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House of Tricks

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Nancy Nosher and I made the trek from N. Scottsdale to House of Tricks in Tempe last nite. We have had several good meals there in the past and have found it to be worth the drive. The menu is fairly extensive and quite interesting and the wine list is comprehensive as well. Worth noting is the fact that they have a decent open wine program with about 10 reds and 10 whites available by the glass, a practice that other places should consider in place of offering cheap plonk listed as house wine and sold at unconscionable markups.
Nancy started witht the stuffed poblano which was stuffed to overflowing with cheese, corn, onions and served on a red pepper sauce. She enjoyed it and was gracious enough to offer me a taste. It was delicious. I started with the seared scallops with prosciutto and asparagus on a yellow tomato beurre blanc. It too was excellent and I used a spoon to scrape up every trace of the sauce.
Since N is a teetotaller, I ordered a glass of white wine which was served so cold that it made my teeth ache. I excused this thinking that their wine cooler was running cold last nite. When the zinfandel that I ordered with my meat course was served at the same temperature, I returned it. The waiter brought me another, supposedly warmer pour, but it was the same, so I passed on the wine.
For mains, Nancy had the duck breast on risotto which she said was very good. I had the short ribs, which I often order when the are available. (They are particularly good at Roaring Fork.) The server had advised me that there were somewhat fatty, but when the meat quivered as he placed the plate on the table, I knew that I hade made a bad choice. There were huge chunks of glistening white fat throughout the meat which normally are rendered out of the meat during the long cooking that short ribs require. The accompanying dumplings were flattened torpedos of a doughy mixture which had been fried and did not remind me of any dumplings that I have ever had before. The braising liquid was very flavorful and had the meat been less fatty, the dish would have been a hit.
We will definitely give it another try.

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  1. Interesting. My wife and I stopped by there for a drink after the company Xmas party and I had the same problem with their wine. I had a red that was unforgiveably cold so it stood no chance of opening up. I assumed it was because we were outside at the bar and it was a cold night.

    1. If you like the short ribs at Roaring Fork, you should definitely try them at Robert McGrath's new venture - Pischke's Blue Ribbon - they are amazing. I haven't been to House of Tricks since college, but I think I need to give it another chance.

      1. hi there neville,

        so sorry you had a bad time there!! we were there about 10 days ago for my belated b-day dinner :) we all had the foie appetizer *we didn't feel like sharing* and i had the scallops, my friend had the lamb, and i can't remember what the other friend had ;) we shared an oregon pinot. everything was fantastic. all wonderful....however i'm with zeb - sitting outside would chill the heck out of any red....we were inside and had no problems....

        1 Reply
        1. re: winedubar

          Hi windubar
          Although there were a few disapointments, we would definitlely return. We did sit inside, however, so the wine was cold because it was kept at frigid temperatures.
          I had the foie last time I was there and it was very good as was everything else.
          I always have a problem with the servers' recommendations at restos when they say "my favorite is.....". I should have listened this time