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Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

Not all the menu's are up yet, but I've already started thinking about it. Since I moved to far east Mesa (where the the "best" restaurant is Red, White and Brew, which isn't bad, but. . .), I'm not so familiar withe places on the list. Suggestions?

http://www.arizonarestaurantweek.com/...

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  1. My personal short list, chosen either because I've been waiting for a good opportunity to try it, or because it's a favorite bringing me back for a good deal:
    BLT, Bourbon Steak or J&G
    Coup de Tartes
    Metro
    Nine-05
    NOCA
    Prado
    Mission
    Los Sombreros
    Zinc Bistro

    1 Reply
    1. re: crsin

      I am doing BLT and J&G. Interestingly, BLT includes a cocktail, which makes the meal even more of a value. J&G is on my short list of places to try out anyway, so this is a great opportunity.

      Went to Bourbon Steak last year, and it was wonderful. It is super expensive otherwise, so this is a good chance to check it out. The food was delicious (regular size portions, and I agree with Poerz about the wonderful duck fat fries), and the service excellent. We have been back for burgers in the bar (and ordered the fries as a side - $5 which is an amazing value).

      Also went to Roka Akor last year, which wasn't great. I felt like they were trying to up-sell us the whole time (to add supplemental courses to the meal), and thought our server looked down on us when we didn't take the bait (ie. "Look at the cheapo restaurant week folks"). I didn't find the special menu that great a deal (and quite frankly, haven't been back again after the snotty service).

      NOCA offers a great deal every Sunday night (Simple Suppers), that is basically the same price, so I think I will skip them during restaurant week - although, it is a great restaurant, so if you are looking to experience a great meal, this is someplace that shouldn't be missed.

    2. Of the places that have menus up, I'm most interested in the offerings at:

      Atlas
      Fuego
      Metro

      I liked my recent meal at Nine 05 and am eager to try more of what they have to offer, but some of the things I'm most interested in trying are not on the RW menu.

      1. Bourbon Steak is an opportunity to enjoy what is otherwise, a very expensive restaurant. Dined there last year and enjoyed it immensely. Particularly the complimentary french fries cooked in duck fat appetiizer. Two others from last year were very good as well. Capital Grille surprised us a bit and Roy's was very nice. This year I think Vincent's has an interesting menu. From what I hear, weekend nights are already filling up fast.

        1. So far, we have resevations at BLT Steak & Noca. We just did Atlas for yelp's RW (& it was yummy!) -- I wouldn't mind doing that one again, although I'd be perfectly happy to just go any time. We did Bourbon Steak last year, & thought the food was excellent. However, everybody in our group found it loud & the chairs uncomfortable. I'm willing to hit that one again & see if it was just something about the particular table we were at.

          Booger had exactly the same experience at Roka Akor that we did. And I've had exactly the same response. (Haven't been back.) If anybody does go, it'll be interesting to hear if they've changed their attitude any ...

          1. Have you tried Dvine out in northeast Mesa across the street from RW&B? I've had some great meals there.

            1. Things like this week are my opportunity to drag my husband to fancy places. However, he is still unwilling to try too much, so he usually ends up getting filet and french fries. Fortunately, many of these places offer a filet as part of the deal. But which would be the nicest about accomodating someone like him who will want it "without any weird sauce"?

              He is willing to go for me, but I have a better experience if he is comfortable as well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                I would bet that your husband could get exactly what he wants at Digestif if he were to order the steak frites, hold the weird sauce. This is not to say that other restaurants would necessarily be less accommodating, but rather that I know Payton Curry takes pride in being able to work inventively within the constraints set by patrons. If you have doubts, you could try calling beforehand to make doubly sure your husband will get what he wants.

                -----
                Digestif
                7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351

                1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                  We are going to try J&G in the Phoenician 7:30 on Sat, no trouble getting a reservation. (a lot of places look open- economy?).

                  Anyway, the husband has been to the Phoenician before for a meeting and has marveled to me about how fancy it was, so I know he will be excited to actually eat there. And he can do caesar salad, Grilled Black Angus Flat Iron Steak Frites, and ice cream, which is about as middle of the road as it gets. And I get to enjoy steamed shrimp salad, slow cooked salmon and warm chocolate cake.

