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Mar 22, 2007 12:31 PM

Our trip to Scottsdale, AZ

I just returned from a week in Scottsdale and wanted to report back on our dining adventures.

The first night our flight came in sort of late so we had a lite dinner at the Village Tavern in the Gainey Shopping center. Decent food, huge portions.

The next day I had to get my In n Out fix as we don't have them back home. I thoroughly enjoyed my animal style burger and well done fries btw.

Dinner was at Greene House. Our waiter was not the sharpest knife in the drawer so it made things challenging. I started with the argula salad with goat cheese and seasonal fruit had the beef short ribs. My dining companions opted for the mussels and the steak. Our food was fine, but we found the service inattentive and not well informed. Water and iced tea glasses were only refilled after repeated requests. He neglected to mention that there was a new chef and menu when my mother asked about an item she had read about in a old review and why it wasn't on the menu. He said something about it being seasonal. This was a dessert mind you.

The next day lunch was at the ballpark and not chow worthy but fine. Dinner was at El Charro. We sat on the patio and they had a live band. Nice old school prime rib and baked potatoes. Huge portions. The salad was uninspired but fine. And we took home the cinnamon buns for breakfast the next day.

Lunch at AZ88 was tasty. I love their chicken sandwiches. Normally we go at night and partake the martinis but the food is good on its own.

Dinner at Vu was disappointing. Service was a bit snobby yet not polished. The food while tasty was tiny portions for large sums of money. I had the Hawaiian Moi and got probably 3 ounces of fish on top of sliced pineapple for $34. My dining companion had the beef tenderloin and also got about 4-5 ounces of meat and also a tiny scoop of mashed potato. We sat on the patio which had more atmosphere than inside, but unfortunately the gazebo was not open.

Dinner the next night was at Eddie V's. Loved this place. The waiters were pros. I enjoyed the ahi tartare appetizer and a lump crab cake as my entree. My fellow dinners had the surf and turf with filet mignon and lobster, the parmesan crusted sole. For dessert we got a chocolate cake for the table. I didn't try it but it all disappeared.

Our final day we had lunch at Zinc Bistro in the Kierland Center. I had the spinach salad with bacon and poached egg, my dining companion had the french onion soup. It was above average for a light lunch in a mall.

Dinner was deli sandwiches at Goldman's off of Indian Bend before driving to the airport.

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  1. Of your 3 marginal experiences, 2 of them were at Fox Restaurant Concepts establishments. How are you other 'hounds finding the Fox Restaurants to be? I like Sauce, but am not blown away by it. I had lunch at The Counter 2 weeks ago and wasn't impressed. It wasn't bad, just not worth the Kierland parking nightmare, long line to order, and hovering for a table.

    I'm new to Chowhound, so someone let me know if I should be starting a new thread with this...thanks!

    6 Replies
    1. re: pickychick

      I go to Sauce from time to time, but mostly because it's close to me at 7th and Glendale. It's certainly good enough to function as a neighborhood restaurant, but I probably would not travel more than five miles for it.

      The only other Fox restaurant I have tried is Bistro Zin in Tucson, which I thought was reasonably good. The more upscale Fox concepts, including Greene House, Olive & Ivy, etc. just never get to the top of my list to try.

      1. re: silverbear

        To date, I've been to North, Bloom, Sauce, Bistro Zin, Greene House and Olive & Ivy.

        North - I go for the scene and the prosciutto and melon pizza. Everything else I've had (which is alot) is ok but nothing out-of-this-world.

        Bloom - Nothing special, went a couple times but haven't been back since. A very good warm lobster salad, if I do recall correctly.

        Sauce - it is what it is - gourmet pizza, quick-service. Nice if it's located nearby, but not worth a drive.

        Bistro Zin - I actually can't remember what I ordered the one time I was there but I do remember being impressed. That said, I haven't found the dining options in Tucson to be all that impressive, so it's good option in that town.

        Greene House - I was there a few weeks after they opened when they had a $44 entree of Kobe on the menu. The service was very good (a gal who had worked at LGO served us) and the food was well executed. Haven't been back since the "new chef". One thing that stands out in my mind was a "hot chocolate" dessert - the pastry chef at the time had been under Keller and was doing a spin-off. Well, it was excellent. No idea if that (like the Kobe, which is gone) is still around.

        Olive & Ivy - disappointment of the year. What a beautiful space, and I really looked forward to dinner. Everything (food, service, noise level) annoyed me because it all seemed so hap-hazard.

        My $.02 - no idea if others feel the same.

