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Jan 25, 2008 10:14 AM

Scottsdale decisions. Any mistakes?

Hey guys! i just made reservations based on my synthesized comments from all those fab replies for our week in scottsdale at the 4 seasons. whatdoyouthink?
Cowboy Ciao (Sun), T.Cooks (Mon), Tapino (Tues), Mastro Steakhouse (Wed.), Sassi (Th), Mosaic(Fr).

1. should we do richardsons rather than t. cooks (anniversary dinner).
2. should we do sol y sambra rather than tapino?
3. i really want a good fish/sushi but i have a shellfish allergy so sea saw won't work for us because the menu is too limited and there is no sushi.
4. is the food at mosaic overrated? the atmosphere looks so cool.
5. is mastros too generic?

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  1. 1. No. T Cook's is the perfect venue for an occasion that special. Richardson's isn't remotely romantic.
    5. Mastro's is pretty impressive, if you really like steak or giant seafood platters, or if you're feeling tony or wanting to show off a bit. It's tough to have an intimate dinner there, though. However, you could swap your Mastro's night for Richardson's and pay a lot less, and get some local flavor in a neighborhood grill joint. It kind of depends on your mood or your priorities for the night -- you'll get good food either way.

    5 Replies
    1. re: themis

      thanks. the stone inside mastros looks very cool although it is very expensive but if the steak is superb it is worth it. Everyone says T. Cooks is fantastic but the decor looks a bit over the top. We considered Binkelys instead of t. cooks as well. Tough decision.

      1. re: marbet815

        the decor is not over the top at all. it is favorite setting for a meal in AZ when I am at the 4 Seasons. you will love it. very romantic and perfect for an a nniversary.

      2. re: themis

        i agree but when you are a total carnivore, as we are, we need to consume a great big porterhouse to clog our arteries at least one a week. should i substitute any of the others for richardsons?

        1. re: marbet815

          It is a good thing to keep up the level and not give that sneaky good cholesterol a chance to gain the upper hand.. :) Bear in mind that RIchardsons is far from Vegan.

          1. re: AzDumpling

            It's almost impossible to clog your arteries more anywhere else than at Richardson's!

      3. It is not that Mastro's is generic but lord knows you can get a great steak in any city. Whereas Richardson's is not something you can get just anywhere. It is nice when here from the East Coast to try something not available at home.

        1. You have a nice list. I would agree with the others that Mastro's is very good, but I'm sure you can get a good steak where you live. I would suggest swapping Sol y Sombra for Tapino. This is not a slap at Tapino, which I enjoy, but Sol y Sombra offers better food and atmosphere, and is certainly more unique. I would probably do Rancho Pinot Grill (more unique to the area) over Mastro's or Sassi, but it seems you are trying to stay pretty far north in Scottsdale. Regardless, I'm sure you'll enjoy all of your choices. Have a great trip.


          10 Replies
          1. re: barry

            Ok. i just changed switched tapino to sol y sambra. a lot of people have recommended rancho pinot grill in reply to my last post, but the website makes the restaurant look a bit cheesy, like an olive garden atmosphere. am i off base here?

            1. re: marbet815

              Rancho Pinot is an eclectic blend of cowboy artifacts and European bistro. The little touches are all around, but not overbearing. Matter of fact, once the food and the wine begin, you'll be hard-pressed to even notice them - they are little touches and just seem to fit in. I'd typify the total "scene" there as upscale casual: some gentlemen in jackets, but most in sweaters. There is a "homey" atmosphere and that usually goes for the service, which has always been familiar, comfortable, and efficient.

              As for the question of T. Cook's v Richardsons, while I enjoy Richardson's, it would never come to my mind for an anniversary dinner. T. Cook's would.

