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Digestif, Scottsdale

Has anyone tried Digestif in Scottsdale yet.
It's supposed to be a rustic Italian place, and I'm curious to know how the food is.

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  1. Haven't been yet, but am planning to try. Will report back

    1. My DH and I took a cooking class last Thursday night (the night before Digestif was to open) taught by Tracy Dempsey. We were going to try it last weekend but she was telling us about how one stove wasn't working, the pastry fridge either didn't work or hadn't been delivered (can't recall which), and various other things that, to their credit, I am sure happens w/ new restaurants. Anyway, we decided to wait a month till they work out their kinks. Tracy did say she thinks the meatballs are the best things on the menu.

      1. The vibe of the room worked for me and with Pavle running the front and Peyton in the back then good things should follow. I do not think that they are shooting for rustic Italian, more a Cali-talian ingredient driven cuisine. I thought the "Farm to Table" dish may be the best veggie dish in town and that comes from a meat-eater. I also tried the knife and fork bruschetta with burrata, PLT (house made cured pancetta and house-made ketchup with the frites was great), olive fans should try the marinated olives, scallop dish, a couple pastas...I will be back to check some more things out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Molto E

          100% fantastic. I haven't been this excited about a new place in a long time. The PLT that Molto E references is FANTASTIC.

          Also had a little warm soup of cauliflour puree with a tiny morsel of sweetbreads (fried) that was heavenly, all pastas are house-made - I tried 2, and literally every single thing I tried was fantastic.

          Didn't try, but heard the meatballs can make you cry they are so good. :)

          I'll be back again and again...

          1. re: HomeCookKirsten

            he has a nice touch with the sweetbreads...

        2. Meatballs at Digestif were good but definitely not in the "make you cry they are so good" way. Two large, tender meatballs each on it's on crunchy crostini for $9 - not a bad value. I would definitely order that again, possibly even as my main with a salad starter. The chicken and dumplings dish ($14) was pretty flavorless, a little too simple. The short rib canneloni ($15) was excellent. There were three other pasta options including a spinach ravioli with butternut squash. Pasta portions are on the smaller side. Sliced classic baguette is from Simply Bread, such good stuff. We tried the tiramisu cheesecake which sounded interesting but neither my husband nor I were fans. The olive oil and vanilla cake was good. It came with mixed fresh berries covered in fresh whipped cream with a scoop of what I think was roseberry sherbet.

          Staff wore rock tshirts which gave the place a relaxed, young vibe. Loved the red brick walls and dim lighting, great atmo. Service was very impressive, you'd never guess they'd only been open a week. Waters were filled by both our server and anyone else who passed by and noticed we were running low, same with our wine glasses. Plates were promptly cleared, crumbs were brushed away, etc. The manager, dressed in a suit and tie, thanked us by name (we had a reservation) on our way out. We felt very well taken care of.

          Overall, I really enjoyed the experience but maybe wasn't as high on the food as a few of the previous posters. The items we had were good, just not amazing. The menu will change frequently to stay true to the farm-to-table concept so it should be an exciting option, especially for pasta lovers.

          1. Is this part of the Southbridge development?

            2 Replies
            1. re: silverbear

              Yes, it is one of the Peter Kasperski (Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, etc.) ventures at Southbridge, which requires a clause in all leases that restaurants/shops be independent/one-off ventures. Chefs must be in Arizona and if they have another restaurant somewhere else, the one at Southbridge must be a totally different concept.

              1. re: silverbear

                Yes, it's a part of the Southbridge development, right next door to FOODBAR.

                It's the latest from Peter Kasperski, and Mexican Standoff and Shell Shock should be coming soon too!

              2. What's the pricepoint? Is it along the lines of the other Kasperski restaurants, or more casual (as in, would you stop in on any given weeknight for a bite, or is a bit more of a "special"/not everyday place)?

                3 Replies
                1. re: crsin

                  Salads $7-$12, crostata ("more pastry than pizza") $9, bruschettone ("knife & fork bruschetta") $9, pastas $14-$16, plates $22-$29

                    1. re: razordogg

                      Plus the little sidebar of "anytime snacks" like the PLT, marinated olives, cheeses, charcuterie, etc. that ranged (if I recall) from $4-12.

