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Jul 11, 2007 08:41 AM

phx - taggia review on

howard seftel gave it a mostly terrific review

taggia is fantastic, i love love love the food there. definitely try the scallops.

i'll be really sad if claudio, their chef, leaves az, he's so talented in the kitchen..

im confused by hotel restaurants. on the one had, kimpton property restaurants are usually stellar, and they promote their restaurants as destinations independant of their hotels. thats a good thing.

but on the other - they really give claudio a hard time here. like saying put more strawberries on the menu because studies say its the most popular berry menu item? what is that about?

at any rate, if you want to try some real italian food, simply and beautifully created, before the restaurant may or may not get turned into something else, do it soon...

i really hope firesky can find a way to make taggia work!!!

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  1. Bad Timing...Claudio leaves today and will return in about three weeks so if you are trying Taggia for the first time, just keep that in mind.

    1. They probably have to push him like that (or at least think they do) to compete with the other resorts in the area. FireSky is fairly new, and if you want to lure guests to the hotel as well as the restaurant, you need to cater to different tastes. That includes the less adventurous who want their Eye-talian food with spaghetti and meatballs.
      I'm glad he offers two menus, so that people who want a taste of authentic Italian can try what look to be some really wonderful dishes.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ajs228

        that doesn't make any sense to me tho.

        if you want a destination restaurant, why the pedestrian menu? why not have 2 restaurants? esp since kimpton doesn't appear to be making its other on-site restaurants cater to the lasagna and chicken fingers crowd.

        any restaurant, or business, with an identity crisis is going to have an awfully difficult time making it.

        does anyone know of any restaurant with 2 separate menus that has been able to stay open?

        1. re: winedubar

          It's routine at various Chinese restaurants to have two menus -- one more authentic / adventurous than the other. Still, I agree that it is unusual for a Kimpton restaurant. It's also bad juju to have a chef badmouthing part of his restaurant's own menu as "hotel food." This situations seems unstable. I hope it gets worked out.

          1. re: silverbear

            i'm not a fan of dual menu's at chinese spots ;) i had forgotten some places do that..

            i don't blame him for being upset - its not his menu *the second, i mean*

            at any rate, i'll be in once he's back from italy. those scallops are fantastic, as is the traghetti.

            1. re: winedubar

              yes, i *hate* that at Chinese places. i've gotten some really awful food that way

              1. re: don giovanni

                I have no problem with dual menus, but I'm curious: Was the awful food from the standard menu or the authentic menu?

                1. re: silverbear

                  The food was from the standard or "American" menu. If there are openly two menus, that's fine with me. I get bothered when one of them is a secret.
                  I'm thinking of a specific instance when some Chinese friends of mine recommended a place and I went and got food that was worse than a microwave dinner. I found out later that you have to ask specifically for the Chinese menu or you'll get the "American-ized" food (although there was really nothing American about it -- it was just bad).

            2. re: silverbear

              Silverbear...could not agree more!! The PR person in me just shuddered when I read the CHEF badmouthing his OWN employer. Eek!!

              What was amazing was that the food was still great according to Seftel. Clearly Claudio's dedication to quality and professionalism in his kitchen supercedes any resentment he has (for now at least) toward the property/management.

          2. re: ajs228

            Seftel was saying that the three entrees on the regular menu was "safe", not the entire menu. There are quite a few unusual items on the regular menu, including the burrata.

          3. I've been to Taggia twice now and the food has been pretty hit and miss. I do enjoy Claudio's particular style of Italian and when something hits it's usually impressive enough to make me want to return though.

            7 Replies
            1. re: IamJacksBrain

              Do you think the inconsistency derives from the chef's absences from the kitchen, as noted above and in Seftel's article, or do you think some items on the menu are just better than others?

              1. re: silverbear

                Claudio was in the kitchen both nights. Some menu items were just much better than others.

                1. re: silverbear

                  Definitely some items are better than others...a major issue is ALL the food for the hotel (room service, bar, pool, restaurant) all come off Taggia's line. That is a difficult proposition and that has a lot to do with the menu composition.

                  1. re: Molto E

                    Wow, I had no idea that even after several resort renovations they all share the same line. I am not a chef or a professional cook, but I imagine that can't be easy to be prepping things like a burger or whatever for room service and entrees for the restuarant all at the same time.

                    Even in my prior life working @ low-end country clubs, catering companies, etc. there were usually at the very least a grill line and a "fine dining" line or even 2 separate kitchens. Isn't that standard for resports, or is Firesky just older/smaller than most?

                    1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                      See, I didn't even register all the dual-menu and badmouthing in the article! I got as far as 'convinced Chef Nobuo's seafood supplier to source to him' and 'burrata' and 'locally grown and organic ... slow food movement' and decided I will have to try the place.

                      1. re: themis

                        I am with you Themis.

                        Even though I shuddered as PR person, and the shared line thing is horrid, I still REALLY want to go. :)

                2. re: IamJacksBrain

                  Another reply to add the place.

                  4925 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                3. That was a frustrating review. Thanks, Seftel, for tantalizing us with something we can't have! We did eat a bit of Claudio's food at the April Slow Foods tour that stopped at McClendon Farms (including the burrata with bread and honey), and meant to try the restaurant but it had slipped our minds.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kittyfood

                    no way!! i was the slow food rep there at mcclendon's farms!! i probably handed you the burrata :)