The Mission Restaurant (PHX)
From the people behind Zinc Bistro and MercBar, The Mission opens tonight (Oct. 15) @ 5pm.
Website not live yet but should be in the next day or 2.
3815 N. Brown Ave.,
Scottsdale AZ 85251
Let us know if anybody checks it out!
(NOTE: sorry for the absurd length of this post. I've just been itching for more detailed board opinions/reviews since Mission has opened, so thought I'd do what I could for anyone who has been wanting the same. Read at your own expense).
I finally got around to trying The Mission Tonight. I had fairly high hopes, considering how much I enjoy Chef Carter's food out at Zinc, what I've heard from others, and Stefel's positive review. I wasn't disappointed, and I left feeling pretty excited to have such an interesting, solid place to add to my rotation.
To start, I found the chips and salsa to be exceptional. The chips were thin, crispy and perfectly salty, and the salsa tasted very fresh and very flavorful. I hate the bland, one-note salsas that you often see poured about in many restaurants (flavorless/watery tomatoes, no acid, no spiciness...)--this wasn't one of them (although I would have enjoyed a spicier option, it had a nice kick, and this is just personal preference). We next had the guacamole, which was delicious. It was really expensive ($12) considering it was a relatively small serving (one avocado), but the flavor it packed was impressive. They use some non-traditional ingredients that give it a somewhat unique texture, flavor, and appearance, and I really loved the acidity from the freshly-squeezed lime juice, the crunch from the pepitas, the bit of heat from the jalapenos, and the "warmth" added from the cheese (I think cotija). I couldn't help but size it up against another guac we enjoy quite a bit--Los Sombreros--and I thought The Mission won (although others thought more of a tie). I found it more flavorful and especially appreciated the added texture and citrus. Is it worth $12? Is any guacamole really worth $12? Tough to say, but I did think this was definitely one of the best versions I've had in the area.
Next, we shared the Almejas Al Vapor. This was really a stunner. The dish-- described by the menu as a "Peruvian clam stew"--was a fairly rich and creamy stew with a central mound of a decent amount of chrizo, shrimp, clams, green beans, corn, and possibly some other items I can't recall. The yucca bread had a great texture and was perfect for mounding the meat/seafood on and soaking up the sauce/stew. No flavor outshined the other, it had a really well-balanced and complex flavor, and worked well for sharing an interesting app.
I also had the hearts of palm salad, which was a mound of spinach mixed with thinly-sliced heart of palm (which I love), bacon, a tasty date vinaigrette, and topped with two long "sticks" of fried requeson cheese (the waiter noted there was also some pork within these "sticks"--there was a great mild hint of a smokey bacon-y flavor in addition to the creamy and subtle cheese...worked very well). The combination worked great, and was a really interesting turn on a spinach salad.
The entrees were all very good, although for me did not quite live up to what I had tried up to that point. I had the chorizo porchetta, which was a much different preparation than what I had been expecting. The shoulder and chorizo had been combined and cooked together, sliced and served as sort of a solid unit. Both had great flavor, particularly a nice smokiness (probably from the chorizo) and a light sweetness. I'm not familiar with the cooking preparation, but it came out with the outside crisped and almost blackened in some areas, which leant nicely to the flavors. My only complaint would be that it seemed overcooked--both the chorizo and the shoulder meat were fairly dry. Combined with the "garlic crema" (needed more of this), and the bean puree, however, it moistened a bit and was a pretty solid dish. I also sampled the short rib with blood sausage--great flavor but was way over-salted. The salt wasn’t quite enough to send the dish back or prevent anyone from enjoying it, but was just far too much. I think the dish would have benefitted tremendously from a lighter hand in the kitchen. The blood sausage was very nice and the flavors were excellent, however (sans the salt problem). Another ordered the scallops, which sounded great on the menu, and they said the dish was very good but, again, salty. I did not try it, so I can't attest to this but, given the short rib, I wasn't surprised. We also had an order of the Mission fries for the table, which were a mixture of sweet and "regular" potatoes. For those who know Zinc's awesome fries, these were just as good--really crispy exterior, soft interior, not greasy, nicely seasoned, great chipotle ketchup (plus some other mustard aioli-type dip), huge portion.
Finished with the pumpkin bread pudding with a scotch-based sauce and some kind of ice cream (dulce de leche perhaps). This was a phenomenal bread pudding and ranks up there with the best of them. I wouldn't even hesitate to order it again, regardless of how stuffed I might be (pretty damn stuffed in this case—as in edging toward nausea). A great "last note" for the meal.