                      Wine list was average sized but interesting and good...prices by the glass from $6 to $20-ish and bottles from $22 to over $100. Great range. Also a nice note on the bottom of the menu that the Kasperski "wine book" is available if you can be a bit patient as the wine is retrieved from across the street.

                      I was told they genuinely hope to court the "industry" types and chefs, etc. and so quality and price point have to be there and be solid. Also serve late..I think midnight is the eventual plan. 11-mid once fully open

                  1. I had another dinner at Digestif to explore the menu further and have found some favorites:

                    Rabbit Rillettes-I really am not a rabbit fan and this can probably be tied to watching Bugs B. as a youth so the fact that I found the rillettes delicious is notable...very moist, great starter.

                    "Farm to the Table" with a truffled mushroom tea...very savory for veggies

                    after reading the praise of the meatballs, I asked to Pavle to bring us a few without the bread...very good!

                    TWO WORDS, PORK CHOP...this may be the best pork chop that I have had in a restaurant...very flavorful, succulent, could have taken one to go.

                    The restaurant definitely has a great vibe for a relaxed dining experience with Pavle making sure everyone's experience goes smoothly.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Molto E

                      Do you recall the price of the pork chop and/or the side?

                        1. re: hungryinaz

                          the pork chop was $27...what side?

                            1. re: razordogg

                              I see what the question was now...the escarole was "kissed" in the pan for a little wilt then placed on top of the chop, which was dressed in the pork whole grain mustard jus...the lentils were to the side of the chop

                      1. We tried Digestif last night.

                        Arrived for our early reservation at 6:30 to find the dining room empty except one other two top. Were sat at a two top and settled in to study the menu. Was surprised to see Negronis listed as a signature cocktail....hard to find a bartender that knows how to make one not to mention actually see one featured so had to start with one. Well made but I suspect heavier on the gin than the standard 1-1-1 ratio. Still good and appreciated the Carpano Punt e Mes vermouth that was used. My husband appreciated ahving a few interesting options on the non-alcoholic side: aranciata, maple rootbeer, and bleinheim ginger ale particularly. He tried the root beer as it was something new to him and said it was pretty good though not as good as his favorites(Virgil's, Weinhard's, or Sprechers)

                        The menu is pretty interesting - particularly the crostate, bruschettone, and pasta. But a couple of the fish dishes did call to us. We settled on starting with the calamari bruschettone and then splitting the pappardelle. For entrees husband went with black bass and I opted for the poached sable fish.

                        The bruchettone came out first. Goodness, this was a meal in and of itself. A large slice of bread smothered in a very tasty chorizo and bean mixture and topped with sauteed calamari. The calamari was cooked perfectly. The bean and chorizo was a delicious combination. I'm not sure the calamari necessarily complemented the rest of the dish...though I would have loved a dish of just the calamari. I also could have made a meal of the beans adn chorizo on their own. Didn't need the toasted bread at all to make me happy.

                        Next came the pappardelle which was a mushroom pasta served with a lentil, duck cofit, and beet sauce. Also included some accents of ricotta. The sauce on this was really delicious. The pasta was good and served a true al dente but the real highlight was again the sauce and again I could have made a meal of just this and some bread and left the pasta out.

                        Next the entrees. The pan seared sea bass was cooked perfectly with a nice crust. It was served alongside some greens...the greens were incredibly delicious. My poached sablefish was actually pretty boring. I went with it as a lighter entree option but still found it just kind of blah and boring. The fumet didn't have much flavor at all which was disappointing. The fish was chunked up as they were representing the dish as a type of soup I guess. Along with the fish was sliced fingerling potatoes, tomato concasse and some kalamata olives. It was all cooked well but just lacked flavor.

                        We wanted to try dessert and the olive oil cake was calling me but there wasn't any room left. The bright orange espresso machine at the bar was also calling all night and I had to see if it could make a decent shot. Unfortunately in spite of a nice crema our shots were both quite bitter. Hopefully with time they'll get better at that.

