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Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale - Comments?

s
sunshineinaz Jul 6, 2007 01:30 PM

We are headed to Cowboy Ciao this weekend and was wondering what thoughts were on this restuarant since I haven't been before. I love Kazimierz so have passed by it a ton of times. I didn't see any other posts on it. What are some favorite dishes there?

  1. jcarnie Jul 17, 2007 09:35 AM

    Mmmm. . .One of my favorites. I've been there so many times, I lost track a long time ago. If you love Kaz, you'll be happy to see they have the same giant wine list. I love the espresso rubbed filet and the puerco lento. How can you not love slow cooked pork? The cuppa hot chocolate is amazing. It used to be called Chocolate Pot de Creme and was slightly different (better in my mind). I used to describe that dessert to friends as sex in a cup. Just in case this gets read, I'll mention that I miss the blue and blue tart - blueberries and blue cheese. I think we ordered it on a dare, but I still dream about that tart from time to time. Have a great dinner!

    1. Rubee Jul 16, 2007 12:36 PM

      Congratulations on your engagement ScorpioScuba!

      Four of us ate at Cowboy Ciao for the first time last week. Two live in Scottsdale, and we were visiting from Boston. We all LOVED this place. Thanks everyone for the tips on what to order.

      It started off great the minute we walked in. We loved the vibe of the place, were warmly greeted, and seated promptly at that cozy raised table. I have to say that we ordered a lot of food, too much, and everything was a winner. Cocktails to start off were excellent - I had the Danica, which was similar to a Sidecar but with elderflower cordial. For appetizers, we ordered the justly famous Stetson chopped salad (wonderful ingredients such as smoked salmon, air-dried corn, arugula, Israeli couscous, asiago cheese, currants, and pumpkin seeds, all mixed tableside and tossed with a creamy herb dressing), the equally delicious mini-mushroom pan fry with creamy ancho chili sauce, a fantastic special of roasted pork sliders, and the rich Lousiana gratin of crayfish and and andouille sausage. I know, what were we thinking? Ha - first time here and everything looked so good. My entree special was delicious - perfectly cooked escolar over a chilled crabmeat and peapod noodle salad - two ordered the oft-recommended espresso-rubbed filet with tortilla-mashed potatoes, and the fourth in our party ordered my favorite (by a slim margin) entree of the night - "Duck Duck Duck (no goose)". Wow was that amazing. Tender, savory duck meatloaf topped with seared foie-gras and a port demi-glace with sage bread pudding. Everything was so good. Well of course, we were so full from over-ordering and loving every bite but we made the 'mistake' of looking over the desserts. Ahh, now I see why the desserts are listed first on the dinner menu! Since it was our last night in Scottsdale, we decided to just throw caution to the wind and ordered the decadent "cuppa red hot chocolate", the creamy chevre cheesecake with candied walnuts and fig tapenade, and, when we saw "bacon cookies", well, we had to try those too (large, moist cookies filled with dried fruit and nuts or chocolate? with the salty/savory accent of bacon).

      I also have to comment on our server, Kirsten, who was cheerful, patient, knowledgeable, and engaging - our service was just as wonderful as the food. Also, we went on a Wednesday night, and had no problem with the noise that others had mentioned.

      The next day, we were still talking about the place, and that it would be nice to be regulars. I can see why Cowboy Ciao is pretty much well-loved across the board. In fact, one of our party commented that all the humorous quotes on the menu regarding the signature dishes sounded like they were all uttered by "you Chowhounds" : )

      We'll be spending more time in the Phoenix area soon, so we will definitely be back. We had a great time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Rubee
        starlightjulian Jul 16, 2007 09:59 PM

        I almost ordered the Duck, even though I knew how foie gras is cultivated (never had foie gras), and the sage bread pudding sounded wonderful, but as soon as the server mentioned corn (allergy) was an ingredient, I had to bail out. I was willing to try foie gras once, but to suffer doubly from the corn and the guilt was too much for me :(

        Ooh, I will def. try the chevre cheesecake should I ever be fortunate to dine at Cowboy Ciao again! Why, oh, why must I be allergic to mushrooms?? I miss 'shrooms!!

        1. re: Rubee
          c
          crsin Jul 16, 2007 11:00 PM

          Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I've always been curious about the chevre cheesecake and have come very close to ordering it, but can never pass up the sweeter items (e.g., cuppa' hot chocolate, which is one of my favorite deserts...anywhere).

          Like starlightjulian, I have a hard time eating foie gras (never do), but glad to hear that the dishes I don't normally order are equally delicious. The pork sliders sound gread too, as I know CC can do pork, in seemingly any style and cut, very well.

          1. re: crsin
            ciaogal Jul 17, 2007 06:00 AM

            Love the Abs of Squeal.......pure 'Heaven'!

            1. re: ciaogal
              c
              crsin Jul 17, 2007 07:31 AM

              Never tried it, although I'm sure it is fantastic. I can, however, vouch for the shank, chop or special quesadilla (in terms of pork dishes). All are delicious, of course.

