Tucson short report + questions
We had another nice dinner at Primo last week: a too-salty Saltimbocca; a chewy duck breast; perfectly cooked halibut; great desserts. Dinner at Acacia was a bit disappointing: the cioppino and halibut flavors were muddled; the filet mignon was even less flavorful than most (my daughter always orders it, which I blame on childish taste buds). Next on our list: Vivace and Jano's. Does anyone have any recommendations/warnings before we go? TIA!
Our favorites are North, Bistro Zin and Wildflower, all owned by the same group. North has the best soups ever, and that includes NYC, London and Paris! Vivace is fine, and yes, I do like the penne dish. Rendezvous serves French comfort food; quite good but in somewhat depressing surroundings.
I second the comments on Vivace. It's our favorite restaurant, and the penne with cheese and sausage is great. My wife and I share it with a salad or appetizer as a first course and walk out feeling very comfortable. My best friend likes the dish with pine nuts added--the kitchen is happy to accommodate--but all the nuts do is ruin an excellent dish!
Another great Vivace dish is the seafood soup. In a tomato broth are perfectly cooked shrimp, scallops and fish (and maybe other fruits from the sea.) I think it's served over pasta, but I like it without.
Janos is a truly great special occasion restaurant. Amuse bouche and gifts from the kitchen--several after the anniversary dinner we enjoyed a few years ago--only add to the pleasure of a great meal served perfectly. Bring your checkbook, though, as Janos is NOT inexpensive. The last time I was there some entrees had crept into +$40 territory, which is expensive anywhere and very expensive for Tucson.
P.S. Next to Janos is the J-Bar, also owned by Janos Wilder. Less expensive and authentic Mexican food. I'm not a huge fan, but it's more than good food. J-Bar runs some summer specials, and Janos may, as well.
I've been eating at Vivace for years and my favorite dish still after countless samplings is Danny's Penne with Sausage, Fontina, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. It is the ultimate in comfort food. Share it as a first course so you can try other things. There is nothing on the menu that is less than wonderful.
Been a while since I've dined at Janos, but again, I doubt you could wrong with anything. Specials of the Evening? Ask and Trust your waiter. They know. Happy eating.