The desert isn’t exactly known for fertility, unless you count date palms and wind. However, Tara Lazar and Marco Rossetti must have green thumbs, because they continue to generate growth in barren Palm Springs environs. The design-oriented owners of Cheeky’s, Birba and the Alcazar Hotel finally strayed from their contemporary compound, opening Jiao down Palm Canyon Drive in May at the corner of an Art Deco Complex called The Corridor.
The name translates to English as “dragon,” but sometimes, even fire breathing creatures can’t take the heat. Palm Springs gets brutally hot in the summer, so Jiao took a two-month respite before re-opening for fall.
Jiao’s menu changes every two weeks and primarily draws on Vietnamese and Chinese influences. In August, Lazar and Rossetti hired Ethan Holmes, who worked as chef de cuisine at Congress Austin and now oversees the culinary direction of each cheeky establishment.
Tangy Sticky Chicken Wings ($10) didn’t photograph well, but they were good, with crispy skins seasoned with Fresno chilies and scallions, plated with shaved cucumber and lettuce.
Maybe “GF” is a Palm Springs thing. Gluten Free appears all over Jiao’s menu.
We never felt the urge to try Asian food in Palm Springs, but given the goodwill Lazar and Rossetti built with Cheeky’s, we gave Jiao a shot and were pleasantly surprised by the results.