Stax Burger Bistro - Scottsdale AZ
This just in. Stax Burger Bistro looks to be on the verge of opening. This is in the space formerly known as Ibiza Café in the trendy "Waterfront" area of Scottsdale.
I'll be very interested to know about anyone's experiences at this place, and I'll probably check it out, myself, very soon.
Okay, so, they've been open for 3 weeks!
I stopped in for a late supper, tonight. The place hasn't changed a whole lot since it was Ibiza. The bar looked the same, just different furniture. It seemed like all the tables had been elevated to bar level. A big, muted, HDTV showing a baseball game was front and center.
The staff was very friendly. The one thing I remember, was the recommendation to get two burgers and a side. The burgers are a little small. I'm not sure if they are 3 or 4 ounces. Your choice of "meat" is beef, turkey, buffalo, lamb, ostrich, salmon, or veggie, ranging from $3-5. Then, you pay $0.25 for each topping. Toppings include 7 kinds of cheese, guacamole, pineapple, and the list goes on, traditional to exotic. They also have an interesting, but, perhaps small selection of sides, salads, and desserts.
You can order your burger any way you like it, or get it "stax style" for a special price. I had a traditional beef ($4), and a buffalo ($5). Both were "stax style" selections. I also had the sweet pots ($3), spicy aioli ($0.25), and a Sprite (?).
I thought everything was pretty good. I wasn't asked how I wanted my meat cooked, and it came out medium. The buffalo was just a little more done. The bartender told me, later, that they're shooting for medium rare - medium, and the customer can specify, but, I wasn't clear on the limits.
The sweet pots were sweet potato fries, that were amazingly similar to Delux. With the spicy aioli, they were pretty close, although the aioli wasn't that spicy. There are 3 other aiolis to try. I would say the fries at Delux at cooked a little longer, but, I'm not sure if I prefer one or the other.
The Traditional beef came with cheddar cheese, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, and house ketchup. The bun was fresh and soft. The beef tasted good. I like it somewhat lean and aged, and this seemed to be the case. Not much of a tomato presence, but, I liked it. I might ask them to go easy with the salt, next time, but, that's my personal taste.
The buffalo was topped with jack cheese, an onion ring, peach bbq sauce, and pickled shallots. I think the bbq sauce was strong, but good.
My biggest complaint was the Sprite, a warm 10 ounce bottle served over ice. I don't know how much it cost. It's not listed on the menu, and the bill didn't seem to include it, either. Still, I want cold soda, not something that melts a lot of ice, and gets diluted.
Again, I can't help but compare this place to Delux. Delux is pretty much the only place on my radar screen where I will get a burger. I have to say that I will have to make a few trips to Stax to try out a few more things. I like the fact that I can get two different burgers at Stax, for the same price as a Delux burger, and it's about the same amount of food. I think the quality of the ingredients is comparable. Stax also offers some sides for $4-5 that might not be as creative as Delux, but, cheaper.
Visited Stax today. Nice atmosphere (high tables, comfy cushioned booths), lotus-style light fixtures, warm-colored wood accents). Friendly staff. Restaurant isn't quite a month-old yet, so no happy hour specials. One of the co-owners told me that they offer seven grinds (beef, turkey, buffalo, lamb, ostrich, salmon, and veggie) and are working towards ten, although I forgot to ask what the other three were going to be. I specifically came in to try the sweet potato fries. Wanted to order the Stax-style Lamb burger (served with melted provolone, butter lettuce, and peach-mint-mango chutney), but decided against it when told they couldn't serve the chutney sans peach as it is a labor-intensive preparation and could not be custom-made to suit my allergy to peaches :(. So I went with the traditional-style lamb burger (served with pepper jack cheese, pesto aioli, grape tomatoes, and chive "resting on a crisp watercress salad," which, btw, was comprised of three, maybe four at the most, one-inch leaves of watercress- I wouldn't call it a salad!). The burgers, I'm told, are 3 oz. portions, so these are $5 per slider-portioned burger, about three bites, which one can stretch out to four or five knife and fork portions. I must admit that the lamb burger tasted very good, but then again, when did something topped with pesto aioli taste anything but good? If the sweet potato fries I had tonight are "amazingly similar" to that of Delux, then I can cross Delux off my list, as these fries were very disappointingly soggy and greasy; Those that I found crispy enough tasted great. I asked if these fries could be made crispier and was told that their sweet potato fries will be served softer than their regular fries or tots. To their defense, they did serve me a new batch of sweet pots that were fried longer, but these fries hugely lacked the flavor that the first batch had. I left the restaurant with the intention of never returning, but perhaps I will visit again and try two more burgers (buffalo, ostrich) and a side of slaw or mac n'' jack... Nah! I'll just take my $15 to Tandoori Times and for the same price enjoy TWO satisfying Tandoori wraps [try the paneer wrap (made with home-made BIG slices of cottage cheese- they looked like tofu, the slices were that big- and served with delicious tamarind sauce) and the Tandoori chicken wrap...mmmm!!] or have the dinner special which is served with a salad, one naan, and Basmati rice; One great tip from me to you- the channa masala, a veggie entree made with garbanzo beans, clearly won when pitted against the Wednesday special of coconut curry chicken!! Wow! .