        2. starlightjulian Jul 11, 2007 05:49 PM

          I visited CC last night for the first time. The buffalo carpaccio app is fabulous. I ordered the pistachio-crusted salmon entree. I also tried my friend's puerco lento. at first, i preferred his entree over mine... after the carpaccio, the salmon was not salty enough. but after a few bites, i started to really enjoy the salmon. The walnut-cranberry chutney of the puerco lento is fantastic (eaten with the pork and the potato casserole). For dessert, we shared the chocolate peanut butter pot pie. YUM!

          2 Replies
          1. re: starlightjulian
            scorpioscuba Jul 15, 2007 07:20 PM

            I also had my first experience with CC last night. My boyfriend took me there for a special occasion - we're engaged!

            We started with the Mini Mushroom Pan Fry which was absolutely delicious. I loved the variety of mushrooms with the ancho cream (just enough spice) and polenta. Yum! We got an order of ciabatta bread with the olive tapenades which was also delicious. I ordered the Espresso Rubbed Filet (in a steak kinda mood) and I was not disappointed. It was so hard too choose though as there were many items on the menu that sounded delicious. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare and the cabernet demi-glace was a great accompaniment. The tortilla smashed potatoes though were a star - a very unique take on boring mashed potatoes. DF ordered the Elk Strip Loin - I was a little wary that it would be too gamey but I was wrong. It was to die for. As was the mushroom risotto. I snuck plenty of bites of that off his plate as he was eating my potatoes! :) We didn't have dessert there as DF had other plans - an impromtu overnight to Prescott. We'll definitely be back to CC. I love that it is a pretty casual laid back restaurant with an amazing menu. I definitely want to try the puerco lento next time.

            1. re: scorpioscuba
              k
              Kam7185 Jul 17, 2007 07:52 AM

              Best Wishes to you and your Fiancee! I have been there many times, but have never ordered the shrooms! The cream sauce always deters me, and no one in my party has ever taken interest in the dish. Is it really rich and heavy?

          2. s
            sunshineinaz Jul 8, 2007 08:51 PM

            Was very pleased with Cowboy Ciao! We shared a chopped salad and I had the porkchop and both were delicious. Also had a couple bites of the salmon which was great as well. Will definitely go back. Thanks everyone for your feedback.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sunshineinaz
              Rubee Jul 8, 2007 10:05 PM

              Thanks for the update! - been following this thread as we'll be having dinner for the first time this week also.

            2. Seth Chadwick Jul 6, 2007 04:04 PM

              Cowboy Ciao is a definite board favorite and I have never heard anything but very good things to say about the food and service.

              One note, however, is that there has been some expressed concerns about how high the noise level can get, so if you are looking for a quite, romantic dinner, you may wish plan accordingly.

              -----
              Cowboy Ciao
              7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              1. c
                crsin Jul 6, 2007 02:19 PM

                The place has an all-around delicious menu. It seems to be one of the most commonly praised and suggested restaurants on this board.

                I've been about five-or-so times, and one of my favorite dishes is the blue cheese stuffed pork chop. It's fantastic, and undoubtedly one of the best pork chops I've had (have ordered it several times). it comes with a fantastic ancho bread pudding with apple jus and fig. It's a knockout, and I'm not even a very big pork fan. I've also tried the short ribs, puerco lento, and have finished up part of an espresso filet. All of these choices I can vouch for as being fantastic. Take your pick of anything off the menu, and you will likely not be disappointed. Have also tried many of the appetizers and have really enjoyed them all. The chopped salad seems to garner a huge amount of praise and fans, and I'm one of them. It's really very good. Also recently tried their quesadilla appetizer (which I believe is sort of a "quesadilla of the day" type item, in which the filling changed depending on when you're there), it had incredibly well prepared, sweet shredded pork, dried cherries, and other ingredients I can't think of off the top of my head. Last time I had their soup special, it was also fantastic. The only thing I haven't enjoyed off of the appetizer menu is the elk tostada. While certainly not bad, it failed to impress me as everything else there does.

                If you're a mushroom fan, the mushroom pan fry is also really delicious, although quite rich. Unless you know you really like mushrooms, I might recommend getting the mini pan fry as one appetizer and perhaps sharing it (it's still good sized), only becuase the entire entree is a bit heavy and mushroom-intensive for me to eat an entire large entree of myself (of course you may think differently).

                The deserts are all incredible, and I have never been disappoint by them. A personal favorite is the cuppa' hot chocolate, although all are insane good.

                Essentially, nearly everything on the menu is a safe bet. Take your pick of what sounds best, and you should leave satisfied.

                LINK: http://www.cowboyciao.com/

                1. b
                  barry Jul 6, 2007 02:12 PM

                  Cowboy Ciao is fantastic. Everyone has their favorites, but I would definately try the chopped salad. It's amazing. Many also love the mushroom pan fry. If you love Kaz you must love wine, and they share the same wine list. Talk to your waiter about matching up a wine with whatever you order.

                  Barry

                  1. scorpioscuba Jul 6, 2007 01:35 PM

                    Have you done a search? There are several posts in SW board about Cowboy Ciao. I myself have not been there yet so I'm very jealous of you! I'm waiting for that special occasion to go. I've read several posts though that talk about the wondeful dishes they have. Here is one:

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/412349

                    Do come back and tell us how it was!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: scorpioscuba
                      s
                      sunshineinaz Jul 6, 2007 01:55 PM

                      Thanks! This helps a lot. I will defintely report back.

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