Yelp Eats! (PHX)
Say with you will about Yelp, they've put together a mini-restaurant week in July.
7 days. 15 restaurants. 3 courses. $25 per person.
For one week only, some of the Valley's finest restaurants will offer a special $25 prix fixe dinner menu!
Monday, July 20th - Sunday, July 26th - mark your calendars now - specific menus will be posted soon but the participating restaurants are:
*Cheuvront Restaurant & Wine Bar
*Coup Des Tartes
*San Gabriel Mexican Cafe
*Sol Y Sombra
We went to Metro Brasserie on Saturday. I was psyched since we'd had such good experiences at Atlas & Mission. Unfortunately, not so much.
The first major problem was that they seemed to be completely understaffed for a busy Saturday night. It took forever to get anything turned around from the bar. (The woman working the bar was making an ernest effort, but she was clearly not in any way an experienced bartender.) Our reservation was for 7:30, & we probably got seated about 8:00. Took a good half hour to get wine delivered to the table, & our food order wasn't taken til 8:45 -- first of the food arrived atbout 9:15. Now, at Atlas, the kitchen had been backed up, but the waitstaff was still very attentive. At Metro, it felt like there just weren't getting around to us. Yeah, they were busy, but not packed!
So having waited, once the food arrived, it was ... OK. Usually pate has cornichons, capers & such on the side. This one had them in the pate, which was weird. It was tasty enough, but definitely nothing inspired. The duck was pounded, breaded & fried. There was nothing ducky about it -- could just as easily have been veal or pork. Only a trace of sauce, & no taste (to me) of horseradish in the spaetzle. The word "bland" was pretty much the consensus around most of the table -- under-seasoned, uninspired, & generally nothing to write home about.
OK, so explain this: One of our companions asked if it would be possible to get bernaise sauce with his steak frites, rather than the maitre d'hotel butter. I don't believe they have bernaise standing by anywhere else on the menu, but it never hurts to ask. Not only did the bernaise appear, it was clearly freshly made for the request, & was lovely! One of the best that I've ever had in a restaurant! Somebody in the kitchen clearly knows what they're doing -- so why was most everything else so pedestrian?
So, unfortunately, disappointing. With all the restaurant closings in the neighbourhood, maybe they need to think about picking up some additional skilled help.
Went to Sol Y Sambra for this promotion.
First things first, they were very upfront about offering the deal. I have been to other restaurants that don't supply the special discount, unless you specifically ask for it (which is uncomfortable). Sol had the menu on the table, and the waiter pointed it out (saying - "you should definitely go with it, as it will be much cheaper"). Great start.
We got the following items (they had 3 or 4 different selections in 3 categories - Apps, Meats, and deserts): Grilled Broccoli, Shrimp, Short Rib, Duck Breast, Baked Apple., and chocolate tart (sorry I don't remember the flowery names for these dishes).
I had wanted to try this place, but never got around to it, so this promotion was definitely a reason why we went. I was expecting authentic tapas atmosphere, but it was quite the opposite - the room was very upscale (urban and hip). Our table wasn't ready, but they seated us quickly in another one in the bar area (which was great).
The food was great, and the portions were quite large (we left absolutely stuffed). Me and my SO love to share, so the Tapas type presentations were perfect for us (all the items were setup to share easily).
The standouts were the short rib (really beefy, and fatty which is how it should be). The shrimp consisted of quite a few small shrimp (I would guess 30 -45) in a light tomato sauce. The duck was nice (prepared well, still juicy, but not raw in the least) - with a nice sauce that must have had ground up nuts in it. The chocolate tart for desert was nice (and you could taste the high quality dark chocolate used in it). I did find some of the dishes a bit salty, but still quite nice.
Overall, I was very impressed with the overall experience - especially some of the small things (like the confirmation call earlier in the day, and the great service from the hostess when our table wasn't ready). Our service was polished (exactly as it should be - the waiter was around when we needed him, but not in our face too much).
I should mention we had a few cocktails - of them, the Calibra was a standout for me (it was Cherry, Grapefruit and Sprite). All the tastes meshed, but stood on their own. I also had a ginger lemonade, which was only OK. My SO had something with Pomegranite, but I didn't taste it. The fact that their drinks come with fresh squeezed juices is a major plus (and indicative of the kind of attention to details I found throughout the whole dinner).
Bottom line, this promotion was a great deal, and the restaurant itself exceeded my expectations. We will return.
Agree - we always enjoy Sol y Sombra, and Sommelier Dave Johnson is one of my favorites in the industry. I was just there two weeks ago with AZvinesandwines and another friend. Didn't order a lot since we had just come from Happy Hour at Banzai Cowboy, but we shared the diver sea scallops, patatas bravas, and artichokes a la plancha, all washed down with a couple of bottles of red wine that Dave chose for us. Always a great time.
No reports on this from anybody? Other than the 2 posts in the Digestif thread, I don't think I've seen anything about experiences...
We've been to Atlas Bistro & the Mission so far, & have Metro Brasserie tonight. We've been very happy with the all offerings so far -- everything was pretty much excellent at both.
Atlas Bistro was also having a tasting dinner in the wine side on the same night, so the kitchen was rather backed up. They had also added a couple of things, changed one of the desserts, & were also were offering a 4 course version for $40. The $40 version added an additional first course of some killer lovely things: lamb chop, sweetbreads, pork belly & ... this is what happens if I don't take notes. We had the lamb & the pork belly & both were delish! Having this additional option slightly confused the advance wine selections, but we managed. :-) I had never been to Atlas before, this was a great introduction, & will definitely be going back.
I had also never been to the Mission before. That was also very good, & would go back there as well. Among the table, we had everything on the RW menu, & everything was excellent.