Overall, it was a great experience. The service was casual, friendly, helpful, unobtrusive. No complains. The atmosphere is rich--dimly lit, lots of candles, dark wood, leather, ornate chandeliers, backlit salt-brick wall, yada yada. The food, on the whole (especially if they lay off the salt) was really very good. I'll definitely be back, and hope more on this board get a chance to visit and share their thoughts.
Thanks for the great review. We ate at the Mission last week, and also had a very good experience. The small bar up front was hopping, and the music may be a bit loud for some, but we were able to hold a conversation over dinner.
We also started with the guacamole. Very unique, fresh and tasty. They'll make it tableside for you, as well. I have to second crsin's comments about he chips and salsa. The chips were perfect and the salsa was very flavorful with some depth. They'll bring out a really (really) hot sauce, if you ask.
We also started with the Pork Belly Pibil ($12)(pork belly + roast garlic black bean puree + pickled red onion + orange + oregano + achiote + avocado crema + banana habanero aioli). It was without a doubt the biggest piece of pork belly I've ever been served. It was cooked perfectly and the flavors were great, but it It was too much. My wife and I shared it and still left a chunk on the plate. We also tried the grilled street corn ($5) rolled in butter, chile paprika and cojita. It was very good and a bit messy.
We were sharing everything for the table, but our friends don't eat shellfish, which limited our ordering quite a bit. The chipotle caesar salad was good, but nothing special ($8).
For entrees, we shared the mahi mahi tacos ($14) (battered mahi mahi + citrus escabeche + olive crema). They were awesome, perfectly fried but not greasy at all. The Malbec Braised Short Ribs ($25) (beef short ribs + tamarind + coriander + blood sausage + onions + mustard greens) was great. Super flavorful and rich. We also enjoyed the creamy grits with chipotle ($8).
We were stuffed and didn't try dessert (did I mention the chips and salsa). Our waitress was very friendly and efficient. She was nice enough to let one of the women try a taste of a cocktail before we ordered, and later brought us all a small glass of something the bar is developing. We enjoyed dinner a lot, and I'm sure we'll be back.
Sounds great. I really wanted to try that pork belly, as well as the duck & foie empanadas. The menu was interesting enough that there were just too many nice sounding dishes to possibly satisfy everything we were tempted by. One side note that was a little annoying--they were offering some sort of "all you can eat" pork deal/special, which sounded like it might have been pork done in various ways (I didn't get much detail).This looked interesting, but when we inquired with the server, she informed us it was only available "until sunset." Huh? It was 6:30, and the sun was about 45 minutes from setting--it was still very bright out. Either give it a set time limit (just say 6), or stop advertising it whenever their arbitrary "sunset" occurs. Just nitpicking now, but still...
On a Sunday, the place was very quiet (low-volume music, subdued crowd), although many of the tables were full, and appeared to have only a handful of people at the bar. The atmosphere and noise level obviously change significantly depending on the day of the week.
I hate to rain on the parade, but... we did not have a good experience at The Mission restaurant. There were 6 of us dining, and we all agreed that the service was slow, and although our waitress was friendly, she seemed very overwhelmed as did the rest of the staff. We had to repeatedly ask for water, cutlery, and waited an hour for our entrees to arrive. The food seemed overpriced and the quantities very small. Given the economy, and the glut of restaurants in Scottsdale, we were surprised at the owner's rudeness and attitude when I approached him and told him that we frequent Zinc, his other restaurant, and that we were disppointed in our experience at The Mission; he simply shrugged his shoulders and said "oh well, sorry".
Needless to say we won't be back, and plan to spread the word that The Mission is not worth the time or money, and we won't return to Zinc at Kierland again, either.
I wanted to like The Mission but am disappointed that I was disappointed. Seven of us dined and all thought the food was mediocre, especially for the price. We did enjoy our appetizers and dessert; however the entrees were extremely salty. I shared their signature dish, pork shoulder, which is noted to be for 2; however the portion and accompaniments were simply for one. Friends ordered the steak which was overcooked, dry and boring. I shared my thoughts about the saltiness of the food with the server who did tell the manager as we noticed them talking about our table. The manager never came to our table to inquire though we noticed he went to almost every other table. Management's lack of concern and average food not justified by the prices will certainly discourage us from returning. Bottom line, The Mission is an overpriced disappointment.
We had a similarly bad experience with the manager/owner of the Mission. My friend, who had been to the restaurant in its first week (when things were still a mess - my understanding is that they didn't have their sh*# together at opening), let him know what an improvement she saw in the months since. He was pretty defensive about it even though she was trying to compliment him. A little later he reprimanded us for being loud (we were a group of 4 and not particularly rowdy) and told us if we didn't settle down he'd have to ask us to leave. what?! For my part, I thought the food was just ok and not at the level I was expecting for the price. I was pretty taken aback by the manager's actions and when I tried to express to him that we felt we were being treated pretty rudely, he just said then we could leave and walked away. Again, what?! I agree with mtab - given the economy and all of the great choices in Scottsdale, why alienate customers? Especially customers who have already shown themselves to be repeat patrons! We certainly won't be returning after this terrible experience.
