Tucson - Want to make my father-in-law cry... with joy.
My father-in-law is turning 60 in a couple of weeks. Our gift to him will be a tasting menu paired with wine, something that will make him want to thank each and every taste bud for existing. I live in L.A. and know little about Tucson. Where do you recommend we take him? I've heard good things about Janos and Ventana Room. Just for this one night, money is no object. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
I haven't been to Janos, but always hear wonderful things. I have been to the Ventana Room and had an amazing meal there. The food was art on a plate, and made me thank each and every taste bud for existing!! I love how you can choose 3, 4, or 5 courses (plus dessert)...and choose whatever you want from the menu to comprise those courses. It was a stunning meal we will always remember.
The rec. for Janos is a good one. I've dined there on several occasions. Their "wine room," is worth the price, if you have a party to take advantage of it. If you have fewer, than is economically feasible, the dining room is very nice also.
I can also recommend the Ventana Room at the Lowe's Ventana Resort, http://www.ventanaroom.com/home.html. We did a small Medical Executive Board dinner there recently, and did the tasting/pairing menu. It was a knockout, all of the way around. We did four different mix-n-match tasting menus and all were great. How often do you see tasting menus, that can be different for everyone at the table - courses, number of courses, etc.? The sommelier's "pairing menu" is not listed, but the sommelier will do it for you, and do it well. Another question: how often do you see Shafer Hillside Select Cab, decanted and served at, what amounted to US$90/btl.? Though the report was posted a few months ago, no Search can turn up its URL - sorry. If you want the details, let me know, and I'll grab the text and Ctrl-c/Ctrl-v it in. Great place.
We're planning a trip back down for golf and getaway, and will do Janos, Ventana Room and Anthony's At The Catalinas, as the other couple just dined there and were overwhelmed. Both are foodies, and winos, and the wife has written several cookbooks, has a cooking Web site and is a guest-chef on several SW cooking shows on radio and TV. If she says Anthony's is good, I have to believe her, though I have never dined there.
They did one for a group of guests in their Wine Room some years back. Along with their sommelier's pairings, it was excellent. Maybe like the wine pairings at Ventana Room, it's an "unlisted special." Either way, I'd ask, when making reservations. From my past experiences, one could not go wrong with either.
Don't go to Anthony's as while you want to make father-in-law might cry with joy, he might wind up crying with disappointment. I ate there last night with my husband. The menu entirely way overpriced for the quality that is served.
You would expect that the chili-charred beef carpaccio served with heirloom tomatoes, would actually come with heirloom tomatoes!! The beef was good, but they topped it with what looked like costco salsa. Then, the twin filets of beef filet mignon ($39) that I had ordered rare, came out extremely well done. It really looked and tasted microwaved.
You really do NOT get what you pay for here.
I would highly recommend Ventana room. Janos is OK, but it had a bit of a "tourist resort" restaurant feel. The food was good and the prices were OK, but the Ventana Room is by far the best of out these three. The price is in line with Anthony's, though you definitely get what you pay for.