Estate House - Scottsdale, AZ
- ejs1492 Feb 9, 2008 07:56 PM
We had dinner at Estate House tonight and, although I wasn't taking notes, I thought I'd share a few quick remarks since we were quite impressed.
A quick bit of perspective: we originally had plans to go to Humble Pie tonight and made reservations earlier in the week. We then found out, yesterday, that my prengant wife is being induced early this coming Wednesday. So we gave our Humblie Pie reservations to another couple and had a pre-birth celebratory dinner tonight. (Sidenote: when our friends called Humble Pie to say they were running a few minutes late, they had no record of the reservation) We have been hearing about Estate House. It's the "fine dining" component the new Southbridge development just south of the canal in downtown Scottsdale, and seemed like a good way to celebrate our forthcoming new addition.
Well, fine dining it was. There was no scene, no pretense, and no attitude. The room itself (which also has several private dining areas) is absolutely beatiful, yet still intimate. The staff is well dressed, impeccably trained and doesn't miss a beat. Keep in mind that this place opened last night, and they already have their act together.
Here are some random comments:
We had two appetizers to start - a Beef Pave and Gulf Shrimp and Salmon Croquettes. The Beef Pave was a short-rib-like piece of braised beef, served in a light sauce. Very good, with a strong beef flavor. I was less impressed with the shrimp but the rest of the table loved it. It was served with some green onions, and the salmon was particularly flavorful.
I had a potato, red pepper and white anchovy salad and my wife had an endive salad served with foie gras toast and quince jelly. Her salad was FABULOUS. Perfectly dressed and lots of foie gras. I thought my salad was great, until I tasted hers.
I had a rack of veal, my wife had linguini carbonara, and my mother-in-law had a ribeye steak. Everyone really enjoyed theirs. My wife's pasta was very fresh and served with a duck egg on top. I am not going in to detail because I didn't take notes, but the food quality was excellent, the preparations simple, and the portion sizes generous. In general, entrees were in the $28 - $35 range. I'm sparing you the details but 1) this isn't a comprehensive review and 2) I don't remember them!
The bread, which was always present, included a choice of four different selections. The chef told us that two of them were from Simply Bread but the best one, which had blue cheese in it, was made in-house. All bread was served with good butter as well as a lightly infused olive oil.
We had two desserts - a chocoalte sampler and a hot chocolate and chestnut canoli combination.
Final thoughts: the details made this dinner special. The service was absolutely impeccable. They have LOTS of staff; water glasses were always full, bread replenished, etc. Everyone at the table commented how un-rushed they felt; the pacing of the meal was perfect. We sat down at 6:30 and walked out at 9 pm. The tables are well spaces, large, and comfortable.
The wine list was large, but not too big to manage. My wife is pregnant but the manager made her a delicious virgin cocktail with fresh pear juice and I am a by-the-glass wine drinker. About 10-12 wines by the glass for both red and white. At least 12-15 sparkiling wines/champagnes by the glass. A very large cocktail list; they apparently have an upstairs lounge which we did not explore.
According to my wife, all women must check out the restrooms. Each stall has its own sink! Alas, the men's room was nice but not quite as exciting!
It is very refreshing to see a restaurant that has so much money and hype behind it which isn't trendy. Yes, it's beautiful and not exactly inexpensive. But everyone was so professional and kind. The chef came by our table and wanted to know what we ordered, and what we did and didn't like. Paul, who some may remember as the Director of Romance at The Royal Palms, also works there now and came by our table to chat. (We got married at The Royal Palms, so we recognized him) The manager also came by to make sure we were happy. The bussers, water refillers, bread steward, etc were all very well trained and really added to the overall experience. Little details matter.
The food was not based on powerful flavors but, rather, subtle ones derived from quality ingredients. It is interesting to note that the chef was previous at Cafe ZuZu at the Valley Ho. Someone too a real gamble on him to bring him in to run a fine dining establishment but it looks like their gamble will pay off.
Estate House adds a dimension to the fine dining scene that doesn't exist elsewhere in town. There are definitely finer meals (I think the food at Binkley's is more "impressive" and challenging), more expensive meals, and more interesting meals, but the overall experience at Estate House was clearly more than the sum of its parts.
Tough call. If you haven't been to T Cooks, it's great. Estate House is also great but there is a little more risk since they are still new. If you do go, let Paul know in advance that it's your anniversary. He used to be at T Cooks and went to Estate House. He'll make it very special.
Binkleys is also a great anniversary place.....if you have not yet been. Same price range as the others you mentioned. Again, tell them it's a special occasion and they'll personalize the menu.
In my opinion, having dined at all three places, Estate House is a better choice than T. Cooks. They have a more interesting menu and a refreshing attitude about what fine dining in phoenix should be. Binkley's is always great but the drive is a killer, especially after a couple glasses of wine. If the drive is not a concern you might want to think about Kai.
Thanks for the great review, and I hope everything worked out well with the baby. We definitely have to try Estate House. We love T. Cooks as well (married at the Royal Palms, too), but our last visit there in December was good, not great. Admittedly, it was a small business group (about 20), and they did a great job for us, but I thought the food was missing something. Thanks again.
Give this place some time to iron out the kinks. The service was atrocious and the $39 steak was overcooked. It's beautiful and has great potential, but it was a complete disappointment. We were seated for 25 minutes before we received the menu. The appetizer took another 20 minutes and the waiter couldn't have been less interested in our table. High point - the blue cheese brioche bread (which did come on time and with frequency). Don't waste your money here until they've worked the bugs out. You'll be frustrated.
I couldn't agree more with your review. My experience was almost identical! In fact, our server never stopped by our table one time to ask if everything was ok! Not once! In fact, I had to flag down someone else for the pepper grinder. I had a party of 6. All of us dining there for the first time on my suggestion. I was completely embarrassed! I rarely make bad calls when it comes to restaurants and I should've "screened" this one first before inviting others.
Reluctantly went upstairs to the bar area after dinner. Better experience because no food was involved and by this time the manager was aware of our disaster of a dinner. I won't go back for dinner any time soon, but the live music/bar area upstairs will surely see me again.
phxfoodie: Give it another try. I have been there 3 times since opening and had one shaky experience early on, but two awesome ones. The food is incredible and the staff has been so well trained and desires to make the night perfect.. I know what you mean about the bar upstairs, and the manager. He is the epitome of being professional and gracious. The views are wonderful and the martini's perfect!