                        The room is nice and comfortable. Service was pleasant...but....oddly we were given time to leisurely look over the menu and once our meal was finished it was a leisurely wait for the bill. But we were rushed through the meal itself which really annoys me and seems to happen more and more anymore. We set our forks down after the bruschettone, the plates were immediately cleared and our pasta arrived within 15 seconds before a new set up could even be brought by the server. We commented to the server and asked that between the pasta and entree we be given more time. I also asked that she bring a glass of prosecco with the entree. Again, as soon as our fork was down the plates were cleared. This time we were brought a set up first but the entree landed on the table within 90 seconds of the pasta being cleared. really. My prosecco arrived about five minutes later. I know we were an early seating on a Friday night but when we left at 8 the room was still more than 1/3 empty. And given the amount of time we were given up front and over our coffee before the bill was brought it was just odd to be rushed through the meal itself. Hopefully this is just a learning curve and will get ironed out...we noticed food arriving quickly at other tables as well.

                        All in all it was a good meal and not terribly expensive coming to $101 before the tip. Given we had two drinks, a $5 soda and two coffees along with the meal we thought this wasn't bad at all. The fish entrees were both $22 which I think is a pretty fair price for a fish entree these days. The bruschettone is very generous and the entrees amply portioned as well. The pasta portion wasn't huge but at least in the case of the pappardelle even if ordered as a entree the sauce was quite rich and you wouldn't be left hungry. The pasta was $14 and this as an entree would be an inexpensive choice.

                        Don't know if we'll rush back. Being old fuddy duddies we don't get up downtown Scottsdale much at night but if we did we'd probably stop in and grab a few nibbles at the bar again rather then a full meal.

                        1. We had a great meal on 3/1 thanks to the folks here. Went with a bunch of recommendations and were not disappointed.

                          Have been been back since probably 5 times?


                          Farm to Table with truffled green tea - totally, totally loved this
                          Rabbit rilletes - thought they were great
                          Knife & fork brushetta with burrata - really enjoyed it, have had it again since
                          McClendon Select salad - perfect tasty light salad to go with everything else
                          Bean with house cured bacon soup - definitely good but not up my alley. Not a super bean guy. Admit to loving Campbell's bean & bacon as a kid so was thinking pureed bean. Not at all. Tons of different beans. My wife really enjoyed. Actually felt kind of healthy.
                          Short rib canneloni - really enjoyed this - will DEFINITELY have again
                          Niman Ranch Pork chop - was as good as advertised here for us - loved it
                          Olive oil and vanilla cake - good but didn't get Tracy Dempsey good. Liked the roseberry sherbet that came with. (My favorite desert of my life is still one of hers - persimmon with goat cheese at Sea Saw - maybe we can beg when she opens Confection??)
                          Vanilla bean/chevre panna Cotta - yummy

                          They also have some great drinks.

                          Love the Pretty Ugli - muddled basil, Acqua di cedro uglifruit liquer, fresh lemon, seltzer, float of Green Chartreuse VEP, over ice. Have had several times since & after sharing a taste, switched the whole table on to them. Perfect summer patio drink.
                          Hendrix gin martini - wife really enjoyed
                          Home made limonatta - I liked it
                          Absinthe - wife really liked it - way too deadly for me but fun though

                          Since then, we've come back for lunch, drinks, etc. I like the fact that you can get out kind of cheap as well.

                          It's also a great spot to meet too. Very central to a ton of other places. Nice patio. Great, interesting drinks. Cool decor. With a bunch of friends in for a conference in Gilbert, it made for an easy jumping off point night after night.

                          Living close, it's pretty cool to be able to just say well let's meet at Stetson Drive & figure it all out from there.

                          From other visits...

                          PLT - also loved. Not too large though.
                          Bacon-wrapped whole roasted garlic - kind of let down with this one, needed to be roasted longer
                          Fish & chips - very good. Ordered for the kids & wanted to steal more the whole time.
                          Frites w/gremolata - yummy
                          Daily Terrine - good. Colleagues really enjoyed.
                          Cheese panini - basically burrata grilled cheese. I dug this in a big way. Kind of rich & makes you want to die but in a good way.
                          Eggplant caponata & mozzarella crostata - wasn't a big fan of the actual crostata itself
                          Meatball brushettone - yummy
                          Beef panini - tasty

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ccl1111

                            Thanks, ziggylu and ccl1111 for your observant reviews -- Digestif is definitely going on my short list. 'makes you wanna die but in a good way' is a pretty good descriptor. I have had that feeling when I have ordered one of Tracey's Cuppa' chile-chocolate ganache desserts after a full meal. "Oh no, this was a mistake." (keeps eating)

                            1. re: themis

                              yes exactly. too rich and oh so can't be good for your arteries but oh well...
                              : )

                            2. re: ccl1111

                              Thanks for the great review. We tried Digestif a couple of weeks ago and loved it. Looks like we tried many of the same items you did. The Absinthe, which was illegal until a January, was interesting and definitely different than other drinks. We're going back with a group of 8 this Saturday night. Maybe we'll see you there.