              Mastro's has never made a good impression on me, but with all of the folk, who swear by it, I must have just had several bouts of poor timing. I do agree with others, that good steakhouses exist in almost every city, and I did not see anything (in my visits) to indicate that you'd likely encounter anything, that you could not find in Chicago, Indaianapolis, etc.. Were it my list, I'd add Binkley's, but that is just me. BTW, the atmosphere at Binkley's is similar to that of Rancho Pinot, without the "brands" on the wooden furniture - upscale casual. T. Cook's is a bit more formal, but, for me, that is NOT a bad thing. Also, the food at Binkley's will make you think that you are in a much more formal restaurant.


              1. re: Bill Hunt


                M&M Jfood coming to your fine city next week and am hoping you could give us top five choices. We seem to have similar tastes from dicussions on NOLA board.

                As you know the jfoods do not drink so looking for regional good stuff, mid to high end. Wednesday and Saturday night open. Staying at Biltmore but have a car. Already looking into the websites of your listings here.


                1. re: jfood


                  Glad you're coming to these environs. The food scene is surprisingly good in in the Phoenix-Metro area. The surprise is usually for those in areas of the US, that are considered more food-centric, than is AZ.

                  Fist stop for you would be to locate the Superbowl thread on this board. There were a lot of great recs in that thread. I had very few quibbles with any spot mentioned and probably commented on those.

                  Next, the Biltmore Area is very "central." You will be in Phoenix, but not that far from Scottsdale. Remember, Phoenix-Metro is huge and the freeway/Interstate system is not the best, though adequate (except for the constant re-construction). There is NO public transportation. No tube, rail, or similar. Once you have a handle on the spots that you'd like to hit (from that Superbowl post), we can tailor your route so you can make it in the shortest time, with the least amount of grief.

                  I'll have to tailor my normal recs., as I include wine into all dining experiences. Still, the food here is great and quite diverse, though not as ethnically oriented as say NYC, San Francisco or LA.

                  Depending on what the transportation situation is, I'd put Binkley's (up north a good bit) as a must-do.

                  Just did Wright's AT the Biltmore for our anniversary (review to follow soon, I hope) and was impressed. It was first time there in some years, and they hit the high notes well.

                  Look over the Superbowl thread, and get an idea. There are a lot of "Link(s) to Place" in that thread, so having MapQuest open might help you a bit. Once you have your short-list done, post an article on your ideas, and I, and others, will be glad to chime in. Note: in the Superbowl thread, IIRC, things are laid out by region. You will want to eschew Glendale, Peoria, Buckeye, etc., and concentrate on Phoenix and Scottsdale. Do not recall what names, or numbers, those regions got.

                  For a frame of reference, Binkley's is the Brigtsen's of Phoenix-Metro.

                  The Usual Suspects:
                  T. Cooks
                  Wright's (at the Biltmore)
                  Cowboy Ciao
                  Vincent's on Camelback

                  Oops, Link to Place just crapped out on me. I'll post those in a minute, when I can Reply to this reply.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    OK, trying again:

                    Looks like they took this time. I see why it is still a "beta."

                    Let us hear from you, once you have done the preliminary research. Lots of great spots.


                    Sea Saw
                    7133 E Stetson Dr Ste 1, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    Cowboy Ciao
                    7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                    3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                    T Cooks At the Royal Palms
                    5200 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                    Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa: Wright's at the Biltmore
                    2400 E Missouri, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                    Vincent On Camelback
                    3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Thanks Bill.

                      Mrs Jfood will have to "suffer" at Biltmore for 2 nites while jfood works and Binkley's looks great. Jfood went to Deseo at Westin a few months ago and liked it a lot. How would you place this resto in this crowd.

                      1. re: jfood

                        I'd rate it right up near the top. We find that we do Binkley's and Vincent's the most. Next level would probably be SeaSaw, then Deseo & Cowboy Ciao. Now, remember, that I am also factoring in the wine-element in my choices.

                        Immediately in the Biltmore area, Christopher Gross' bistro is another good choice. He has talked of moving, but I think he's still there and his cooking is great. Only problem that I have had was regarding the wines (not an issue for the Jfoods), and with his ex-wife/sommelier, Paola.