                  In addition, I think we are going to try Landmark. Its very close by our home, and you get a TON of food (which we like) because you get access to the salad bar, along with the appetizer, entree, dessert and glass of wine.

                  Does anyone know anything about Chart House? They have a whole lobster on their menu (I personally think lobster is overrrated, but again for the DH). I also looked at Wildfish. I'd love some fantastic seafood.

                  1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                    Wildfish is very good, way better than Chart House. However, a whole lobster is rare around these parts.

                2. We are shooting for Bourbon Steak. It looks like a great menu and we've had it on the list of wanna try for a long time. It is also super expensive otherwise. No problem with a sat. night reservation. The economy is a mess and it shows in the restaurant scene.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: danieli10

                    Bourbon Steak is worth it just for the complimentary french fry appetizer. Cooked in duck fat with three dipping sauces. Yum.

                    btw, dined last night at Donovan's. Had 5:30pm reservation and they were telling guests without reservations they were full. Twin prime tournedos with port wine and blue cheese, Caesar salad and creme brulee were very good. Companion had prime filet and scampi, chophouse salad and an excellent chocolate mousse. Again, very good. They had a specila wine selection for $25/ bottle, well below their regular bottle pricing. Have not been there since it was Harris' Steakhouse. Completely different interior. Overall, very nice evening and service was excellent and friendly; Not at all stuffy. For $29pp how can you beat this. Counting last year we are now 4 for 4 during Restaurant Week with good to great meals and fantastic value.

                    1. re: Poerz

                      I wonder how good Donovan's is for regular service? Just curious as I've heard a lot of ads on the radio, but never been there. I wonder how it stacks up against the regular cast of steakshouses - Morton's, Ruth's, Flemings, Mastro's, etc.

                  2. The husband and I went to Bourbon Steak last night. While the food was quite good the service was lacking. I think it was because we were ordering from the discount menu. I was a little annoyed but my husband reminded me for the price it was worth the lesser service.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: BrendaWrighterbee

                      I just can't buy into that mindset. If they're open, they should be doing their best, regardless of what you're ordering or whether you've opted to avail yourself of a special that they've decided to offer. I regularly check out a place with a small meal or a special deal (like RW) before I commit to a big spendy extravaganza with my wine-lover friends. If you blow the audition, you don't get the gig. It's that simple. The way I see it, particularly for those high-end, resort places, RW is an opportunity to get people to come check you out, in anticipation that they'll come back for the spendy meal(s) at a later date.

                      But if the service is lacking or snobby, I ain't coming back.

                      In fairness, I have been to a couple of RW places that were swamped (because of the special deal) & had some service issues due to being slammed. I can be more forgiving of that. But if I get the impression that the service issues are because of what I've ordered, the place os off my list.

                      1. re: emmaAmethyst

                        emmaAmethyst I can't agree with you more. RW is a chance for an establishment to impress you enough that you will be willing to come back and order off the regular menu. The service and food should be at the same level as any other time of year.

                        I didn't have the same experience at Bourbon last year. They were extremely gracious, and happy to serve us from the special menu. My guess is you had an overwhelmed or snotty waiter - It doesn't excuse bad service, but I don't think it is the norm.

                        I think it is important to show the restaurant some respect, and check out the regular menu, and make an effort to understand what they are all about. They are offering a special deal to get people in to learn about their place, it is only right, that we give them the opportunity to educate us on everything. (We always request to look at the regular menu)

                      2. re: BrendaWrighterbee

                        Sorry to hear about the service, I'm going with a group of 8 on Saturday so I'm hoping that won't be an issue for us. Most RW restaurants won't be able to accommodate 8 on such late notice so we can't make a switch at this point unfortunately. Any recommendations on specific dishes that were better than others?

                      3. Ate at J&G's on Sat night. They gave us a table right by the window, which was great for me, but DH had to sit with his back to it, as it was a table for two only. The noise level was a little high, especially the "OMG" girls that sat next to us halfway through.

                        The restaurant week menu was presented right away, atop the other menu. But when we ordered off it, the waiter asked "for his own edification, if we looked at the other menu". I couldn't decide if it was rude or not, but it did make me uncomfortable, which is a big no-no.