        1. re: azhotdish

          you know i don't know what happened to bloom. we used to go there for work lunches a bit and it was good. then we went the last time about a year and a half ago and it was very disappointing. service was weak. the lobster bisque was not bisquey at all, more like lobster flavored water. the prime rib & brie sandwich which we used to like had barely a sliver of brie. can't remember the other specifics but it fell short in almost every way. it went from being a well liked spot to a "we'll never go back there". was a bummer.

          1. re: ccl1111

            Had a similar experience @ Bloom last week. Met my Mother there for lunch...ordered the cobb salad. It was almost non-existent...I was lucky it had a shred of chicken in it.

            I ordered it because it used to be one of the more substantial salads. My Mother ordered the Chopped Everything Salad , hers was twice the size.

            I complained and sent mine back....since they have raised their prices I felt I had the right to complain.

            When the waiter returned w/ my new salad I was pleased....It was chock ful of Chicken, avocado, bacon, blue cheese.....

            We are regulars the Restaurants @ Gainey Village....

            We are looking forward to the opening of Pizza Picazzo....They have wonderful large salads!

            1. re: ciaogal

              ciaogal (and anyone else)--- I'm a Georgia hound planning a couple of casual dinners in Scottsdale for my company in January...we'll be staying at the Gainey Suites Hotel without transportation. Can you recommend a couple of places in Gainey Village for a group of 10? (Some in the group aren't adventurous but all love food and we're much more a family-style/eat off each other's plates kind of group than a wine list group). I'm thinking one night typical Southwestern and another night something kind of fun and interesting but nothing that my boss can't pronounce or that would require chopsticks.


            2. re: ccl1111

              We used to go to Bloom about twice a month, and noticed that with each visit the quality and service declined greatly. The lobster salad was once fabulous, now it is just a shame. There was also a mushroom salad that once was delicious, but the last few times the dressing was sour and bitter. Also, they began to "over-marinate" the grilled veggie plate to such an extreme. It was vile. We tend to think the fox restaurants are so over-rated, and don't understand their mass appeal.

      2. I know this is not as sophisticated as you've been doing, but is the Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor still open?

        3 Replies
        1. re: aurora50

          Aurora50 - the Sugar Bowl is indeed still open, although it doesn't get such great reviews in a recent discussion here:

          1. re: pickychick

            Our family used to go there when I was 4-5 years old, and I'm 50 now. If I ever get back to Phoenix/Scottsdale, and if it's still open, I will go back to Sugar Bowl, just to relive some old memories. And I'll bet the ice cream will taste just as sweet!

            1. re: aurora50

              LOL I am sure it will! It is pretty hard to mess up true old fashioned honest to goodness ice cream! :-)

        2. Just got back from lunch at Bloom Kierland. Living in Scottsdale year-round, it has been a favorite of ours. Sad to say that the service was very slow (half of the interior was empty) and we paid $12 for an ahi tuna salad with two small pieces of fish. Server said that the portions had been reduced and prices raised when the chain expanded into Colorado.
          Such a shame that the gouging has begun at yet another promising eatery.

          1. Interesting report. I have read that Greene House has gotten a new chef and that the menu was to be re-vamped. Not being a big fan of Fox's restaurants, I had/have not been.

            We did Vu, just after they re-opened (was Black Swan, which we loved), and did the new chef's tasting menu. It was excellent, exciting, and worth the effort, even if the evening was markedly heavy on BEETS. The staff (I did not recognize any from the Swan-days) were good - for us. It sounds like they may not be hitting on all cylinders, and that's too bad, as they had great potential.

            Eddie V's, eh? They get a lot of good recs. on this board, but my trips have been less than stellar. General service has been OK, but wine service definitely lacking. Now, I grew up with fresh seafood, so I should not be too critical of seafood in PHX, but have been underwhelmed with my meals there - across the board, and my wife has felt the same way. I also found the venue far too loud to enjoy a meal there. I would not go back. Glad that you enjoyed it.

            Amazing what goes into a dining experience. This board always has great recs. for Maestro's Steakhouse, and, after several trips (always on someone else's $), would possibly actually go to Morton's first, and I hate Morton's! One would think that great dining experiences would be more universal, but they are like fine wines - dependant on one's personal palate and the night that they dined there.

            Thanks for the report. It was very comprehensive and greatly appreciated.


            1. Have to make an observation observation about Village Tavern. IT'S NOISY! No matter when you go, lunch or heaven help you, dinner, the place is bedlam. I know that current restaurant design trends are to make sure the environment is as noisy as possible. Has anyone noticed that this goes along with the corporate feeding-trugh mentality that pervades most of the restaurants here in the Valley?

              So if you want nourishment - forget the word "delicious - in huge portions served up with a huge amount of noise, this is your place.