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Jun 9, 2007 08:31 PM

elements @ The Sanctuary [PHX]

Just did elements (lower case “e” intentional), but it was with another couple, so exact notes are non-existent and recollections are all that I have. Arrived at 6:30PM and the other folk were already seated. As always, the location was excellent, and the sun was soon to set.

Started with their Verget ‘04 Meursault, while we talked (wife and other female member of the party, business, while the husband and I hashed over many interesting, albeit more trivial subjects). Wine service was good, as was the glassware. The table seemed a tad small (normal 4-top, but it seemed crowded, already).

We started with Tempura Shrimp (slightly overdone, but good), Wild Morel Mushroom Pot Stickers (excellent), Tartare of Tuna (said to be great) and the Heirloom Tomato Salad (also said to be wonderful).

By now, we had a bottle of Siduri, Vanercamp Vineyard PN, which went very well with my mushrooms.

Our entrées were: Braised Short Rib (got very high marks), special Nairagi (pink Marlin), which was rated better than Hawai`i, Filet of Beef, which had more fat and gristle than I really like (is this a new trend in filets? I have had too many like this lately, even from good meat markets.) and Pan Seared King Salmon, which got very high marks.

The beef eaters got Whitehall Lane, Healdsburg ‘04 Cab, b-t-g.

I do not know the total price, as the meal was picked up by the other couple. Had I known this, going in, I could have really turned loose on the wines! Nah, we did OK.

In all, a lovely meal. Other than my complaints on the shrimp and my filet, all was, otherwise, excellent. The service was very good, though there were some real lulls, when we had to signal the servers for something we needed, and then there were two “reminders.” The bussing was about 80%, with some dishes sitting a bit too long, and wine glasses being cleared, while the folk were still working on them. Not perfect, but still pretty good.

The bar was very active, and the restaurant was full. The noise level was not too bad. I flinched, when a group in the bar met up with another group arriving and were all seated. The greetings were a bit over the top, but they settled down to a quiet meal.

The table did get filled with the wine glasses, and we had be very careful not to hook a base on a plate. I'd have been happier with about 6" more, in each direction.

I’d give elements a B+ for the entire experience, and will definitely be back. I think that this was our first trip in ~ 6 mos.


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  1. Thanks for the review. I had a similarly good experience there a few months ago, and yet I continue to forget about elements when thinking about good restaurants in town. Thanks for the reminder.


    1. My fiance and I love going to the Jade Bar at elements! I love their tarragon margarita and some of the other herb-infused drinks.

      Our experiences with elements, though, are mixed. The first time we went there for breakfast (wanted to show visitors the lovely view) we were quite satisfied. They give you giant fresh cinnamon buns when you arrive.

      A few months later, we went again. This time it was terrible. The service was so awful I commented to the hostess about it (but no offers of taking off part of the tab were offered). Really, folks, I'm not kidding. We sat for 15 minutes before we even got water! And the worst part was, they weren't even busy. Our server barely spoke English and brought the wrong things. It was terrible. The food didn't seem as good, either, but that was probably just due to the poor service.
      When we waited for our check for 20 minutes, we finally just went up to the counter and paid -- how tacky, right? And again, no apologies from anyone.

      I certainly hope their service has since improved, but I'm not sure I want to risk it..