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Jan 22, 2007 10:30 PM

PHX - Cafe ZUZU chef's table dinner


tonite we went to cafe zuzu at the valley ho hotel for one of their monday nite chef's table dinners. i guess they have been doing them for about at year, i think, but it was our first trip.

its a gorgeous midcentury hotel, and completed their renovations last year. i'd been to the bar before for drinks, but hadn't yet eaten there.

i have heard that the menu is usually geared towards comfort food, but not for the dinners..we arrived, were seated immediately, and were greeted by the chef, chuck wiley, as soon as our first course was served. this menu was essentially 'duncan farms presents' and focused on their amazing organic produce. the course was more of an amuse bouche. it was house smoked salmon on radish with green apple. the sweetness and tart of the apple stood up to the radishes, one was purple and one was a watermelon was GOOOOOOD. the wine pairing for this course was the rosenblum 'kathy's cuvee' voignier, 2005. i have to admit, i usually run from the white, but this was great. i'd buy this and store at home.

the second course was the whole reason i went : roasted beet salad with humboldt fog cheese with a sherry honey reduction. not what i expected, but delicious. i could eat the cheese with a fork. good thing, because it was served as a wedge. the beets i were simply prepared, and were served whole. again, a deconstructed salad, which wasn't what i was expecting. but i loved it. i could eat beets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. this was paired with a 1998 moet & chandon millesime brut. perfect match! i love the bubbly, and this was great.

then, herb roasted beef tenderloin with ruby red chard, young carrots, red wine sauce. the tenderloin was fantastic, my chard was cooked perfectly, a suprise potato puree was a good foil to the sauce. i could have licked the plate. ;) this was served with dynamite cabernet sauvignon, north coast 2003. the chef came by after dessert and said he knew the pairing was obvious, but he thought it worked. so did we ;


the last course lost me ;) hollad rhubarb struedel with rum glaze and chocolate ice cream. it was in a puffed pastry, so i didn't get the streudel part. and altho the chocolate ice cream was great, i didn't think it went with the rhubarb. the rhubarb was just as tart as i remember, and was good...but with chocolate? i dunno. however, the graham's 'six grapes' reserve porto was a great finish.

the service was great. the chef talked to us twice, the guy from duncan farms talked to us about the produce, and it was only 42.50 *tax and tip not included*. i thought the price was more than fair, and the food was good!!

there are some interesting chef's tables coming up - feb 5th is an oyster bar, and feb 26th is winter truffles...oh yeah!!!


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  1. Thanks for the post - I'm definitely intrigued about these. Do you remember any details about the upcoming oyster bar? I couldn't find any details about the Chef's Tables on the site.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sistinas


      i took the card with info on upcoming chef's tables - here's the number for reservations : 480-421-7710. evidently they have an email update list. i left my email addy so we'll see what i find out...

      here's the oyster bar info for the feb 5th dinner:

      osyter on the half shell sampler
      oyster pan roast
      devil fried oysters and hangar steak *applewood smoked bacon and mushroom stew*
      handcrafted chocolate banana truffles

      sounds yummy :D

    2. Thanks for the great review. It sounds great, and the price is certainly reasonable. I hope to try it soon.

      1. I went to the one featuring Wattle Creek Winery back in November - overall the experience was excellent - good food, service and with the wine pairings, it's a great price. Did someone say truffles? I'm making my reservations asap.

        1. Is there an email list that we can get on to learn about the upcoming events? I looked for a Cafe Zuzu web site but didn't find one, and the Valley Ho but link doesn't seem to be working.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kittyfood

            there certainly is, and they actually sent an email today. the newsletter comes from, although i'm not sure sending an email with "subscribe" as the subject will work. there's also a newsletter sign-up on their website at

          2. Good to hear something good about Valley Ho. I've received a dozen critiques of Trader Vic's, mostly from folk, who remember it back when. These have not been favorable.

            Glad that the tasting menu was good. I'll definitely look into this. So far, we have only done two "events," and were underwhelmed by both. However, the reconstruction, re-organization was really just getting started then, so these may not have been a fair test.