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Nov 16, 2008 11:24 PM

Going to Cowboy Ciao 11/23 -- what to avoid when ordering

After looking at so many wonderful post for phx area I have decided to go to cc for dinner next Sunday. There is only one problem, the whole menu looks good--right down to the bacon chocolate chip cookies which I'll take to go. I am dining alone and will not be able to doggie bag it since I'm leaving with a tour group to Mexico the next day. So, to narrow down my choices, what should I avoid or what is just average and not worth ordering? I'll probably eat on the light side most of the day so that I'll have a good appetite. BTW, is the dress casual, business casual, chaps and boots? I was planning to wear jeans and casual cotton blouse. Thanks

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  1. You literally cannot go wrong. I've never been disappointed with anything that I've ordered there. The only thing I've found a little odd was the abalone steak which actually had a pretty decent flavor, but I would probably avoid unless you're vegetarian or happen to really enjoy abalone mushroom and/or the other ingredients.

    My personal favorites are probably the blue cheese stuffed pork chop, along with a stetson salad, and the cuppa' red hot chocolate. A lot of people love the mushroom pan fry, as well, although stear clear if you're not a mushroom fan (it's pretty 'shroom intensive). I've only been once or twice since they've changed the menu a bit a couple of months ago, so can't advise on most of the new items. However, I'd suggest just ordering whatever sounds good to you that night, and it's likely to be excellent. Have also made several great meals just out of multiple items on the grazing menu.

    Dress is business/"resort" casual. You would not look out of place in jeans.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crsin

      Mushroom pan fry definitely if you love mushrooms and the stetson salad is very good as well. I also wore jeans, boots, and a nice shirt and didn't feel out of place. I would research some of the restaurant week reviews for some help or look at for a very thorough review as well.

    2. My wife and I did a Saturday night sleepover, from Tucson, totally built around Cowboy Ciao. I've never read a better menu. We did the Stetson Salad, the mushrooms, the pork chop (and I can't remember my entree. Also did the cuppa and the bacon chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Everything was fabulous. The 'shrooms are very, very rich! Blue jeans and a sportcoat for me, and I'm sure my wife wore something casual. Have fun; I'm jealous!

      1. The dress is "smart casual," with people in nice jeans up to, and including, me in my blazer. Have never seen anyone in shorts, but could just have missed that.

        As to what to avoid - well, I've not tried everything, nor have we been really recently, so Chef Bernie's menu has probably changed. Still, everything that we have had, and that our guests have had, have gotten really good reviews.

        My suggestion would be to go with what you feel like having. The portions are adequate, but not overwhelming. One should be able to do an app., a main, and still have a little room for dessert. The two of us have made a fine meal with 4 apps., passed between us, and NOT had room for dessert, even some of the ancho-chili chocolate dishes, that are so good - or the flourless chocolate cake, which is also very good.

        Order for your tastes, and enjoy. Also, with their wine-flights, you can possibly get some lovely matchups.


        1. If they still have the scallop app on beet risotto with goat cheese and dill cream, it's a must-have. Literally one of the very best things I've ever eaten.

          3 Replies
          1. re: azbirdiemaker

            This seems like such a good menu and I want to try it in December. I do find the menu and the names of the items a little precious however.

            1. re: The Old Man

              Peter and Chef Bernie have a lot of fun with the naming. If you ever get a chance to read his newsletter, it is wonderful. I never know when he's removed his tongue from being firmly in his cheek. It DOES read a bit like James Joyce, but great fun, none the less.


            2. re: azbirdiemaker

              Oh-h-h, have not had that one. I guess that it's been too danged long, since I last dined there. Gotta' rectify that soon!


            3. I don't like the mushroom stir fry. The polenta is very bland, and the dish is skimpy on mushrooms. If you want to try this signature dish, go with the appetizer size because the other entrees look really good, especially the pork loin.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Firenza00

                  A curious combination of too salty (sauce) and too bland (polenta)