                            3. Just dropping in a place link for Digestif before I head over there tonight. :-)

                              7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: hohokam

                                We were there last Saturday with a group of 8. I again enjoyed it quite a bit, although some in our party, who are not much into restaurants, didn't like it as much. The rabbit rillete is excellent (and I'm not a big rabbit fan), the farm to table has amazing flavors (although I wish there was more of it), the fork and knife bruschettas are great (especially the calamari), and I like the pastas. The ravioli, by the way, is one giant ravioli covering the plate.

                                I will say that our waiter this time seemed a bit confused/slow, although she was very friendly. We probably didn't help by ordering multiple plates for sharing repeatedly, as opposed to giving her the whole order at the beginning, but the menu kind of lends itself to sharing small plates.

                                Have fun and please report back what you think.


                                1. re: barry

                                  Thanks for the tips. I was planning on doing a solo dining trip, but a small plates format does sort of beg for a group outing. Unfortunately for me, I ended up not going at all. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I was reminded of a remodeling-related task I needed to have wrapped up by this morning. Oh well. Nobody ever said being a grownup was going to be all rilletes and crostini. ;-)

                                  Now for the upside...

                                  Given my lack of time, I decided to stick close to home and ended up making a potentially interesting discovery in an unlikely spot--Pizza a Metro on Thomas @ 24th Ave is a tiny pizza and pasta joint run by a real-live from-Italy Italian fellow. While I was disappointed that I didn't make it to Digestif, I was glad to find a hidden (potential) gem in the neighborhood. Once I sample some more of the food at Pizza a Metro, I will write up a report. Same goes for Digestif.

                                  Thanks again.

                                  1. re: barry

                                    Totally with you on the farm to table. I wish that was about 3 times the size. : )

                                2. More like a bridal shower lunch place. Small portions, ok food.

                                  1. My wife and I ordered an appetizer, bottle of wine and two entrees. The appetizer was better than average and the service was good. The entrees were less than steller. In sum, Digestif is average at best.

                                    1. I agree.

                                      We had a much better experience at Fine's Cellar just down the street

                                      1. I had a very good meal there about a week ago. They had a crabcake special that was fantastic and quite unique. Three large cakes with a tremendous amount of crab, lots of acidity with preserved lemon in the mix, and various other fantastic ingredients including a sauce I can't recall off the top of my head. Had the Farm To Table and the burrata bruchettone, both of which were tasty. For an entree I went with the pork chop which was also a different spin on some classic ingredients and it worked very nicely, the chop was cooked very well and the flavors all great. The goat cheese and peach tart with pistachio ice cream was great, with the cheese very subtle. I wanted to try the meatball bruchetta but could not find it anywhere on the menu. Anyone know if this was removed or if Im just incapable of reading menus? Don't see it online either.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: crsin

                                          Looks like they pulled the meatball dish, crsin. They also pulled the bacon wrapped garlic as well. Those were two dishes J. and I had when we went there, so the menu must have changed for the summer or similar.

                                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                            Hm, I guess I'm surprised. It seemed like they were getting pretty positive reviews on that dish (at least from what I've gathered form this board and your review). Didn't sound like there was anything particularly seasonal about it, so must be gone for good? Shame...

                                        2. Based on the buzz and reviews, I was really excited to try Digestif. In sum, the dinner was disappointing on nearly all fronts. Waited 25 minutes for our waiter to bring our drink order. The pork soup special was tasteless... I kept waiting for the taste to kick in and it never did. The pasta dish I had sounded better on the menu than the execution. Whoever is running the wait staff needs to tighten up the service; it was pathetic. I might give it another try, but not soon.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: wrightp

                                            We had dinner last night at Digestif and had an absolutely wonderful experience, with perhaps the most knowledgable server that I've ever had in a restaurant. Not only did he give us highlights of the menu, he also explained what changes were expected in August (so, perhaps try a great dish that won't be there in a month), talked about their new pork supplier, gave great descriptions for dishes we weren't familiar with, chatted about wine, and gave us a little background on the manager and chef. Ok, in writing that just now, I realize some people may have HATED that sort of detail before even ordering, but it was all exactly the type of information I like when trying a new place. It really made me feel welcome and excited to try several things. Lots of things, actually, and more than a person can fit in one meal!