                        The service had a few missteps- brought me a steak knife when I ordered salmon but then picked it up, tried to bring someone else's salads to our table, but overall it was professional and prompt. At first visit, the restroom was clean but unimpressive. However, on the way out it was filthy- towels, tp and water on the floor. I mentioned it to the manager in passing and he apologized and promised to get it taken care of immediately. I hope he did, because something like that reallly puts a damper on my meal- I figure if the bathroom is dirty the kitchen is worse!

                        I had the steamed shrimp with avocado & mushroom salad, which was outstanding. The three large butterflied shrimp were perfectly cooked. My avocado had a few bruised spots and was light on taste, but overall the flavor of the salad was wonderful. The highlight of my meal. DH had the casear, which I thought was very good because I like my casesar bright, but he thought was too lemony.

                        For entrees, DH had the flat iron steak, which was very good. Somewhere between a filet and a sirloin in texture, it was perfectly cooked. His french fries were crispy- which meant too done for him but perfect for me. I had the slow cooked salmon, a nice portion of fish cooked so that it was extremely moist. The only drawback was the lack of seasoning. I love salmon, but it could have used another flavor note or two besides just the fish. It was served over "creamed corn" which was fresh corn off the cob, mixed in with lime bits and cream. Different and very tasty. DInner also came with fresh dinner rolls, the likes of which I haven't had in quite some time. Slightly sweet, warm and already split down the middle, we had two each. :)

                        Dessert was probably the biggest disappointment. We both had the warm chocolate cake with caramel ice cream. I'm not a big fan of chocolate lava cake (or of any foods that ooze for that matter) and this confirmed why. The outside cake was dry and had only a bitter chocolate taste, whle the inside was over the top sweet and gooey. The caramel ice cream was very good, and once we mixed that with the cake, it helped enough that we both finished our dessert, but it wasn't the kind you reminisce about days later.

                        For $58, it was an excellent meal and a very nice experience. Not quite the perfect night that one would expect if you were to pay full price, but good nonetheless.

                        1. We have reservations for tonight at The District, which is one of the places offering a complementary drink with the menu. Others included Blanco Tacos & Tequila, and Prado, I believe. We like that District supports local and sustainable agriculture. We are hoping to go out again on Thursday or Friday, and our short list for that night includes noca, Nine-05, and maybe Mission. If anyone visits one of those, please report back --!

                          We had thought to hit Different Pointe of View or Sassi, because the views make an even better bargain, but decided those were worth a visit outside of Restaurant Week. Sassi does their seasonal prix fixe.

                          Anyone disappointed by places not on the list? Quiessence chose not to participate, and it's Ko'Sin instead of Kai with a menu. I had been hoping Gallo Blanco would be included, but it's not.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: themis

                            Places not on the list? Binkley's doesn't need to participate, & never does, but I'm always a little surprised that Cafe Bink's doesn't. Would be nice if Razz were on there, as a "back from their summer vacation" reminder. Cowboy Banzai at DC Ranch would have been cool to have. (It's important for them to let it be known that they're a nice, fun place, & not "DC Rawnch stuffy".) Presumably chef Porter thought it might be "too much, too soon" for his newly opened Petit Maison. Total missed opportunity for Calistro California Bistro (Pima just north of the 101).

                            (Anybody happen to know: Does a restaurant have to be on OpenTable in order to participate? It seems most of them are...)

                            1. re: emmaAmethyst

                              Just a note-Petite Maison is already very reasonably priced, and you can pretty easily do a three course meal on your own for $30. It's a fantastic deal.

                            2. re: themis

                              Quiessence's absence is a little surprising and more than a little disappointing.

                              I'm actually not too surprised to see that Gallo Blanco isn't participating. We've been to Gallo Blanco a few times now, and our tab for 2 people has yet to come close to the $58 mark. The last time we went, we ordered the elote, a full order of guac, 3 tacos, the chilaquiles, and 1 cocktail each. This was definitely a case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs or possibly just a fit of temporary insanity. It ended up being way too much food, and our tab before tax and tip was either right at or just shy of $45.

                              One _could_ spend ~$29/person on 3 courses at Gallo Blanco by ordering the most expensive items ($7 antojito+$16 fish+$7 pastel = $30), but that approach just doesn't fit with how I like to order there. I'd rather spend less AND have more different tastes than get a negligible discount on what, to me, would be a less interesting meal.

