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Apr 10, 2007 02:56 PM


Just made reservations for ourselves and some friends for Friday night. Decided we needed to stop talking about going and actually go while the evenings are still so pleasant.

Has anyone been recently? I know the menu changes but any signature items to keep an eye out for and try? This will be our first visit and we're looking foward to it.

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  1. i was there about 3 months ago, and greg laprad, the exec chef, cooked for our slow food harvest dinner. he was at west of western too...

    not sure if any of those items will be on the menu ;) but if you see :

    trio of pates - mmmm, believe it or not the tepary bean one is my fav of the 3
    polenta with veg ragout - from west of western. one of hte best dishes at the event
    navajo churro lamb - sweet tasting meat, and simply delish. i liked the roast lamb over the braised

    honestly since the menu changes so often i never crack it open. i just let my server pick what he/she thinks is best...

    service is attentive, and meant to be leisurely. my date was tapping his foot. i liked the relaxed pace. not slow, relaxed. *not to be interpreted as a critique of the service, because it was very good. its just one of those places where they don't intend to rush you*

    bring a sweater just in case, its 5-10 degrees cooler there than my house in central phx..

    it's just so pretty there at night.

    ps if you're a girl don't wear open toed-high heel shoes. trust me ;)

    3 Replies
    1. re: winedubar

      What do you mean about the open-toed high heel shoes?

      1. re: Deenso

        Quiessence is at The Farm at South Mountain - lots of grass, dirt, rocks, etc. in the beautiful rural setting. Wearing open-toed high heels would be kinda like taking a Ferrari off-roading.

        1. re: Deenso

          bingo, pickychick!! the heel sinks into the dirt, and dirt gets in the front of the shoe in yer toes. not exactly romantic date nite feeling ;)

          but its a farm, so it doesn't really come as a suprise.

      2. Quiessence is a gem. Went for their recent prix fixe Valentine's Day dinner, and was very pleased. The restaurant has received very flattering praise in all the local publications lately, and thus far I cannot disagree. The unpretentious, laidback and upscale atmosphere; the overall service; and, most importantly, the quality of the ingredients used in each course chosen exceeded our expectations. A great date or special occasion spot if you're looking for something a little less fussy, but just as (if not more) satisfying.

        1. Question for those that have been up there to Quiessence...

          We made these reservations earlier this week when the nights were so warm so I booked an outdoor table. Given the weather change am thinking that is not such a great idea now. Am going to call to see if they can accomodate us indoors...if not, do you think we reconsider and try something else tonight saving Quiessence for say next week when hopefully the weather changes back? I'm guessing they have heaters up there but....we're looking forward to really relaxing and enjoying ourselves over dinner...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ziggylu

            It can definitely get cool outside, but a light sweater and the heaters should keep you toasty. It is so pretty there, I think you should still go as planned! Sitting outside you can see the stars, hear the cows mooing, and just really appreciate the entire setting.

          2. Gosh, I'm not even sure what to report about our evening last night. We were all really looking forward to dinner and really expecting to love everything about it.

            Unfortunately as soon as we got there things got off wrong. There were six of us....when I called and made reservations early in the week I was asked "would you like to sit on the patio" The weather was so nice I readily said yes. Yesterday afternoon I called concerned it may be too cold iwth the weather change. I spoke with the general manager who told me at that point they couldn't accomodate us for indoor that evening. I considered rescheduling but he assured me we'd be comfortable with the heaters and he make sure we were comfortable.

            This was all I was told about the seating.

            When we got there the indoor part of the restaurant was at least half empty. We were led through to the back and as we arrived in the back the hostess announced "Oh, and we have a private party back here this evening as well"


            We arrive on the patio to see a LONG table set up across it set to accomodate 30+ people. A bar station is set up near the fire pits. Off on the very left side of the patio, just a few feet from the large table is our six top.

            We were all very suprised that 1) they would put anyone back there with such a large private event and 2) that when I made the reservation and called again yesterday this wasn't mentioned on the phone.

