Fox Restaurant Concepts (Phoenix or Tucson)
Any opinions or thoughts on the Fox Restaurant Concepts restaurants like Zinburger, Sauce, North, etc in Phoenix or Tucson? I've never been to any of these places, but have been hearing about them more and more. Thanks!
I've been to Sauce at Val Vista and Baseline in Mesa, and I quite like it. The spinach, pancetta, and goat cheese salad is quite tasty, and I love the wild mushroom and truffled arugula pizza. I also love that the nutritional information is available, and their food is actually quite reasonably healthy. I don't often remember Sauce exists when we're casting about for a place to dine, so it's obviously not truly amazing, but I've enjoyed my experiences there.
I went to Olive & Ivy a couple of months ago. I stared at the gelato case for a couple of minutes while the duo behind the counter chatted idly while cleaning the espresso machine next to the gelato. I suppose if I drove an exotic car and had the valet take care of it they might have noticed me. Since I didn't feel like being an interruption to the staff's social hour, I went somewhere else where I felt welcomed and haven't been back. I have no desire to try any of the other Fox restaurants.
I went to Sauce's Phx location for dinner once. A friend of ours who is definitely of the "food is fuel" mindset had chosen it, because he knew he could get a big salad there. I thought the food was a decent value but found the vibe chain-y.
If I lived or worked nearby, I could see myself occasionally grabbing lunch there. But like modryth, I never think, "Oh! I know. Let's go to Sauce for dinner." This is partly because I'd rather patronize eateries that are not part of some corporate empire. Also, at dinner time, I tend to favor venues where I feel comfortable lingering a bit--Sauce did not evoke that feeling for me.
My experience with Fox has been limited to Sauce and Olive & Ivy. Sauce was okay, but I haven't made any concerted effort to return.
Olive & Ivy, on the other hand, was a complete waste of time. Poor service, uninspired food and a feeling like I wasn't welcome. I guess since I am not one of the pretty people and O&I is, after all, right on the old canal - oh! sorry! I meant Waterfront - I probably shouldn't have gone in in the first place.
re: Seth Chadwick
I pretty much straight across the board dislike Fox restaurants.
We used to go to Bloom several years ago & it was really good. Several terrible visits made me want to never return, especially with the disappointment that it has been pretty good.
Went to Olive & Ivy about 6 months ago & I ended up riled up beyond belief. It was one of the worst dinners I've ever had. Empty restaurant. Had a reservation (had a gift card). Seated us right next to the waiter's kiosk. Our waiter was a complete jerk. The food was lousy. Our courses were rushed like crazy. Hated it.
With that being said, the extended family picked Sauce a few weeks ago when we were out for a Saturday lunch. I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Wile I totally agree with others here that I'd rather patronize an independent place like PB, Humble Pie, Cibo, etc., I would definitely go back optimistically if someone wanted to go. Wouldn't choose it myself but I wouldn't mind returning.
I've heard North is decent and Greene House. If someone wants to go, I'll go but I definitely won't initiate it. I won't go back to Olive & Ivy ever. Especially with so much other great food so close - hit Digestif twice within the last week & like it!
Sauce is a pretty good place to grab a salad or pizza for lunch. I like the chicken and pine nut salad, and I've always found the service to be friendly and quick. This is a chain concept that they want to grow. That said, I"ve always found the food to be tasty and consistent (plus they have diet Sobe cranberry/grapefruit on the soda fountain).
I used to go to Bloom at Gainey Ranch for lunch, and they had great salads, as well. Dinner there is good, too.
NOrth is ok, and I know some people who like it, but I've never been that impressed with the food.
We went to Olive and Ivy for dinner shortly after it opened, and we found the food to be rather boring and bland. Their signature lamb shank lacked any real flavor. I thought the service was ok but not great by any means. We haven't been back, but I would consider returning for a drink on the patio and maybe an appetizer. I wouldn't bother for dinner, although I've read they changed the chef and menu since my visit.
Green House in Keirland is actually pretty good. The food was great during our last visit there, and we found the service to be very good. They even kept bringing out tastes of wine so my friend could pick a bottle he liked.
i think sauce is just meh. i thought olive and ivy was ground zero for the $30k millionaire happy hour.
but green house? i went there with some friends after their new chef started - they were regulars at his old place in san diego called 'region'...i liked it, he kept sending us tasting stuff that he was trying out. service was good, nice wines - he's keeping them to smaller producers, under 500 barrels so there are some real finds.
but honestly kierland is just way too far for me to go but maybe once every year or so.
When it first opened, I used to do Bloom WEEKLY (Creature of habit) and I enjoyed their salads immensely. They had a great lobster salad, but after about four EXTREMELY poor visits we decided not to return. Tried it again about a year ago, even worse!
I feel Fox restaurants are very overrated- all talk no substance.