Reviewed by Charles Drabkin
For the uninitiated, PS Underground creates culinary journeys with unique themes. I hesitate to call it dinner theater (or brunch theater as the case may be) as that conjures up images of rubber chicken and theater in the round with actors who would rather performing “Julius Caesar” than serving Caesar Salad. This is a tumultuous evening of comedy and cabaret with a multi-course feast.
If you loved PS Underground in its gypsy incarnation, you will be ecstatic to know they have moved into a new permanent location next to Koffi South just off Palm Canyon. Although they have been running a few soft opening events, a recent Dinner Noir was a standout. The Grand Opening was Friday night in correspondence with restaurant week.
Having their own kitchen and dining room allows them much more creativity, both in the kitchen and in the “culinary adventure space”.
A Film Noir dinner, which coincided with the recent Palm Springs Cultural Center’s Film Noir festival, took place in a 1940’s night club complete with a gangster, his wife, a night club singer (his girlfriend), a gumshoe investigator and guests in period costume. The entertainment was top notch; they involve the audience just enough to not feel invasive but keep you involved in the action.
We began our evening out on the patio, with glasses of bubbles and scrumptious appetizers. The garlic cheese toast points were a favorite. As the sun set behind the mountain, the roaring fire pit created a lovely backdrop to what promised to be an electrifying evening.
At PS Underground they change up the food with every show so that the dinner matches the theme of evening. They asked me not to reveal the menu for their current show Zing! – A Broadway Bound Dinner, but I can promise you will be impressed.
Our tuxedo-clad host ushered us into the brand-new dining room where we were greeted by a full bar with specialty cocktails themed to the evening. We began our Film Noir dinner with a luscious Lobster Salad; chunks of lobster meat with crisp Napa cabbage, avocado and mango lime vinaigrette. Truly decadent. A bit of a performance ensued: some lovely singing, the gangster and his wife proclaiming undying love for one another, the gangster and his girlfriend proclaiming undying love for one another. In true Noir fashion a guy making poor choices is going to lead to trouble for everyone.
Our next course, a potato watercress potage, could have easily been too rich for our warm spring evening, but a sherry drizzle on top was a great foil to the lushness of the soup, leaving me delighted. Things continued to heat up between our ingénue and consigliere as his wife starts to become suspicious that there is more going on here then just his love of a catchy tune.
Perfectly grilled medium-rare lambchops ala Sam Spade, with black truffle mashed potatoes and red wine reduction, were the highlights of the evening. As the wife confirmed her suspicions, we began to suspect things were not going to end well for someone in the room.
The grand finale of chocolate chiffon parfait served in an enormous glass was more than I could finish, although not for lack of trying. Rich and creamy with a hint of ginger it could easily have been shared by my entire table. As the lights went down one final time it was “lights out” for not one but all three of our main characters. A Noir-worthy ending to a fantastic evening.
Dinner tends to run $85-$125 depending on the evening, plus drinks and tip, but during restaurant week they have a special for just $49. There are only a few seats left, so go online and book ASAP. Brunch is $69. If it seems expensive, please remember this is a full evening (or afternoon) of entertainment and food. All reservations are taken through their website, so book early to ensure you get a seat.
1700 S. Camino Real Ste 2
Palm Springs, CA 92264