            We sat down and all looked at each other. The large group was just beginning to arrive, including several young children. We discussed what to do...seeing through the window there were no tables set up to accomodate 6 and that asking to move would involve breakign down tables set for the next evenign to create a six top we decided to just move on and not fuss.

            Dinner itself was OK. We had a dedicated server separate from teh big party(which meant she could have been dedicated to us inside as well had my afternoon request for indoor seating been honored). The service pace is slow but that's fine for a long meal with friends and didn't bother us. Some food was quite nice. Standouts included a red onion and sherry soup, a tomato and snap pea salad, and the diver scallops. Myself and a friend had the striped seabass which was overly salty. Husband had the braised lamb and commented "not bad but not as rich in flavor as I expected" Another friend ordered the "BLT" which was a soft shell crab with pancetta...but there was no pancetta. She was reluctant to inquire though despite our urging due to a bad experience at another restaurant in a similar situation.

            The large party due to the long waits between courses was regularly up away from teh table - to get a glass of wine from teh bar set up, enjoy the firepits, stretch,converse with each other. It was after 8 before they all sat at the beginning of evening so for the children it was a long drawn out evening...and they understandably got restless and tired with the normal results.

            Service as mentioned was relaxed. Be prepared to sit and relax. We don't mind this and enjoy it. That said there were errors in the service the most glaring of which was timing particularly for the entrees...three arrived at one time: 2 fish and the crab, then a few minutes later two lamb entrees, and then still a few more minutes later a scallop dish that was on the First course menu but had been ordered by someone as an entree. From the time the first three seafood items were dropped til the scallops were dropped was several minutes. The large group seemed to be served at just the same pace and we're guessing that probably affected the timing on our table...seemed things were being served in groups over there, probably as plated in the kitchen and maybe ours had been combined with the plate counts...with the scallops having been an first item with a quick cook time being done last. Whatever the case, not normal timing for such an upscale environment...especially when no explanation is offered for the entire table not being served at once. .

            We ordered 2 $40 botthles of wine and two desserts, along with three course each. the bill before tip was $480....and sadly we just felt that the experience didn't meet the large bill. Too many other wonderful options here in Phoenix on the high end that this just didn't stand up.

            I've been trying to decide if I should call and talk to them about the seating arrangements. I want nothing in return but I"m still just both disappointed and confused why they would put anyone out there with that large private function. We were the only other group out there with them which made it even stranger - especially since I'd called to request an indoor table which seemed to be something that could have been accomdated easily(I called very early in the day, I started trying around noon but they weren't there to answer until 2, so that even if the room had been set it would not have been a big issue to quickly set up a six top for us or to reset for a six once an earlier group in the evening left).

            The Farm itself is still a gem. The husband and I may go back and try Quiessence again on own sometime. The food itself wasn't bad and had the experience been more favorable the food may have shone more. All in all just a disappointing evening...

            5 Replies
            1. re: ziggylu

              We were there last Friday night for my birthday dinner. While the place is cozy and very romantic both found the food to be very over seasoned and the service much to slow. There was a HUGE wedding party or something going on on the back patio so that may explain why the dishes were coming out so slowly. I know the chef is part of the slow foods movement but come on! LOL! Probably wouldn't return, we had one bottle of wine and 3 course each, bill was $230 before tip.

              1. re: ziggylu

                im so sorry this happened to you guys!!! i would definitely call them and say something!!!

                ps sorry about the late reply - just got back from a trip out of town

                1. re: winedubar

                  I ended up not calling. FIgured at best they'd offer a comp which I really didn't want anyhow...other than that not much they could do after the fact. Still can't imagine why they woudl think this was a good set up...Shame as it made a terrible impression on a group of first time customers that had the potential to become regulars...

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    that really is a really sorry that happened to you guys. if you change your mind, i think the restaurant should hear what its like for people who get stuck next to a big event table...thats not a good thing, and its not helping them

                    1. re: winedubar

                      Ugh!! Terrible situation! They have been on my list for a while and now I must say I have to think about moving it down the list...

                      Sorry that happened.

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