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Sep 15, 2006 02:30 PM

Anyone been to Mary Elaine's in Scottsdale lately?

Business trip next week, need to set up a great dinner with discerning clients from NY ... already heading to T Cooks later in the week ... staying at Biltmore, so need a high quality, late dinner experience within a reasonable drive. Appreciate your help!!

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  1. I have not been recently, but I remember hearing that the restaurant was getting a makeover of sorts, including a more contemporary feel and eliminating the jacket recommendation for men. A quick look at the Web site, however, suggests that either the changes have not yet occured or they are less extensive than I expected:

    If Mary Elaine's does not work out, some alternatives in the neighborhood include the following, both at 32nd St. and Camelback Rd.:



    Both are within a mile of the Biltmore. I've been to business dinners at both establishments and found the atmosphere and service appropriate for such entertaining.

    1. This is a tough one. Mary Elaine's is considered by many to be the finest restaurant in Phoenix. It is very expensive, but I have heard great things about it. That being said, I am not sure I would see it as a place to take clients. Others may disagree, but I think it might be a bit too upscale for business meetings. (Just my opinion.)

      I am trying to think about places that might please New Yorkers. It is always difficult because what we might love here in Phoenix may be seen as lowbrow to New Yorkers. That being said, I will offer the following:

      Durant's. This is THE place in mid-town/downtown Phoenix to transact business deals over dinner. Old world charm, tuxedo clad waitstaff, excellent food. If ever there was a place for the three-martinin lunch or dinner, it was this place.

      As an alternative, I would suggest Coup des Tartes. Intimate and wildly romantic, but my boss regularly entertains business clients from all over the country here and I haven't heard any negative feedback. Do note that it is BYOB, but you could easily get a wonderful bottle of wine from Sportsman's (32nd Street and Camelback) or at Cost Plus (18th Street and Camelback).

      5 Replies
      1. re: Seth Chadwick

        I second Durant's. For a real Phoenix experience, you can't beat it!

        P.S. Be sure you go in through the back door.

        1. re: lawyerbriefs

          How's the driving/parking situation at Durants?

          The place is an icon but recent trips to Central Av, thanks to light rail, has proven to be... a challenge. I'm guessing there are better ways to get there if you know th streets. I'm not sure the original poster, as a NY
          visitor, is aware of construction.

          I'm guessing the corporate types don't want to deal with street construction.

          1. re: tastyjon

            Even when Central Avenue wasn't a mess, we always went to 3rd Street and then to Virginia and headed west. Leads you right to the back. And they have a valet.

            1. re: tastyjon

              Seeing that you can't turn onto Central from Camelback anyway, Seth's recommendation to take 3rd St is always the preferred route from the north even in non-construction times.

              Those of us who use Central a lot always rely on the 1st St. bypass from Camelback, but I wouldn't expect any out of towner to know that.

            2. re: lawyerbriefs

              I love Durant's, too, but the original requestor's "discerning clients" should be ones that can handle the retro-chic look of the place, including the red vinyl seating. Those who love Durant's do so because it has continued to do the same thing well for decades, not because it has a look that would be considered upscale by contemporary standards. Of course, the quality of the food and the service would meet anyone's standards.

          2. Don't forget Donovan's Steakhouse on 32nd/Camelback


            Ruth's Chris is also nearby at 22nd/Camelback..but you can find that anywhere.

            Tarbells is great for late night.

            ****Just after I wrote that Tarbells is great for late night, I checked their link..10pm???? Kitchen used to be open until 12am. hmpf. :|

            1 Reply
            1. re: mamamia

              I had dinner at Tarbell's last night for the first time in a year. Happily, everything was as good as I remembered. Food and service were both excellent.

              One detail I noticed might be of value in terms of business entertaining: Tarbell's has a small private dining room that seats about eight people at a round table separated from the rest of the dining room by glass. It might be a good alternative if the original requestor's group is half a dozen or more.

            2. Capital Grill - classy steakhouse where I've had biz lunches.


              On the opposite side of the Camelback mountain is Elements at the Sanctuary. More of a contemporary scene with killer views at dusk and a swank bar for pre-post meal cocktails. The Chef, by the way, recently beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.


              1 Reply
              1. re: tastyjon

                I ate at Elements a few months ago, and had an outstanding meal. The place was packed, packed, packed, however, so do call ahead for reservations.

              2. thanks for the quick feedback guys ... still undecided but now I have choices! I'll report back on our experience.