                        Also, we had a great breakfast at the Westin Kierland in a strangley named spot (cannot recall that strange name at the moment, but I did a mini-review on the SW board, after my rec. for breakfast spots in that area), that share some of the Deseo space in the AM. I'll poke around to see if I can get that name. In the past, we've had good breakfasts at The Biltmore, out on their patio, overlooking the pool. Cannot recall the official name of that spot, but it's just north off of the main lobby. Not inexpensive, but good.

                        Back to the Westin Kierlands, I like the Blue Sage rest., but I am a fan of Chef Mark Miller. It is a bit downscale, but has always come through for me. It is not the experience that Deseo is, but is interesting. There is a good cigar bar in the Westin too, though their prices are really "up there." I have most of their selections in my wine cellar, so I only spend time there, when wife is hosting a bunch of folk, and we go there to do Port n' cigars. Imagine the Gurka "pre-imbargo" Cubans going for US$150 and I have a box, that cost me ~US$25/stick. While I do not mind spending my $'s for great whatevers, I do hate to feel hosed. Still, if wife is hosting a bunch of Drs. from Philadelphia, and they want a cigar bar, I hardly flinch.

                        Now, do you have any little Jfoods going to ASU? I thought they were all at Tulane.


                        PS the breakfast rest. in Westin is: Nellie Cashman's Monday Club Cafe (same location as Deseo)

                        Christophers Fermier Brasserie
                        2584 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                        Deseo: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
                        6902 E Greenway Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Thanks so much Bill and Misohungrychewlow -

                          Wednesday at Cowboy Ciao and Saturday Vincent's.

                          Will post reviews of these places.

                          1. re: jfood

                            I've only eaten at Cowboy Ciao once and that was a while ago, but FWIW I don't think it was anywhere near being at the same level as some of the other places will look forward to your report jfood, but did want to pass along a bit of a cautionary note.

                            I haven't tried Kai but based on the reports here on CH I'd put it on my list...(bit of a shlep from the Biltmore, however. Ok, more than a bit...)

                        2. re: jfood

                          jfood's pooch -- tell mr&mrs jfood that Chef Vincent on Camelback and Tarbell's are very good recs near the hotel. If they feel like having a tasty breakfast or a croissant or a croque, consider Au Petit Four in the Esplanade across the street from Biltmore Fashion Park. Hankering for a burger? Roaring Fork on Scottsdale Road (4800 block). Japanese? Try Hana on 7th Ave. & Missouri, straight shot from the hotel ... Sushi and other specialties served by a family with passion. No alcohol although they allow BYO. Take a little drive? Kai at the Wild Horse Pass resort has drawn wide acclaim for fare that may not be duplicated elsewhere.

            2. as for sushi.. I would try going to Yasu Sushi Bistro off Cactus and Paradise Village Parkway in Phoenix. It was voted one of the best new restaurants of 2008.

              2 Replies
              1. re: plsedntfdmodels

                And, don't forget Greasewood Flats, esp. on sunday afternoons, around 3pm when the bikers roll in..have a green chili bacon cheeseburger (can ask for it med rare) or the chili. A lot of fun and across the street from the hotel.

                1. re: ljero

                  Definitely plan time for for Greasewood Flats if the weather while you're here is anything like it was this afternoon - 78 and perfect. We were coming home from Flagstaff and often don't get up to this neighborhood so decided we needed to stop today and hang out on their patio and enjoy a most respectable burger with an ice cold beer on a beautiful sunny day. it's a great way to spend a nice afternoon.

                  we're also fans of Mosaic and Binkley's which have both been recommended to you already here. The hotel will drive you over to Mosaic which is great, don't know if they run as far as Binkley's or not, but definitely ask, I wouldn't be surprised if they do and you'll be able to enjoy the wine pairings so much more with a ride.

                  If time allows stop in at Cave Creek Coffee too, maybe for dessert one evening.

              2. Rancho Pinot is far from cheesey and nothing like Olive Garden. A very good choice.