Estate House: Recent reviews and recs (Scottsdale)
Going to Estate House this weekend for a special occasion dinner. Anyone recently been? Are there certain dishes recommended? This will be our first time there.
The restaurant's menu concept has recently changed from French-Mediterranean to include more global inspirations, and I have not been in since the switch. However, on my last visit I had a black cod dish that was wonderfully delicate, so I have to recommend going for fish entrees. Also, save time before or after dinner for a drink at Upstairs, the speakeasy-style lounge directly above the main restaurant. The patio offers fantastic city views.
We haven't been to the downstairs but have been to Upstairs 5-6 times over the past year and as a rule really liked it. We've noticed a couple of things that have us concerned though. The food presentation has gotten a bit sloppy and less consistent. Dishes that were very good are now just ok (the beef carparcio is one example). Short ribs that were once trimmed and tender didn't seem to be cooked enough and were a bit gristley. There is no consistency at all in the cocktail mixing. One of our fave drinks, the Fantastique (or something along those lines) came out as a overly lemon-sour mess on our last visit. The waitress said that is how this bartender likes to make it which was so different than the ultra-complex and smooth versions of the past. And the crowd seems to be trending to consistently older, like late 50's/60ish (maybe that has to do with the season?).
UPDATE: Want to give the group an update and brief review of our experience at Estate House on Saturday night. I wanted to show my wife around the entire southbridge area. So, we started a mini-bar crawl by starting out at Canal for a cocktail. The place is very modern, cool, and has a great outdoor patio with views of the canal, etc. I had the Canal Sour (we are big whiskey drinkers). It was decent, although the bartender dumped some ice cubes and orange rinds in there by accident and had to fish them out. We went with the bartender's rec of the szechuan calimari. One work: Terrible! We sent it back as it was overbreaded, overcooked, and was flat out horrible. The chef agreed with us and apparently, there was a Gordon Ramsey moment back in the kitchen over it. After that we left and went to Upstairs at Estate House. The previews and great reviews of this spot were right on. The outside decks and the music, service, and cocktails were outstanding. We loved the Old Fashions. Dangerously good as we killed a few in short time. Smart move of the night, we hired a car service, so not Sheriff Joe worries.
We started with the Burrata and Organic Heirloom tomatoes and the pork belly. Both apps were excellent. The house made fresh cheese was a perfect addicting blend of mozarella and ricotta. The Pork belly was solid as an upscale version of bbq pulled pork. We were famished and had a few drinks already, but both dishes hit the spot. The service was as good as it gets.
Next, we went downstairs for our reservation. I hope the Upstairs is doing great business because we were one of only a few tables in the whole restaurant. Despite the lack of diners, the waitstaff and managers were ridiculously attentive and it was some of the best service I've had in the Valley in a long time. In addition, the food was great. The amuse was a somewhat forgettable pork tenderloin slice. After the berkshire pork belly starter, this one fell flat.
My wife had the Mediterranean Sea Bass with Catalon style potatoes in a very light straightforward sauce. I had the lamb. Both dishes were excellently prepared and came in a nice sized portions - something I worry about in high-end restaurants. The lamb was perfectly cooked and had a nice, not too sweet fig and wine reduction. The star of the dinner was a side of fettucine with wild mushrooms. This was an entree that we both wanted, but couldn't decide on, so the restaurant was more than accomodating by making it a side. That is smart good customer service. The price of the side was only $10 and worth every penny. The comped us a very nice molten chocolate cake desert that actually hit the spot. We drank a solid Lily Pinot that complemented our dinner well. That is about all. I hope the economy doesn't have another casualty in Estate House as it is a very solid restaurant. We never made it to Digestif for drinks or desert, etc., so that will stay on our list.
Can you say PASS- A- DENA ? As in, please keep searching for an alternate special occasion or otherwise spot to spend your hard-earned dollars. There have been management challenges within since day 1 and it certainly reflects this. Shame on the owners for not "getting it" that they clearly have the incorrect staff in place. Shame on me, for giving it not one but three chances to iron out the kinks..... Keep looking !