                                            But we tried:
                                            I started with Salmon Rillettes. Delicious. Bright and lemony, delicious spread over the crostini. Even better when I stole a few pickled veggies from husband's starter plate (waiter suggested I try it - he was right). He had the Daily Terrine (so many ingredients in there, I can't begin to detail), which had a very nice flavor, and Taleggio cheese. Taleggio is very pungent, but it was very good, and the accompaniments were nice with it: pan forte and dried apricots. A little salad on the side made his starter plate almost a meal!

                                            I was in a scallop mood so I went with the Seared Sea Scallops. The menu stated the cauliflower side dish was roasted and pureed, which meant both styles were on the plate (not roasted and then pureed, as I had read it.). I prefer roasted veggies less al dente, so this wasn't my perfect side dish, but flavorful nonetheless. The scallops were near perfection, though. The only better I've had were at Bouchon (Vegas) last month, but for half the price, these at Digestif were stellar.

                                            Husband enjoyed his entree of Tajarin Crab-Onara. He thought the sauce had a great flavor, but would have preferred to see more house bacon. In a crab dish, I think less bacon is probably the better route to go, but he really loves bacon. A lot. I can't stress that enough. Ok, I think I just did. We both love fresh pasta, and the thin noodles in this dish were great, but not necessarily 'light' as the menu states. I was expecting something more like a thin linguini, and the noodles were more like thick spaghetti. The table next to us had the Raviolo, which looked incredible. I can't wait to try more of their handmade pasta.

                                            So, we were too full to try dessert, although they looked fabulous.

                                            In re-reading all of the reviews previously posted, it makes me want to go back tonight for the pork chop! Is that wrong? If it is, I may not want to be right.

                                          2. Thanks so much to all the Chowhounds who recommended this place! I had my birthday dinner there last Friday, & had a wonderful experience!!

                                            (Usually I do a little better job talking about the food, but, hey, the birthday girl shouldn't be expected to keep up on all the details!)

                                            We had something like 14 people, so we got the private side room, so we could have the one huge table. That worked out great, since there was much sharing & sampling.

                                            We started with several of the "Cravings" things passed around the table. Included were the Garlic "Fondue", the Salmon Rillettes, the marinated olives, the Rabbit Rillettes, & at least one other pate. Everything was wonderful, with little twists on pretty much everything. Hard to pick out any favouites, although the GarlicFondue is the kind of thing I could just wallow around in. I'd just had Bouchon's Salmon Rillettes the week before, & Digestif's were different, but just as good. The pate was perfectly seasoned -- none of that effect where it gets boring after a couple of bites. Not a thing I didn't love.

                                            I was also in a cocktail mood, so had a Wise Sage Julep (or 2...) -- sweet, but also herbal. I really enjoyed it with the food, too. Another guest was drinking their Segway, & was really enjoying that as well.

                                            For seconds, I had the Crab & Watermelon salad with olives, capers, mint & olive oil. There was some skepticism around the table, but this was wonderful! You could taste all the parts, & they all played together perfectly. Light & refreshing.

                                            For thirds, they had a special of Southern Fried Confit Chicken. So good -- tender & perfectly done all through, plus the good crispiness. I also sampled the scallops, which were yummy, & the pork chops were also a hit around the table.

                                            I had the chocolate & mint gelato dessert -- just the perfect amount, & light & clean.

                                            Chantal suggested an Agwa as a digestif. I really enjoyed it! Several other guests had digestifs, but I liked mine the best -- followed on really well after the chocolate & minty dessert.

                                            And, since we were there late, Peyton came out & sipped a little wine with us while we were finishing up. Fun!

                                            I was just thrilled with my party, & all the guests have said they had a great time too. Couldn't have asked for a better party. :-)

                                            1. Digestif has become one of my favorite restaurants anywhere & I'm calling it now that it's just a matter of time before Payton Curry has a Beard award. May be an early call but I have faith.

                                              We've always been are big fans of the Kasperski restaurants (Sea Saw, Ciao, Kaz) so have been going to Digestif ever since it opened. I liked the food right away & have always been a fan. I also think they have great, interesting drinks which is a bonus.

