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Wally's Desert Turtle Restaurant Review: For nearly 40 years, Wally’s Desert Turtle has been a crown jewel in the desert dining scene. Wally Botello, founder of the Velvet Turtle chain, started the restaurant in 1978, and his son now oversees the establishment. Chef Richard Pelz stays true to Wally’s roots with a menu of traditional fare punctuated with a few contemporary dishes, ingredients and techniques. The menu is updated frequently and is dependent on what Pelz can procure from his local sources. Classic starters, such as escargots, caviar and oysters on the half shell, are dominant, alongside more current favorites such as bruschetta and carpaccio. Entrées, like classic calf’s liver, won’t likely appeal to many under age 60, but the pillow-like gnocchi with tomatoes, basil and a dusting of pecorino cheese has a more universal appeal. The wine list offers a heady 200 options. Desserts have an old-school familiarity, from the moist chocolate soufflé to the baked Alaska. Although ties and jackets are no longer required, Wally’s Desert Turtle still caters to an older, country club set who prefer jewels to jeans.