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Jul 24, 2009 02:34 PM

Digestif's new incarnation (Scottsdale)

Payton & Shantal are back in business on the other side of the street! Indeed the space is much smaller, but that just means that we get to giggle at Payton trying not to swear at the salamander in front of the guests. :-)

We were there last night (Thu) for the Palmina wne tasting dinner. Two charchterie starter courses; a tempura'd ahi & scallop roll; grilled quail; pork shoulder; & a dessert trio. All paired perfectly with the wines. The winemaker, Chrystal Clifton, was very fun, & had a lot of interesting information & stories about bringing northern italian grapes to southern California. One of the first things she said was that they believe strongly in their wines working well with food. And they sooo did! A good time was definitely had!

Payton was also saying that opening night (Wed) was crazy-busy, which is an excellent thing. They're extending their mini-restaurant-week offer into next week, since they got a late start on it.

The new "subtitle" for the restaurant is indeed "farm to table", & he's no longer locked into the "Cal-Ital" model. He said they'll still have pasta & gnocci, & of course the house-smoked goodies. But he's also branched out to add some asian/Japanese- & mexican-influenced things, as well as yummy american. Looks like the plan is to change the menu weekly.

(Looks like the place link is going to need to be updated -- however that's done.
New address is 7133 E. Stetson. Phone is still 480-425-WINE, & webpage still

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  1. Thanks for the update. Couldn't resist peaking through the window on my way to Kazimierz last night. The changes made/decor added so far looked, at a glace, to be fairly minimal, but the place seemed to be really bustling, and it looked like a lot of people having a great time sitting at the bar, watching the cooking in action. It made me want to go in and eat a second meal.

    I was actually thinking about how great it would be if he decided to put out some newer, different, and creative dishes regularly. The small-scale format and the dominance of the bar seating seem particularly condusive to experimenting. It sounds like this is exactly what he's going to be doing. A new weekly menu is a fantastic idea, and a great way to showcase Curry's creativity and skill all the better.

    1. I was there Wednesday for the reopening night and the Yelp Eats special menu. I had never been to the prior location so I have no real basis for comparison between the two sites.

      I'll definitely agree with the "crazy-busy" characterization. The restaurant was struggling to keep up with customers Wednesday and graciously comped our drinks when we had to leave abruptly after 2.5 hours before the cutoff time imposed by our babysitter. I have a feeling it will be a little better as the restaurant settles into its new quarters, although my guess is this will never be a place for a quick meal (nor should it try to be).

      We enjoyed almost everything. The crab and watermelon appetizer was excellent -- a great light summer appetizer. The pappardelle pasta featured supple ribbons of fresh noodles with eggplant. For entrees, we had scallops and the panko-fried chicken. Both were very nice. The only letdown was the mozzarella. I had heard so much about the chef's mozzarella that I expected something sublime. It might have been great if served uncooked and in moderate quantity, but what we received was a huge rubbery sheet of melted cheese over a smaller piece of bread. It was overwhelming.

      I hope to return in a few weeks once the restaurant has settled into its new space and give it another try from the regular (albeit frequently changing) menu.

      1. We were also in Wednesday night,and would definitely agree with the crazy busy description. We made reservations for 8:30, but I'm pretty positive we lucked out that there was an open spot at the bar when we arrived. I'm not sure if it's because it was so insane, but I much preferred the spot across the street, as neat as it is watching the kitchen. More than one person working the floor would have helped, also. The food was great as always, despite the 2.5 hours it took us to get it all. I was definitely surprised to see the Mexican and Asian dishes on the menu, and will have to give them a try on future visits.

        I also opted for the Yelp menu, but I'd have to disagree about the mozzarella. I've had it before, and was more excited about the pickled okra that accompanied it. This time, however, the cheese was fantastic! I was also surprised with the southwest twist the scallops had. The menu simply described them as "seared sea scallops with red onion, tomato, and creamed corn." The dish definitely had some kick to it, which was more than welcome on my plate, just unexpected.

        All in all I'm glad to see them back up and running, but probably won't be back for a bit until they work some kinks out!

        1. Did anyone notice if there is seperate "bar" seating (aside from that surrounding the kitchen)? I realize the place is tiny, and this is more than likely a definite "no," but I'm hoping there is, or will be, a way to get in there and enjoy some drinks and a few of their smaller dishes or appetizers, without having to take up seats intended for more serious dining.

          2 Replies
          1. re: crsin

            I'm not sure if it was just due the craziness on opening night, but I would say no. The "bar" is pretty much just a small shelf of bottles to the side of the "kitchen," above the register (or somewhere near it, anyway). However, I don't think it's really an issue. As long as you're there eating and drinking, I personally wouldn't worry about it. As long as you take that into consideration when tipping time comes, I don't find anything wrong with it. I think the whole idea of the place is to take your time and enjoy yourself and the "kitchen." But that's just me.

            1. re: crsin

              There definitely isn't a separate bar area. But I agree with Meleyna, drinks & apps won't be a problem at all. As a matter of fact, I think of it more that way than I do "serious dining". I usually sat at the charcuterie bar at the former location, & casual was always the vibe. I'm figure the craziness has more to do with "just reopened" & mini-restaurant week -- I assume things will calm down soon. (And you happened to peek in on Thursday, which was exclusively the tasting dinner, which obviously has a more "formal" feel than usual.)

              They're still interested in doing cocktails. Peter was mixing the Plum Dandy cocktails for the first amuse at the tasting dinner. The regular menu has a "Cocktail Culture" section on the back with 10 interesting cocktails listed, including several of the same ones as before.