taking you on back to your youthful days is the Twisted Smores. Now this seems like a simple item at first but when it is presented to you it is plated in a much more glamorous way that you probably remember and the flavor matches the appearance.
Morgan's is a little hidden in the La Quinta Resort, but if you are looking for a place to enjoy the evening until the stars in the sky tell you to call it a night, this is the place to venture to. One last tip, if you are looking for one of the better ways to finish a romantic evening, grab yourself a drink and head outside and cozy up to one of the fire pit tables that compliment the breathtaking desert sky.
For more information on Morgan’s in the Desert, visit: www.morgansinthedesert.com
To make reservations, call: (760) 564-7600
For more information on La Quinta Resort & Club, visit: www.laquintaresort.com