If ever I crave for sweet potato fries, I'll just head over to Redfish Seafood Grill and Bar in Chandler. $2 will buy you a plate-full of large, perfectly-crisped sweet potato fries that do not need gourmet aiolis to make them appetizing (if you really need a dip to drown them in, I'm sure the kitchen can whip one up for you- perhaps something similar to the lemon beurre blanc sauce used to top their delicious grilled crabcakes!).
p.s. While refreshingly tasty, the two sips of iced water I had put a negative cap to my dinner at Stax... I thought I detected cucumber, and sure enough, to my horror, there was a delicate thin-slice of cucumber, so thin I failed to see it!, nestled between the ice cubes- another allergy :(
I visited Stax, again, last night.
I'm sticking to my story about the fries. The fries at Delux are more crispy, but, very similar. Stax's were the same as my previous visit. I guess I need to try Redfish for comparison. Last night, I had the jalapeno aioli, and it was better than the the spicy aioli, I had, before.
I tried the ostrich. I'd never had ostrich, before. I thought it tasted good. It was infused with pesto.
I also had another beef burger. This time, I specified it be more on the rare side of medium-rare. It was cooked perfectly, and very tasty.
I also asked for water, since I don't like the little warm bottles of soda, and I also got this shaving of cucumber. I'm not allergic, I just didn't like it!
Went to Delux tonight to try the sweet potato fries there. We also ordered the Delux burger and the Fish sandwich. I took a bite of the burger... delicious! Then I had a bite of the fish sandwich (mahi-mahi) without any tartar sauce, and was impressed. But after a few bites of the burger, I lost interest in the mahi-mahi (and the tartar sauce didn't increase the flavor of the fish; it may even downgraded the fish sandwich for me).
Onto the sweet potato fries-- I did NOT enjoy these at all! They were thin and soggy. I don't know why I did not complain to the server and ask for a new crispy batch (server said they would have accomodated)... perhaps I did not want to appear too high-maintenance to my friend... I already am high-maintenance as I have food allergies to contend with. Normally I would not continue eating the fries when they're soggy, but I did :( Stax sweet pots, IMO, are much better, and you know how I disliked them. Better to head over to Simply Burgers and have their below-average sweet potato fries... at least you'll get chipotle mayo to dip them in! Oh well... I'm sure some chowhounders will eventually try Redfish Seafood Grill's sweet pots (which are, in my opinion, are the best so far... I haven't tried the sweet pots in Gilbert) and write in to say that they thought they were, as the Brits would say, shiite! To each his/her own.
I do want to reiterate again that the delux burger was delicious. The value is pretty good, as well. Bigger portion compared to the mahi-mahi sandwich. I don't agree with the assessment that two Stax burgers are equal in proportion to a Delux burger... One thing Stax has going for it is that customers can order different grinds.
I think that's a much better idea, to be perfectly honest. I went for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, and I have to say, I was disgusted by what was served to me. I ordered the single ($7.29) and I couldn't taste any meat - a slight char flavor, but overwhelmingly greasy. I'm not sure what that chili was doing on my burger, but it was tasteless. I passed on the chips, and I'm sure glad I did because not only were they undersalted and bland, but the burger game me enough stomach problems for the next four hrs and I didn't even finish half! I highly doubt I will return.
Went to Stax for the first time last night after seeing a TV spot on AZ family. I must say I enjoyed myself greatly. The menu is simple but still offers patrons lot of options on how they can build their own burgers. Various meat and veggie grinds give customers the ability to truly take control of their burger options.
While the food concept is creative, what impressed me the most was their extensive 1/2 bottle wine list. I can't think of anyplace in town where you can enjoy an organic custom order burger with a great glass of Opus One.
Service was pleasant and with a great smile. The owner (Robert and his wife) made us feel right at home with their warm hospitaliy and conversation.
A major plus for late night foodies and "industry" people is that they are open till midnight. While this place has a Scottsdale address, it was nice to not feel like we were surrounded by the typical Scottsdale croud.
As with all new restaurants I am sure they will be some tweeking and changing. I feel that their concept is strong enough that they will be fine...
If you are looking for a fun new casual spot with a Killer wine list Stax is for you!!
We hit Stax today for the first time and all enjoyed it. Would be happy to go back.
Ordered the Caprese salad, Moroccan lamb burger (went back for another), veggie burger, buffalo burger, ostrich burger, salmon burger (all in the recommended preparations) and sweet potato fries. Also had the turkey burger (no bun, pineapple, guac), beef burger with Wiz and the ostrich burger (no bun with pineapple, tomato. bacon for the dairy allergic daughter).
Everything was quite good. Did note that the ostrich burger was quite dry (especially noticeable in the custom preparation) as I guess you would likely expect as it has so little fat. It was still quite tasty in the recommended preparation.
Thought the sweet potato fries were quite good and definitely not soggy. Would still give the nod to Delux but would be happy to order them again. Not sure if they've changed their presentation but that seems even Delux-ish with the paper in the metal basket.
My personal faves were the Moroccan lamb burger & the buffalo burger. Think the salmon burger & the veggie burger were the other favorites.
Poor Stax. Had a nice meal there tonight with the family. Looking out the window, the Scottsdale version of Delux is opening almost directly across the street - east side of Scottsdale road. There is a construction site with Delux banners hanging (which btw is awesome - why can't all these construction sites tell us what is coming???). What a bummer for Stax though. Couldn't get any closer. Crazy.
I'm not sure if the opening of one means the demise of the other. Let's hope that AZ diners can support two unique burger eateries within the same block. If I recall, there's another gourmet burger place planning to open nearby, so combined with these (and Roaring Fork, AZ88, and others), this might become ground beef central.
Sorry for the bad pun, but competition can be a good thing. I hope they poke each other enough to deliver better products, service and deals.