                                              Toward the end of December we had a meal there that caused a major paradigm shift though. While we were fans of Digestif, I'd always thought of it as a bit of a "scene" place. Anyway, we'd done our company Christmas lunch there & had a bunch of great drinks so the Mrs. & I decided that for our anniversary we were going to go have a couple drinks, some apps & then hit a movie.

                                              Well we did have some apps & some drinks & they were wonderful - so much so that we decided to head back after the movie for more. At t his point, I think the killer drinks might have been the initial draw. We loved the fennel & beer pork sausage, the Segwey martini & the Chartreuses.

                                              When we got back, the bartender we were sitting with had cashed out so we were sat with Joshua. Turned out to be amazingly lucky. Joshua is a food psycho (in the best way). Former cook/chef at crazy name places across the country. Well, we pretty much put ourselves in his hands & had a mind blowing meal. Made me feel terrible for ever thinking of Digestif as a "scene" place & elevated it instantly up to the level of my very favorite restaurants in the state.

                                              Some of the highlights of that meal were unbelievable foie gras. I mean La Belle Farms foie is always wonderful so how could it really stand out, right? It just did. The preparation was amazing. Rabbit confit & persimmon - absolutely love this dish. I've not been able to go back since & not order this. Pate was amazing. I'm pretty much just completely blown away with Digestif's charceuterie. Can't get enough of it. The burrata brushettone was amazing as well. The deserts (we already love Tracy Dempsey from Sea Saw & other) were also amazing, that night specifically the butternut squash & ricotta fritters. So good. We also did a bunch more cocktails (absinthe, chartreuses, gin sling, negroni) that were fun & wonderful.

                                              Since then, we've been back and had matching experiences. Other standouts for us are the carrot fettucini w/lamb, Niman Ranch pork chop and the brownie & chocolate malted semifreddo - looks like just a brownie sundae but oh no...

                                              I also love, love, love the fact that Payton Curry, Tracy Dempsey, Pavle Milic & a bunch of the other Digestif staff are at OTFM (Old Town Farmer's Market) weekly. So cool to be able to talk & interact with them, eat their food in an uber casual way & get tips. Helps unbelievably that they are ridiculously nice & personable.

                                              Huge, huge fan.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ccl1111

                                                Now I'm hungry!

                                                Thanks for this reminder on how good Digestif is - I've been a huge fan since our first visit. If we lived closer, Digestif would be one of our regular haunts.

                                                1. re: ccl1111

                                                  I don't recall ever seeing foie on the Digestif menu (and still don't see it on the on-line menu). Is this something new or was it off-menu?
                                                  We love this place for the food and the creative cocktails (and the staff always rocks!)

                                                2. Payton Curry and the whole staff made the experience for a visiting Montrealer and his family a memorable experience. We had wood fired oven Whole Red Snapper and we will NEVER forget the exceptionally tasty smoke flavor. Highly recommend if it's the only restaurant you try in Scottsdale. The wine list is the biggest I have seen in a long time and very good bargains to be had!
                                                  Hurry up as places like these loose their chefs faster than you can wink!
                                                  $340 tax and tip in for 6 ... not cheap but well worth the price!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: didcrywolf

                                                    I agree! The friendly staff is definitely one of the things that make Digestif stand out. We were there last Saturday night to meet friends for drinks before dinner at Cowboy Ciao, greeted with warm friendly hugs from Payton and Pavle, and enjoyed the excellent cocktails (for me the Digestif Cocktail and the Segway), and a couple of delicious appetizers - the bruschettone with fennel sausage, and the giant egg and ricotta truffle raviolo.

                                                    The whole menu looked so good, some of our friends half-jokingly suggested canceling our Cowboy Ciao reservation - we definitely have to get back to Digestif for dinner soon.

                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                      Chef Payton Curry went "whole hog" on Friday night with a supplemental menu of porky goodness. It was our second visit to Digestif and it was just as good - and fun - as the first.

                                                      Upon arrival, we were greeted by Pavle, the smiling host, and the ever-organized and competent Mari from Spaghetti Western. Although the place was quite full, we were given the choice of inside or outside seating. They were filming a segment for a reality show called "Back of the House" so we asked to be seated inside to catch the action. Payton seemed cool as a cucumber, playing to a full house and a film crew. We sat near the mozzarella bar/pizza hearth and soon felt the Digestif Friday night buzz.