                              So, I guess what I'm saying is, don't wait for next year's Restaurant Week to try Gallo Blanco. :-)

                              1. re: hohokam

                                It is indeed too bad that Quiessence didn't participate. They do certain price fixe menu's throughout the year (we went to a Valentines day thing), so they are able to make it work on certain occasions.

                                I think the most glaring omission to me is Elements.

                                At least Kai has some sort of participation with Ko'Sin.

                                Just because a restaurant doesn't have to participate (ala Binkley's) doesn't mean they shouldn't. RW is a great thing for the foodie community. I appreciate the restaurants that are participating, and establishing this event as something worthwhile.

                              2. re: themis

                                Disappointed that Lon's at the Hermosa Inn did not participate althoug I thought they were on the list early but without a menu. Binkley's should have participated. There are several objectives behind RW and one is to get the public focused on dining out in the Phoenix area and not just building your own business.

                                1. re: themis

                                  We also went to District last night and had a very good meal. Spoke to the chef about his comfort food and the super room. Salad and duck quesadilla- both great. Salmon and pork tenderloin both cooked perfectly and sides delish- risotto and sweet potato fries to die for. So fun to have the strawberry whoopie pies and glasses of wine included. Definitely plan to return on another night downtown- plus free parking!

                                  1. re: bluecat

                                    Going tomorrow to District....so you bring up a good point. Where did you park? :-)

                                    1. re: boingo2000

                                      you can valet or go in the garage and you get A validated ticket for 3 hours :)

                                      1. re: boingo2000

                                        Driving Downtown is so 2008. Take the light rail to 3rd St. or Van Buren. It's just a few blocks' walk from either station.

                                        And, yes, I've heard that District validates parking at the Sheraton valet for those who arrive by car.

                                    2. re: themis

                                      We were at Noca Sunday night. To be honest, we were oblivious it was restaurant week(we've had so much going on lately we haven't been out in months and are completley out of touch right now with the dining scene in the area). We happened to have a rare sunday night free and it wasn't fried chicken night so we decided at the last minute to treat ourselves to night out. It was a very diffiult choice between Petite Maison, which I mentioned in ej's thread last week was to be our next night out, or Noca with Noca being chosen only because it was Sunday night and we've never been able to try a Simple Supper before.

                                      We had a great evening. The citrus fennel salad was well done and very refreshing. This is one of my favorite combinations so I was pleased to see it offered. I had the halibut and as always the kitchen did a fabulous job with the fish(they really know how to handle fish and seafood in the Noca kitchen). My husband opted for the vegetarian offering of the beet canelloni. this used shaved beets as the noodles around a ricotta filling. One of the best vegetarian dishes I've ever had in a restaurant. Dessert didn't impress or excite us...ricotta zeppole. Not much into fried fritters and these were overdone and nearly burnt. A rare miss by the kitchen here.

                                      Overall a good meal. The portions seemed smaller than a week night - don't know if that was due to the restaurant week pricing or is typical on the sunday menus. We were far from underfed though and left feeling perfectly satisfied(Typically we can't finish our plates here so the small portions didn't bother us...just more of an observation).

                                      Don't know what they're offering on weeknights.

                                      Husband has a business dinner at District. Again, booked while he was completely oblivious to Restaurant Week. The menu looks good though and the reports here sound promising. I'm looking forward to his report afterwards as we have never been there. thanks for the review, i sent it on to him.

                                    3. Ate at BLTsteak last night and I'd highly recommend it for Restaurant Week in terms of value, quality of food and service.

                                      After looking through the restaurant line up, we picked BLT because the regular menu is way pricier than the RW menu so this was a good chance to try it w/o breaking the bank. Whereas, I feel you can eat at similar prices for many of the other places if you skip dessert. Bourbon's probably the other good choice but we ate there last year and didn't like the service.

                                      Booger mentioned a complimentary cocktail but I didn't see it on the RW menu handed to us nor did the server mention it. Between the two of us, we ordered one of everything. Kabocha soup was way better than the tomato salad - we regretted not ordering two soups. One of the tomatoes was a bit mealy. Hanger steak was served on the most delicious mushrooms in a cast-iron pan. The charred crisp salty crust was nicely balanced by the sweetness of the potato and carrot sides. Sole was a whole fish butterflied and panfried to a nice crisp in a perfectly balanced lemon caper butter sauce. Problem was there were still little bones near the top fin. I notified the server who apologized saying "sometimes they can't get all the little bones'" I think the problem is they don't serve anything with "little bones" on their regular menu and kitchen was overwhelmed.

