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Aug 10, 2008 12:43 PM

Binkley's vs. Kai

I haven't had the opportunity to visit either yet, but will be making reservations at one or the other for a future dinner. As it might be a little while before there's an occasion to spend quite that much on a dinner, I'm curious if there a consensus as to if one rises above the other when compared directly. So, which would you choose?

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  1. I went by Binkley's last Friday night and was intrigued at the menu, would really like to try it. However, my husband took me to Kai a couple Fridays ago and I'd have to say if its a special occasion - this would be your spot. Much more memorable with the location. He surprised me and got a room, summer rates - and we'll never forget it. I know the entire night cost us around $850 - room, dinner, a couple cocktails after - and breakfast in the morning.

    I had a tasting w/wine, he ordered a few things a la carte with cocktails. The bill was about $450 with tip - and was a culinary expedition!

    More than Binkley's - but if its a VERY special occasion - the whole package at Kai made it very well worthwhile. The next time he screws up I'm going to make him take me to Binkley's though. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maggie Kramer

      Haven't tried Kai but Binkley's is by far the top restaurant in Phoenix. Excellent all around.

    2. That's a really difficult choice. I loved both of them. I guess I would suggest you think about what you want out of your dining experience. If you are looking for a stellar tasting menu, Binkley's will certainly satisfy. If you are looking for a unique experience (high-end Native American cuisine) with a fantastic atmosphere, then I would encourage you to go with Kai.

      I will say, however, that I have a personal bias toward Kai. We had one of the best experiences of our lives there (try to get a table on the balcony overlooking the desert landscape) and would go back in a heartbeat.

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

      5594 W. Wildhorse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

      1. Tough choice. Really. You won't be disappointed by either if that's a bit of consolation.

        I agree with Seth Chadwick that the choice comes down to what you want from your experience. the food at both is superb but we've found the experience to be very different.

        We dine at Kai more often but we also live on that side of the Valley. Certainly if we weren't so far away we'd have visited Binkley's more than the one time we've made it there so far. So that plays into our decision.

        When we went ot Binkley's we went as a group of six. We felt this was a great way to experience the restaurant and the menu. We all enjoyed trying several different things off the menu, seeing the presentations, discussing the wine pairings.

        Kai we've always dined at alone. I find it a much more romantic setting and we usually find ourselves there for personal special occasions. The food is top notch and while maybe not as cutting edge as what Kevin Binkley is doing it is interesting exploring what Jack Strong does with indigineous ingredients. It's very relaxing dining at Kai. Settle in and enjoy everything about the experience.

        For us, our preference also probably lies at Kai but I suspect as this thread grows there will be more than a few for whom the preference lies with Binkleys.

        Like I said, either way you won't be disappointed. It's a win win choice. You'll just have to try both! :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: ziggylu

          Definitely right on the money regarding Kai being more romantic. I think a large party there would not get the relaxing sense of the atmosphere with the Native American flute music, the dim lighting and the quite, polished services.

        2. I too would side with Kai. The experience is tough to beat here in AZ, between the Native American cusine, the setting and additional touches that they throw in you are going to have a guaranteed amazing meal. Binkley's is an amazing meal as well. I have been 3 times 2 of those times I was blown away the one time I wasn't will make me hesitant to go back. It can be bitterly disappointing to spend that kind of money and feel disappointed. To me that is simply due to the number of courses and different things that Kevin Binkley tries up there. I feel much the same way about Quiessence when on it is tough to beat when off one can be left with a very bad and in many cases false impression. Hope this helps

          1. Put me down for a vote for Kai. I thought the overall experience was superior to Binkley's.

            Kai had the best service I have ever experienced. The food was special, and the restaurant is beautiful.

            Binkley's seemed a little more laid back to me (which might be a positive for some people). However, if I am going to be spending that amount of money, I expect a more polished service experience.

            Both are good, but Kai is truly special, and will be an experience you wouldn't soon forget.