                                                      Not wanting the vibe to get ahead of me, I started my own buzz. I am thrilled with Digestif's eclectic mixology menu full of herbal concoctions, digestifs and absinthe selections (served with an absinthe fountain). I ordered the Pretty Ugli, made with muddled basil and uglifruit liqueur. After one sip, though I loved the basil, the drink was a too sweet for my taste. Our gracious server Amy let me segway to the Segway, a mix of Square One organic cucumber vodka, Hendrick's cucumber and rose petal-infused gin and Lillet, served like a straight-up martini. I loved, loved, loved it. Todd had his fail-safe Mandarin Absolut on the rocks.

                                                      With our drinks we enjoyed a plate of freshly pulled mozzarella sprinkled with crunchy, chewy bits of sorrel, pork jowl confit and local dates. We also got a perfectly toasted roll, right from the hot hearth - temperature 600+ degrees. Why can't I make toast at home like this? I can't stop thinking about how to get this oven into my house...

                                                      Then we had the Digestif salad with Maya's arugula, candied hazelnuts, cipollini, blue cheese and balsamic marinated figs. These are a few of my fav-a-rit things.

                                                      We decided to split the $32 entree - the pork duo - a plate of prosciutto-wrapped chop & loin, braised mustard greens, haricots verts and heirloom carrots. Digestif is know for their freshly-butchered meats and super fresh veggies. They did not disappoint. Ten minutes later I had the bone in both hands and I'm going to town on the last remaining shreds of pig. Luckily our new best friends at the next table were also gnawing on their bones, and we were all talking with our mouths full.

                                                      Continuing the buzz, we couldn't agree on a bottle of wine so we went with with singles. I especially enjoyed the selection of Santa Ynez wines (we love Sanford). I had a Pinot Grigio and Todd went with a Pinot Noir.

                                                      Piggies that we are, we couldn't leave well enough alone and topped off the night with the chunky brownie and chocolate malted semifriddo (semifreddo means 'half frozen', kindof like a gelato) complete with a toasted fresh s'morlicious house-made marshmallow on the side. It was ridiculously good.

                                                      It's not a meal we'll soon forget, and we'll have to go back about a hundred more times to sample everything on the various and ever-changing menus. Chef Payton seems to have a great pig...er, gig going and we're impressed with his adventurous spirit and love for good food. I also like that he's not totally full of himself like some chefs we've met. I agree that it's only a matter of time before he has a Beard award.

                                                      1. re: TravelVal

                                                        I agree...Payton and the staff at Digestif have got it going on !!... Exciting food is happening there.

                                                  2. Add me to the list of fans for Digestif.

                                                    I'd been wanting to try it for ages but had never gotten around to it, mainly because the menu seemed to offer little-to-nothing for Vegan Boyfriend. But this week we have a foodie-ish friend visiting from out of town so I figured this was my best opportunity to give Digestif a try. We called ahead and said "We'll have a vegan in the party; is there any way the chef could accommodate him?" and we were assured that that would indeed be possible.

                                                    When the waiter took our order, Vegan Boyfriend told the waiter "I'm vegan; would the chef be so kind as to make something for me?" "Um...like a salad?" waiter asked. "Whatever he wants to do would be fine," said Boyfriend. I was a little worried; I like people to be happy when dining, especially if I'm the one that chooses the restaurant, so I was concerned that Boyfriend was going to have to graze unhappily on a meager little salad.

                                                    Meanwhile I ordered the PLT, out-of-town friend ordered...I think it was the Farm Platter or something along those lines ("chef's whim" selection of meat, cheese & vegetables plus bread & olives), and we got an order of frites to share.

                                                    Unfortunately for Vegan Boyfriend, the frites came with a sprinkling of cheese. To his credit the waiter did offer to bring some w/out but Boyfriend declined. He should've accepted -- the fries were WONDERFUL (did I detect a hint of olive oil?), and even better with the garlicky mayo and fresh-tasting ketchup. I'm not a big eater, but I couldn't help stuffing myself. "Just one more!"

                                                    When the waiter delivered the food we were all happy to see that he did NOT bear a salad but instead an intriguing looking plate of beans, mushrooms, some kind of green and I-don't-know-what-else for my boyfriend. I had only a tiny bite but it was delicious and he seemed quite pleased with it. Hooray! I know I was MORE than happy with my PLT. Crispy, bacony goodness. How can you go wrong?