                                      Dessert was probably least well executed. The banana ice cream on PB mousse was gritty - probably re-churned too many times in their Pacojet. Cheesecake should have been more smooth and creamy. I've been told that dessert chefs have it the worst during RW because more than half of diners don't usually order dessert. Petite four that came with our check were 2 mini molten chocolate cakes, which were actually better than our dessert.

                                      Highlight was definitely the amuse bouche of chicken livers and toast and gigantic gougeres served with European butter and a giant salt shaker. We tried to save our appetites by splitting just one of the gougeres but that still left us fuller than we wanted. We doggy bagged the other one and the server was kind enough to throw in one more w/o telling us. Reheated nicely for breakfast this morning.

                                      Pictures: http://twitpic.com/photos/icecreamchef

                                      P.S. Our server had an obvious stutter which we don't mind as long as he does a good job and he did. Major props to BLT for their equal opportunity hiring practices!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: heleny

                                        We had our first (of 2 – next up J&G) Restaurant Week meals last night at BLT Steak. It was wonderful.

                                        Our meal started with a complimentary Champagne cocktail. It was placed in front of us as soon as we sat down (heleny – maybe they thought you looked too young to drink, which is why they didn’t do this for you ;-) ). It was interesting, basically sparkling wine, with sugar, and bitters maybe. It was a nice touch, not wonderful, but certainly nothing to complain about, since it was complimentary.

                                        Next up was the amuse bouche. It was a small turine of chicken liver pate. I am not a fan of liver usually, but absolutely loved this dish. Everyone at the table was in agreement that it was wonderful, and we all basically fought over who would get to lick the bowl clean.

                                        The next suprise were the Gorgonzola Popovers (which I should have known about). This is the signature item at BLT, and has won raves from previous diners. They are huge, very light bread puffs, with a perfect balance of cheese funk. After finishing the popovers, and liver app, we all agreed that we were already full, and could probably leave happy now.

                                        Of course, our meal hadn’t even begun. We ordered one of each off the menu, to ensure we could taste everything. I ordered a glass of Gruet Sparkling wine (one of my favorites, and props to BLT for supporting regional purveyors).

                                        The highlight of our first course was definitely the soup. It was basically a squash soup, with crab, and the most amazing sweet cinnamon croutons. All the tastes in the soup complimented each other, and the portion of crab was generous. The tomato/onion salad was pretty good, but maybe a little pedestrian. In this dish the quality of the ingredients really stood out – they used heirloom tomatoes (the skins were dotted, and different colors), and a nice balance of oil, and other ingredients. It was a nice dish (but I would probably opt for the soup if given a choice, as it was much more special).

                                        The standout for our main course was the fish. It was a whole Sole, butterflied, and cooked to perfection. The fish had a wonderful salty crust, and perfectly tender meat. It was cooked to perfection, and among some of the best fish I have had anywhere. The steak was also good. The quality of the meat was clear, and the mushrooms that were presented with it in the cast iron skillet were amazing (and I am usually not a fungus fan).

                                        The sides that came with the entrees were nothing special. The fingerling potatoes dish had more onions than potatoes, and the carrots were fairly pedestrian. Again, they weren’t bad dishes, just nothing special. If I had it to do over, I think I would have supplemented the meal with some other sides from the regular menu.

                                        Deserts were a minor letdown. The peanut butter mouse was super rich, and overwhelmed the rest of the tastes of the dish (namely chocolate, and banana from the ice cream). I thought the consistency was fine (and the crunchies they put on top added a good texture). The berry cheesecake was fine, but nothing special. We all wondered if they used goat cheese to make the cake, as it had a little bit of a funky taste (in a good way), and a very soft texture. We asked the waiter, and he said it was just regular cream cheese.

                                        My final comment would be about the service. It was stellar, and indicative of what we would expect if we were paying full price. They changed out the silverware with each course, paced our meal properly, and most importantly, offered us the RW menu right away, with no attempt to upsell. From the moment we walked in (the hostesses accommodated our request for an outside table), to the time we left (everyone thanked us for coming in), they treated us well.