I adore this place. I think it's one of the best new restaurants of the year. The pork shoulder for two is AMAZING.
However, if you are going out with people who think anything just north of catsup is spicy, ask for the spice levels to be adjusted down a notch or two. I think they're perfect, but one of my friends thought some dishes were a bit too hot. That's OK; they're eager to please here and the kitchen will oblige if you let them know.
Speaking of hot, if you do like it spicy, try the soups. Wonderful.
Very excited. I hadn't even heard of this place but it made the #1 new restaurant of 2008 and the menu looks spectacular for any budget. Looks like somewhere I won't get complaints from any of my family to go. :-)
There were some pretty great names on the list, the only ones I haven't been to are The Mission, Prado, Amarone and The Deli and I love the other six (although I think Roka Akor is a little overrated.
The pix on this look amazing, really sexy! So happy to see Phoenix really grow up over the last several years.
I'm gonna see if we can get New Years reservations.
Food is amazing... since it has been open i have had brunch, lunch and dinner. I love finding a hidden gem and introducing it to all my friends. You will be a hero if you take your friend here. Not only is the food off the charts great, the decor alone is worth the trip. Also the staff including the owners go out of there way to make the meal memorable. This is not a chain restaurant and you can definitely tell the difference. Thank goodness for friends, I have many more reasons to return to the Mission. I'm going to try some of the other drinks metioned below... I loved the sangria, fyi
We did end up going and really enjoyed it. I got the street corn as well as the chicken dish mentioned above. Both were really good. I like chicken but generally don't order it out as it is usually just an afterthought on menus. I thought, however, this dish was really exceptional. My wife who is vegetarian got the gorditas which she really liked but that was the only real option for her although a few of the sides were vegetarian. They did a great job decorating the place and the service was great. And the drinks all sound great. The Mission Margarita is terrific, one of the best I have had. We will be going back.
I went for dinner with a friend Friday and was pretty pleased. We walked in around 7:30 and were seated right away.
We started with the guacamole made table side, and the server who prepared it was happy to explain all the various add-ins, including jalapenos with and without seeds, pepitas, tomatoes, etc. This was very fresh and delicious. We followed that with an order of gorditas. I can't remember what they were topped with, but it was three small, round corn tortillas. Pretty tasty, but not too remarkable.
For entrees my friend had fish tacos, which she really enjoyed, and I had the chorizo. This caught me off guard, because I'm used to chorizo coming broken up in other dishes, like a sausage. This dish was like a pork shoulder cooked in chorizo spice. Pretty good, and the potato underneath it was great.
We also had a couple glasses of wine and two of their cocktails (which is partly why I'm so spotty on the details). My friend tried their sangria. She liked it, but said it was a bit too sweet for her taste. I had this drink with gin, basil, honey and fruit juice that was way too good. Could have drank a few of those.
For dessert we had the pastel de limon, two rings of key lime-like custard, one topped with whipped cream and coconut, the other topped with mango. Nice, light close to the meal.
The service was friendly and attentive, without being pushy. They had no problem with us taking our time. It was fairly obvious that they're still learning the menu. When I asked our waitress a couple questions, she got that deer in the headlights look that says "I don't know, just order." Prices were reasonable. For two glasses of wine, two cocktails, two apps, two entrees and a dessert, the bill was just over $100. I'll be back.
You guys congratulations!!
The dining room looks quite posh and like nothing I've seen in scottsdale before.
It is small compared to the sea of huge corporate formulaic joints we have all over town.
I stopped by late last night around 11:30 pm. I have to tell you that we were greeted nicely and were never made feel uncomfortable since we were the last ones there.
My companion also loved the look of the place. She had worked at Union briefly.
ask for John the bartender and ask him to make you the most delicious Maragarita in town. It is the "Mission Margarita". The drink was an exercise in restraint. Partida tequila and Agave nectar with freshly squeezed limes...that's it!!
It was refreshing, not acidic, and it tasted like Tequila, imagine that.
I can't wait to go back and try Matt's food!!
I went to the mission for lunch today. I cannot recall the name of the dish, but it was essentially chicken and fries. The chicken was cooked perfectly and had an incredible hot pepper sauce. The fries were a combination of regular and sweet potato fries. Both were very good (and the bartender offered a very nice ketchup with chipotle). The sweet potato fries were some of the best I've had. I also had the Mission Margarita. It was very very nice (and simple). In fact, I went to AJ's and bought some agave nectar to add to my bar.
I can't wait to go back for dinner.