                                                    My only real disappointment was that we were too full for dessert.

                                                    Boyfriend was a little less than thrilled w/ the $14 price tag on his meal but honestly, I think that's perfectly acceptable. We pay $15 for the roasted root vegetable plate at True Food and that's on the menu. $14 for something specially-prepared doesn't seem out-of-line to me at all.

                                                    Anyway the food was terrific, the ambiance welcoming, the service decent and the accommodation by the chef commendable. I'll definitely recommend Digestif to others and look forward to future visits.

                                                    1. We had dinner at Digestif last night. This was our second time here and it's interesting to re-read my comments above from our first visit. This time around we left even more ambivalent than the first I think....

                                                      Again, we enjoyed the space. It's hip without being too loud or uncomfortable and cozy without being too dark. The menu was again very interesting and we had a hard time deciding what to order.

                                                      The service this time around was really not stellar however. Again, we were given plenty of time to decide finally settling on starting with the caesar, then the rabbit confit and then our entrees. We had a discussion with the server that he could split the salads but not the confit and we indicated that was fine we certainly didn't mind sharing off one dish. We indicated we wanted the salad first.

                                                      Out came the salad. It was a grilled caesar with a tonnato dressing. interesting take but the saltiness was overpowering. We'd taken one bite when the rabbit arrived with a runner. We were surprised and indicated again that we wanted that as a second course(not sure where the confusion came from since we had a pretty clear conversation with the server and why would we want a split salad with the rabbit on a big plate between us simultaneously?) SO back the rabbit went. No sooner than we finished the salad than it returned being delivered almost while the salad plates were cleared. Silver arrived with the rabbit.

                                                      The rabbit was OK. The meat itself was tender and moist. Not tons of flavor. It's been years and years since I last had rabbit though and to be honest I really don't remember how much flavor it has. The highlight was the persimmon hazelnut vinaigrette. I would buy this by the bottle if available. Delicious.

                                                      Entrees arrived on top of the rabbit. We sat for several minutes before silver arrived(and there was no one for us to flag down) For our entrees my husband had the arugula pasta with ham hocks. This was delicious. Really delicious. I had the garganelli with sausage, broccoli rabe and cannelini beans. Also delicious, particularly the made in house sausage.

                                                      We were too full for dessert but ordered two espresso - one decaf one regular. It took about ten minutes for one to arrive with the comment that the decaf was made as a capuccino instead. Another ten minute wait for the decaf by which time my husband ha finished his. OK...I understand restaurants dont' want to waste and all..but really couldn't they have tossed the first shot and brought them out together?? And it took ten minutes to pull another shot? Both were bitter and lukewarm(I see above we thought they were bitter last time, too. ).

                                                      Additionally which each course the busser attempted to clear plates before we were both done. I HATE THIS and at a restaurant like this staff should eb trained to clear when all are done and not before. We indicated at the first course to wait but yet twice more he was back trying to clear before we were both through.

                                                      All in all, the service really put us off the experience. The menu is so interesting. Some things are really delicious. But I see above we were troubled by being rushed last time which was also a service issue. It's going to be hard to head back a third time.

                                                      The prices are quite fair I think. Our bill was $88 which included a negroni, a glass of wine, an iced tea, and the two espressos(I think the beverages came to about $25).

                                                      I want to love this place but twice now just can't get there. I see and hear lots do and wonder what we're missing?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ziggylu

                                                        I have been numerous times and I would generally rate the place highly for phoenix but from visit to visit I have also experience what I would call QA consistency issues, ordering something only to be notified they are out of it when the other entrees arrive, mixups with incorrect dishes. I think they really need some better floor management in there and possibly to require more notice for large seatings, I have seen several times on weeknights a group of 12 or 16 show up with little notice and then all hell breaks loose. They need to know when to say no but maybe in this economy that isn't an option. My take is that a lack of clear direction from the foth management and a lot of foth/both communication issues sometimes make for some real mix-ups. What I might suggest is to raise the issue with the restaurant of peter kasperski's office directly, my experience in the past has been very positive responses to serious and respectful feedback that produced noticeable change at the restaurants. I think that is why he has done well for so long.