                                        Overall, I was very happy with this meal, and thought it was a wonderful value (actually a steal, as our final tally was $69 and I had a glass of wine).

                                        http://mswolfson.wordpress.com/2009/0...

                                      2. Dined at Trader Vic's last night using RW as an excuse to try it for the first time. My expectations were moderate based on comments from others. It was pretty darn good.

                                        I had the moo shu pork appetizer that was excellent and a large portion while my guest had crispy almod duck. Hard to say which was better. Both were excellent. Meal comes with a mini Mai Tai. I haven't had a Mai Tai in at least 10 years. TV invented the drink and they are wise for including one in the RW menu. There is no comparison between the real thing and what I remember from others.

                                        Pleasant surprise: Every bottle of wine on their wine list is half price! We had a very nice bottle of Ferrari Carano Sauvignon Blanc at $34 on their list for just $17, I priced it at retail today and it was $18.

                                        Entrees were crispy salmon from the Chinese Oven and I had Kung Pao Chicken. Both were very good and I took half of my very large KP portion home for lunch today.

                                        Desserts were mammoth. One was a snowball (ice cream covered with coconut with home made chocolate sauce) and the other was rum gelato. Could not get even half finished.

                                        Service was excellent and the waiter asked about RW and said they have had alot of traffic. When I told him how much I enjoyed the pork in the appetizer he did a great job selling their happy hour where - among other things - you can get that pork on a slider for $1. I'm all over that.

                                        I totalled the value here and was pretty surprised. Counting the mini Mai Tai - which was a good portion and the wine savings) this meal would have cost about $70 pp instead of $29 plus $8.50 for the wine or $37.50.

                                        Might have been the best of five RW meals we've had over two years. Very surprised.

                                        1. We finally decided on Fuego Bistro and have been raving about it ever since. Service was friendly, professional, just as it should be for a casual place like this. Made us feel very welcome, even the owner came and greeted us and said thank you after our meal. Nicely done wine list with okay markups. Interesting decor and ambience (interesting in a good way).

                                          And the food! We tried all four appetizers, finding two outstanding: the nacho's and the empanadas. Two of our group of four found the taco's to be outstanding, the other two thought them good. The shrimp was the only dud in the group - coating too crunchy, sort of like cornflakes, and the dip on the side too asian and sweet. We were able to rescue the dish by using the hot, spicy dip that was presented with the empenadas. I would have drank that stuff like soup.

                                          Entree's - the steak with gorgonzola shallot butter was very very good. I really liked the butter topping, DH not so enamoured with it, but he usually prefers his steak plain (I keep telling him to order this stuff on the side, but does he listen???). The cuban platters were very, very good - again, we wanted more of that hot sauce, which really made the meat on this dish even better, IMO. The hit of these platters was a surprise to us - the jalapeno creamed corn! Delicious and clearly made with fresh corn and real cream. We also saw and regretted not ordering the stuffed chicken. Looked and smelled better than we ever could have imagined.

                                          Four different deserts, all very very good. One truly amazing, loved by all, including those who are not generally fans of this desert - the Key Lime Pie. Much creamier and less jello like filling than most versions. Not as tart, but definately not sweet. And the crust had something in it - caramel or brown sugar. I'll be dreaming of this for along time.

                                          I'd go back happily regardless of restaurant week. Well worth a visit..

                                          jkgourmet
                                          www.anythinggoesgourmet.com

                                          -----
                                          Fuego Bistro
                                          713 E Palo Verde Dr Ste D, Phoenix, AZ 85014

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: jkgourmet

                                            I'm glad you enjoyed Fuego Bistro. It gets so little attention here on Chowhound. We've only been there three times now but have had a great experience every time. You're right about the corn...I can't eat a full portion of it but always steal nibble off others plates. Good stuff.

                                            Did you try the sangria?

                                            Did the owner mention if the music on the patio had restarted now that the nights are cooling off a bit?

                                            1. re: ziggylu

                                              No we did not try the Sangria (I've been spoiled by the stuff that we drank in Lanzarote and Barcelona, I'm afraid). And the music WAS playing outside on the patio. That was one of the reasons we chose to sit inside. Two of the diners wear hearing aids and we find that they have difficulty hearing in those situations - but it made for lovely background music.

