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Sep 20, 2008 11:36 PM

az rw report - lon's at the hermosa


we just got back from lon's, and we had a GREAT dinner.

we both had the short ribs with sweet potato puree, which was simply fabulous. it was a good starter size, not really enough to share, but it was really rich and certainly fine for one person.

we added the truffled mac and cheese to share, and for 10 bucks, we were completely in heaven. we didn't finish it - it was soooooooooooo rich. creamy, pasta cooked to perfection, almost like a capatavi, and the texture held on to the sauce. so decadent and addicting..

i had the deconstructed az shrimp ravioli with cremini mushrooms and lobster jus - the shrimp were sweet and cooked perfectly. the dish just sang.

my friend had the pork with blackberry shellac, and it was excellent, too. the swiss chard was tasty, and the dish just worked. you could detect a bit of smoky flavor in the pork from whatever wood they roasted with it.

the vahlrona chocolate truffle tart thingie was great - airy texture, just delicious. my friend had the lemon tart - tangy, with yummy rasberries with a scoop of some kind of sorbet.

we had a bottle of torreorio cava, that was really fantastic as well.

the service was attentive, the bread selection was yummy, the chive butter was room temp *a pet peeve when they serve room temp or warm bread with cold butter, why do the do that?* and completely delicious.

after dinner, we were wondering around looking at old pictures in the hallway and the very nice hostess gave us a quick tour - the beautiful 'board room' with a fire place where they host brunches, and the wine room, complete with a beautiful table set for 12. it was lovely!!

from the valets to the hostess to our server - everyone was helpful and kind. we loved it, thought it was an excellent value, and would happily return again.

i only hope our roka akor experience can measure up :)

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  1. Sounds really great, thanks for the review. I wish I was around this week to try it out.

    It's good to hear the reactions to the azrw experiences...keep it up.

    1 Reply
    1. Let's start with the economics of the thing - 3 courses, $29/pp. Let's face it - that's pretty cheap. In today's economy, making this happen while making a profit has to be difficult. If you agreed to be involved, cheers to you.

      We felt a little rushed, no question about it. We took a step away from our table between the first two courses and dessert to get some air, and we were 40 minutes deep into dinner. 40 minutes! I ordered a half bottle of wine (Matanzas Creek sauv blanc) before our first course with the intention of going b-t-g during the second course, but the pacing was so quick that we didn't even get through the bottle in time.

      Bread was brought out to the table (sourdough, wheat and rosemary ciabatta) with (soft!) butter. After a couple minutes, our starters: short ribs is an awkward starter, but we ordered one of each of the two options (Cedar River Natural Beef Shortribs with Sweet Potatoes and Carrot Jus, Lon’s Armenian Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese and Balsamic Chili Syrup). I thought the salad was very good, and glad that the cheese didn't overwhelmn the outstanding cucumber. The beef was very tender, and nearly melted in your mouth, but it seemed fairly bland to me - I make short ribs at home a several times a year and wasn't blown away by these. Was it tasty? Sure.

      Entrees were Open Ravioli of Arizona Shrimp and Olive Oil Cured Tomatoes with Crimmini Mushrooms, Fava Beans and Lobster Jus and Lon’s Roasted Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Purple Mashed Potatoes and Red Wine Sauce. The pasta in the ravioli had a nice mouthfeel, and the shrimp were nicely cooked; I didn't notice the lobster jus, if it was there. The beef was lacking - there were three pieces served, but only one of them really was tender and cooked to medium (as requested). The other two were slightly gristly, almost that of filet tips. Excellent potatoes on the plate along with sauteed swiss chard which I loved.

      For dessert, the lemon tart was just okay but the strawberry sorbet was excellent. The chocolate truffle torte was also quite good and lighter than I imagined. I ordered a glass of Moscato to go with the tart, and this was comp'd because the last pour of our bottle revealed a bug had been imbibing on our wine while we dined. The sommelier came over and offered us a glass of Cragy Range sauv blanc they offer b-t-g ($11), which we accepted.

      Overall, it's hard to complain about three courses for two for $99 w/tax before tip including the special, a half bottle, a bottle of still water and two comp'd glasses of wine. Our server was very friendly and did a nice job all night. Having never visited Lon's until last night, I'm glad we went.

      1. Sounds very good. It's been awhile, since we dined there, but the last few visits were really good. In the 10 years, we've live in the Valley of the Sun, they have been up - down, and then back up again. Glad they are still on the "up." Love the venue and the food is usually excellent. Service has been an issue in the past, but again, the last several visits indicate that either they corrected the problems, or we got great people. Either way, it was win-win.

        Thanks for taking the time,


        1. Thank you for this review! I have been wondering how Lons would be; it's at the top of my list. I'm having a hard time deciding. It's between that and Bourbon Steak, and Cowboy Ciao. Wish I could go to all 3...but I'm leaning towards Lons. The shrimp ravioli sounds superb

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mahilover

            Have not been to Bourbon Steak, but the other two have usually been great by me. I have had wonderful meals at each.

            For fun, lively (and loud) atmosphere, especially if you are into things like wine flights, Cowboy Ciao gets the nod.

            If you want a more sedate atmosphere, maybe dining al fresco on an Autumn evening, with more formal service in an historic venue, then it's Lon's.

            I've had far more ups, than downs. Most have been minor quibbles. Going back many years, we had several downs at Lon's and canceled some upcoming events. At a party, I spoke with Mr Unger about these and he assured me that much had changed. We returned, and he was good to his word. Ever since, they have been on top of their game. The bad days are behind them, and I wasn't the only one who noticed.

            Though the menus do not look at all alike, there are a few similarities: two creative chefs, doing a special take on SW cuisine, or doing a SW take on special cuisine. Subtle differences, but both great fun.

            Lon's has also kicked up their wine selection and service, so they are nearly on par with CC. Still, I love Peter's wine flights, 'cause I like to taste a bunch of different wines with my multi-course meals. Still, Lon's is doing better now. When I first went, I asked for Bdx. stems for a very expensive Cal-Cab. The server told me they only had 3 of these. My wife and my two guest got those, and I got a tiny restaurant-grade stem. I filled in the diner reply card and gave full details. We were back in about two weeks and did a similar wine. To my surprise, they had plenty of Speiglau Bdx. stems. The server said, "the GM read a reply by a diner, and immediately went out and purchased a case of these." Hey, they read their replies and reviews. Nice touch.

            Bourbon Steak is probably very good too, but I have no experience. I doubt you'd go wrong with any of the three.



          2. I have a business dinner and the one in charge of picking the restaurant for next weekend for a group of around 10 of us and it's between Lon's at the Hermosa or T. Cooks at the Royal Palms..
            Any thoughts..been to T. Cooks and loved it.
            Lon's looks it only patio dining?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Hello Beach Chick,

              I do not think that you could go wrong with either. We've done several board meetings and dinners at each. It would be a tossup for me. If push came to shove, I might lean toward T. Cook's, but it would be too close to call.


              PS our events are usually around 40-50, but I doubt that there would be any difference. Good luck, and let us all know where you chose, and how well they did.