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Sep 22, 2007 05:31 AM

Wild Horse Pass Comments

I have been at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort for the past few days on business, and checked out this board for ideas on where to eat. I am glad I did, because that is what convinced me to fork over the dough to try Kai here in the hotel. I had the cheaper ($140, with wine) tasting menu, while my wife ordered off the menu. Without going through all of the food (all of which was first-rate), what really made the place remarkable was the choreographed service. It was like a piece of performance art. Dishes would wisk in place in unison, and, when empty, would disappear in a like manner. All of the motions were smooth as silk. Really remarkable. Although expensive, this was a real case of getting what you paid for, both in terms of the quality and variety of food and the table-side ballet.

As an aside, one notable feature of the place--and something my wife and I saw in France, but have never before seen in the U.S.--was how the restaurant dealt with the fact that my meal had about five (six? seven? I lost count) courses, while my wife's had two. They refused to just make her sit and wait while I ate. Each time I had an additional course, they would place some small, complementary morsel in front of her so she would have something while I was eating.

One more interesting note. The hotel's lounges' mixed drinks are pretty typical--and expensive. Lots of mixer, and nothing to write home about. (We had ordered the lounge's special Margarita. The bar tender used Patron Tequila and Contreau, and then proceeded to use his spray gun to add the mix!!!! Why would anyone ruin such first class ingredients like that?) Kai's drinks, while also expensive, are much better and more interesting.

All in all, a completely satisfying experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone.

Last night, looking to slum it a bit, we decided to go off the reservation (was that pun intended? I'm not really sure) and ate at Z'Tejas in Chandler. While it may be a slightly gimicky chain (albeit a regional one)--and waaay too noisy, it is really not bad. We may well have had the best restaurant Margaritas in my memory. If they used a mix, it was a pretty darned good one (I actually had the pomegranate version). Good food, good drinks--so what if we suffered hearing loss?

Oh yes, and one more food-related comment. You know how so many hotels put those little coffee makers and coffee pods in the rooms, but the coffee they generate is invariably vile? This hotel has the same coffee makers, but uses Starbucks coffee pods. The coffee that comes out actually tastes like Starbucks' coffee. While I am not a particular fan of the distinctive taste of Starbucks' coffee, it is far from vile. (I realize "far from vile" may not seem like much of a complement, but believe me when I say that, when my jet-lagged self awakens at 3:30 in the morning desparate for a cuppa coffee, that distinctive "far from vile" Starbucks flavor sure tastes good.)

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  1. Thank you for writing this. Kai is just an amazing restaurant. The choreographed service is spectacular and the quality of the food is top notch.

    That is very nice that they provided nibbles for your wife while you were on other courses. Very thoughtful.

    After my experience there, I think Kai is one of the, if not the, finest dining experiences in Phoenix metro.

    5594 W. Wildhorse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

    1. pgreen - Thanks for the report. You have confirmed that I've made a good decision to dine at Kai for my wedding anniversary dinner in November.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bgut1

        Let them know it's your anniversary (if they don't already ask). They made ours a perfectly wonderful time last month.

        1. re: zebcook

          My boyfriend and I went there for our 8 year anniversary back in August. It was nice that our server addressed me as Mrs. Curtis - I believe they assumed that we were married because of such a long relationship, but it was a classy gesture nonetheless, so I didn't correct him :-) An incredible experience from start to finish and truly first class. Love, love, loved it!

          1. re: zebcook

            I have - Thanks for the suggestion.

        2. Out of curiosity, did you try the Sivlik Grill @ Whirlwind? I've tried their fry bread taco and a couple different sandwiches and have always been underwhelmed (especially for the prices). They have a bright, flashing sign alongside the I-10 advertising the restaurant, and it's always baffled me because it's primarily aimed at the golf crowd on-site, complete with flighty waitresses and slow service.

          1 Reply
          1. re: azhotdish

            We did not. According to the write-up, it was closed for dinner, and we never really did much for lunch. We did, however, take the boat ride from the hotel to the casino, with the thought of going to the casino lounge for a drink and killing an hour or so and then eating at the casino restaurant. Although the restaurant menu looked somewhat appealing (and the prices quite a bargain), this was among the most depressing spaces (and I am speaking of the casino overall, not the restaurant) I have ever experienced. From the outside, the casino looks like an unholy hybrid of an adobe temple and a nuclear bunker. If the big war ever comes, this is the place to escape the blast while gambling (and, presumably, eating bargain-priced food). The inside was your typical casino dark and dreary. Bleh. So, we took the return boat ride out of there (which is how we ended up at Z'Tejas).