There weren't any of the new places that we tried from the last "real" restaurant week that warranted a return visit. But both of these definitely did. (Don't know if it's just a matter of luck, but this one's going really well for us!)
Good to hear such positive feedback. Things have been tight this month so we were only able to do one of the choices. It was between Digestif and Atas, and we went with the latter only because we knew it'd be good. My SO's not really into the "whole food thing," as he calls it, and I wanted to make sure he'd enjoy it since we haven't been going out as much. But with such a good response, we'll hopefully be able to try Atlas out soon.
I guess you could say the same about Z'Tejas or Pasta Brioni - not exactly two 'hound destinations - but what's the point? If you're in town July 20-26, it gives people an opportunity to try out some of these places for cheaper than usual, gets people in the door and talking about the food, and that's really all it's about, right?
I actually disagree about pasta brioni, beacuse they ahve 1/2 off menu items sundays and mondays so you can get meatballs and spaghetti for 8 bucks!
With all the happy hrs going on why would you not utilize them during happy hr and then not have to get dessert if you don't want it.
FYI - brief menu descriptions are now up on the Yelp Eats Phoenix board (copied below)
Here are the participating restaurants and BRIEF menu options:
1. Heirloom tomatoes with House Made Mozzarella OR Applewood Smoked Salmon with Crispy Pommes and Preserved Lemon Crema
2. Braised Beef Short OR Market OR Cornish Game Hen
3. Artisan Cheese Plate with Charcuterie and Fruit OR Enough Chocolate to make your teeth hurt :
CHEUVRONT RESTAURANT & WINE BAR
1. Soup of the Day OR Poached Pear Salad
2. Roasted Vegetable Lasagna OR Orange Glazed Salmon OR Parmesan Crusted Chicken
3. Pumpkin Bread OR One Cheese Plate
COUP DES TARTES
1. Chèvre / Tomato OR Three Onion Tarte
2. Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast OR Lamb Shank OR Fettuccini
3. Choice of Tarte
1. (Garden Course) Heirloom tomato salad OR Sicilian Caesar OR Digestif Salad
2. (Artisan Course) Fresh mozzarella OR Spaghetti & meatballs OR Fettucine
3. (Meaty Course) Panko-fried chicken OR Halibut Veracruz OR Niman Ranch Wagyu
1. Fatoosh salad OR organic iceberg chunk salad.
2. Bacon Infused Meatloaf OR Pear Encrusted Salmon OR Pan Seared Garlic Chicken Breast
3. Creme Brulee OR Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
1. Onion Soup Gratin OR Country Pate OR Brochette of Burgundy Snails OR Local Melon / Sweetbreads
2. Poulet Rouge-Carolina OR Paneed Duck-horseradish spaetzle OR Rainbow Trout OR Sea Scallops
3. Peach Cobbler OR Blueberry Lavender Galette OR Pots de Creme
1. Garden OR Caesar Salad OR Toasted Ravioli
2. Spaghetti & Meatballs OR Chicken Picatta OR Halibut Provencale OR Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings
3. Homemade Tiramisu OR Mini Cannoli
1. Yucatan Shrimp Cocktail OR Soup of the Day OR Mixed Market Green
2. Boneless Buttermilk-Fried Chicken OR Sautéed Rainbow Trout OR Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder "Carnitas"
3. Hot Chocolate Lava Brownie OR Crème Brulee House Made Cookies OR Hot Huckleberry Bread Pudding
1. Burnt Tomato Salad OR Hamachi Serrano Chili Roll
2. Salmon Teriyaki with Pickled Cucumber OR Pork Chop Marinated with Sweet Miso and Kim Chi OR Spicy Fried Tofu with Avocado and Salad Greens
3. Baked Green Tea Custard OR Raspberry and Lychee on a Flourless Orange Cake
SAN GABRIEL MEXICAN CAFÉ
1. Chicken Taquitos OR Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
2. Molcajetes - choice of chicken, steak, shrimp or vegetable OR Carne Asada Con Rajas OR Seared Scallops
3. Kahlua Flan OR Chocolate Tamale
SOL Y SOMBRA
1. Pick 2: Carribean sweet shrimp with sherry sauce and herbs, lolla rossa lettuce with Cabrales blue cheese, pickled red onion and hazelnuts, grilled broccoli with caramelized onion sauce and sea salt
2. Pick 2: Grilled short rib with Romesco and calcots, Charred octopus with black olive oil, pink grapefruit and arugula, Roasted duck breast with sauce picada
3. Choice of any dessert from dessert menu or small cheese sampling
1. Almejas al vapor , peruvian clam stew, rock shrimp, chorizo, pan de yucca, aji amarillo, roast corn OR Duck carnitas empanada, foie gras, orange habanero, oregano, mushroom, gueso oaxaca
2. Estancia grass fed New York OR Chilean Salmon OR Pork Belly Pibil
3. Churros, espresso, Ibarra chocolate, milkshake OR Pumpkin bread pudding
1. Double Down OR Flatbread Pizza with Tandoori Chicken
2. Carne Asada on a Potato Pancake OR Vigan...But Not Quite Vegan OR What a Jerked Chicken OR Grilled Achiote Salmon
3. Chocolate-Walnut Brownie OR Savory Bread Pudding
1. Hot Bruschetta OR Stuffed Eggplant
2. Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings OR Pasta Alla Nona OR Chicken Saltimbocca OR Bolognese OR Pasta & Clams
3. Cannoli OR Bacio Balls
(and all Valley locations
)1. Grilled Shrimp & Guacamole Tostada OR Crispy Crab Tacos OR Iceberg Wedge
2. Grilled Chipotle Beef OR Grilled Salmon OR Voo Doo Tuna
3. Ancho Fudge Pie OR Chef's Dessert