                                              jkgourmet
                                              www.AnythingGoesGourmet.com

                                          2. We recently had a wonderful meal at J&G, when we were lucky to hit it during the Arizona Restaurant Week promotion. I had heard a lot of great things about this place, so it was on my short list of places to try.

                                            We arrived on time, and our table was ready. The space is beautiful. It was hip, and steakhouse-like (dark woods, and big plush booths). Our hostess seated us at a 4 top (there were 2 of us) in the far corner of the restaurant. I wasn’t thrilled with the table, but the wife was happy to be out of the hustle and bustle (we were both tired from a long day of kid chasing), so we didn’t request to be moved. The restaurant is focused on their view over the hotel grounds, and the valley. It is a spectacular view, and most tables in the restaurant take advantage of it (our table did in fact have a view, it was just in a bit of an awkward location). In the future, I would probably request a table “on the window”, as this would probably improve the experience.

                                            First thing I should mention is the service. The afternoon of our reservation day, I received a confirmation call from the restaurant. I always appreciate this, as it is nice to know they will be prepared for us. I requested a patio table, and was told that they don’t serve food there. The hostess was professional, and very pleasant. The rest of the service was excellent throughout our meal. Our waiter was attentive, and kept a perfect level of formality (not stiff, but not our friend either). Our meal was perfectly paced, and our drink glasses never went empty. Our waiter spent a lot of time with us, explaining the menu, and guiding us to make the best choices. They also presented us with the RW menu right away, and didn’t seem to treat us any differently for “dining with a discount”.

                                            I started with a cocktail, as I knew that this was one of the specialties of the house. I got the “Hemingway Daiquiri”, which was excellently mixed (including small bits of crushed ice). It was strong, and really tasty. I stopped at one, but likely could have drank quite a few. I guess Hemingway knew how to drink, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that his namesake drink was tasty and strong.

                                            As with our other RW meals, we got one of each selection on the menu, to ensure we could try everything. This is a good time in my review to comment on the quality of the options. J&G selected their “greatest hits” to best represent their restaurant. I think some other restaurants pick cheaper options, but I appreciate that J&G took this opportunity to showcase themselves in their best light.

                                            The Caesar salad was great. It was light, lemony, and fresh. It was covered in shaved Parmesan, and was very large. The Steamed shrimp salad was really special (our waiter informed us that dish has been on Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s menu since his very first opening). It consisted of 4 very large shrimp, cooked perfectly, with accompaniments of micro greens, funny long mushrooms, avocado, and a great vinaigrette. I understand why this dish has stood the test of time, as all the ingredients worked so well together, and showcased their individual qualities. It was a really great appetizer.

                                            The entrees arrived. The Steak frites was pretty good. The quality of the steak was good (and it was prepared just as we requested), and the fries perfectly prepared (they were somewhat pedestrian – but cooked perfectly – crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside). The highlight of our meal was the Salmon dish. It was the most perfectly cooked piece of fish I have ever had. It was simply prepared (there was very little seasoning, which allowed the quality of the fish to shine through). The side dish of creamed corn was spectacular. Good corn is in season right now, and easy to come by, so, Kudos to J&G for highlighting a great ingredient. Both of the entrees showcased great cooking, using high quality ingredients.

                                            Of the 2 deserts we had, the standout was the Apple Tart. It consisted of a baked apple ring, on top of a delicate pastry. The apple was a perfect consistency, with a strong caramel cinnamon flavor. This dish is another of their specialties, and I understand why. The molten lava cake was good, and rich, but nothing spectacular. We make this a lot at home, so the novelty of this desert has worn off for us. Both deserts came with ice cream, which was fine, if not spectacular.

                                            Overall, our meal was a wonderful experience. It is hard to beat the ambiance of the Phonecian, and the restaurant itself feels upscale. The experience from start to finish was top notch. All the food highlighted simple preparations of high quality ingredients.

                                            One last comment, looking at the regular menu, the prices aren’t exorbitant (for instance the Steak Frites entree is $18). While a meal could add up quickly, it would be possible to eat here on a budget (if you are careful with your selections). We absolutely loved J&G, and will likely be back for another meal.

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                                            J&G Steakhouse
                                            6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Booger

                                              Sounds like we had similar positive experiences. Kicking myself for not getting the apple tart. And I could go for another one of those shrimp salads right now!