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The Falls Steak House
155 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Date of Visit: 24 August 2007
OVERALL EXPERIENCE (5 is Best)
I found myself back in Palm Springs for another long weekend of doing a lot of nothing, this time staying at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage for one night and then moving to the Hotel Zoso in downtown Palm Springs for the last two nights. I chose the Westin because it is the only Starwood property in the area and, as a Starwood Platinum level guest, I am spoiled. However, the Westin did not live up to its hype. I won't go into the details here, but let's just say that you are better off staying elsewhere. The Hotel Zoso is located right in the middle of "everything" in downtown Palm Springs.
I have heard about the "famous" martini bar at The Falls for years, so I decided to give it and its steak house a try. In short, it was a bust. First of all, the "famous" martini bar is outside of the restaurant. This means that there is no air conditioning at the bar, only fans. Why is this an issue? Well, on the day of my visit, it was almost 100-degrees outside. On top of that, Palm Springs was experiencing an unusual bout of high humidity (due to an approaching thunderstorm). This means that to "enjoy" ones drink, you sit under a fan that is moving 100-degree, 95%-humid air around. And the drink? Well, I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio wine. Take a moderately chilled bottle of wine and pour the wine into a glass that has been sitting in the above temperature for hours. The result? In two minutes, you now have wine heated to around 75- to 80-degrees. Amazing. How is the designer-moron who thought putting an outside bar in the middle of the desert is a good idea? I should have taken this as an omen to what was to come.
I will say that most of the staff were very friendly, except for the rather unpleasant bar staff. I was escorted to my table by a very attractive and friendly hostess. The table was in the center of what appeared to be the main dining room and looked out over their balcony dining area (yes, there were people dining outside....) and Palm Canyon Drive. The server arrived with menus and told me about their nightly specials. While reading the menu, I ordered a glass of 2004 Souverain cabernet sauvignon ($10.00).
The Falls wine list is reasonable and not too terribly over priced. The Souverain is a nice inexpensive cabernet. I have not drank a lot of Souverain in recent years but used to drink it a lot back in the 1970s. It is still a nice wine and a good value.
When the waiter returned, I ordered from the menu the Wedge salad ($9.00), 14-ounce New York steak ($38.00), and the medley of sautéed mushrooms ($10.00).
The Wedge was served on a chilled plate. It was one-half of a small Iceberg head of lettuce, topped with blue cheese dressing, crisp bacon bits, and grape tomatoes. The presentation was attractive and the well-chilled plate was a nice touch. Lettuce was nice and crisp but could have used more dressing. The grape tomatoes were excellent but since there were only three small half tomatoes, left you wanting more. Along with the salad came a metal basket with flat bread and one dinner roll. I tried the roll, along with the ample serving of very soft (and almost warm) butter. It was nice, but nothing to write home about.
When the steak was served, I ordered a glass of 2004 Trinchero Family cabernet sauvignon ($13.00). If you have read past reviews here, you know that I love Trinchero wine. And their new cabernet is no exception. It is a wonderful wine, with ripe berries and a deep flavor. I highly recommend it. I have never met a Trinchero wine I did not like. In fact, their sauvignon blanc and cabernet are my "house" wines.
And now for the "Falls Flat" part. The steak was served not by the waiter but by another staff member. He set the steak plate and mushrooms on the table and was gone. Normally, the plate upon which the Dead Cow is served is at least warm, if not downright hot. I touched it. It was cold. I touched the Dead Cow. It was cold. I took my knife and fork and cut into the Dead Cow. It was absolutely rare (I ordered it "medium to medium rare"). I tasted it. It was tasteless and cold. I took a fork of mushrooms. Crunchy...and cold as well. At that moment, the waiter returned and asked me how the steak was. I said, "It is undercooked and completely cold. The mushrooms are cold. Please take them back." He did so and returned a short while later with the same steak, cook a bit more, and warmed mushrooms. Although both were warm, they were still not cooked as they should have been. I gave up. I ate about one-third of the steak and some of the mushrooms and pushed the plates away. The waiter returned later and asked me if I were done. I said yes and he asked if I wanted the left-overs boxed. I said it was not worth it. He removed the plates, and then returned to ask me if I wanted desert. I decided not t press my luck and said no. The check was brought to my table. No apology for the poorly prepared food and no offer of any comp. I paid the bill and left.
Terrible bar experience, average service, inedible food, and poor follow-up customer service. These describe my experience at The Falls in Palm Springs. The low Dead Cow rating is primarily for the food quality, as other areas did rate higher. However, because of my overall restaurant experience, I cannot rate it higher.
There are lots of good to great restaurants in the Palm Springs area, including some world-class Dead Cow eateries. Visit them, and avoid The Falls.
ALL RATINGS FOR THE FALLS STEAK HOUSE, PALM SPRINGS, CA