Lunch in north central Phoenix
I'm trying to think of somewhere to meet friends for lunch that would be centrally located -- one lives north of Desert Ridge, one lives way east in Scottsdale toward Fountain Hills, and I live in north Glendale. Not an easy task, as it turns out. Personally I would be happy to drive to the downtown Phoenix area where there are so many intriguing options, but that's pretty far for the others. So I'm trying to come up with something in north central Phoenix, and so far I'm stumped, other than Carolina's or one of the chains at Desert Ridge. Any suggestions?
First, some clarification about geography. The area you describe around Desert Ridge is not North Central Phoenix. NCP is a specific neighborhood with boundaries going back decades. Its northern boundary is the Arizona Canal and/or Northern Avenue. In other words, it's the northern part of central Phoenix rather than the central part of North Phoenix.
I think North Phoenix is what you're really thinking of -- the area above the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. If that's the case, you might want to try the Humble Pie restaurant across the street from Desert Ridge -- a second location for the popular Scottsdale pizzeria. Another option might be Yusef's for Middle Eastern food. It's on Cave Creek just south of Greenway.
15236 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85032
21050 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
If you like burgers 25 degrees is in City North which is kind of adjacent to desert ridge.
There's Roy's inside the Marriott that's attached to desert ridge. (I'm not sure this is the best Roy's location.
Personally I find Humble Pie more enjoyable the options I gave you, just giving you extra options :)
Carolina's has a restaurant on Cave Creek that would be pretty centrally located for you. Personally, I think the food is just a scosh better than at the original and the restaurant is far more comfortable although it certainly doesn't have the ghetto neighborhood or "interior design" of the original. Another relatively central choice would be the new Miracle Mile Deli at Frank Lloyd Wright and Scottsdale road.
I have a similar problem finding good lunch places for me (Desert Ridge-ish) and my friends (I-17 and the 101). Here are our favorites: White Chocolate Grill, Cantina Laredo, Zinc Bistro. Unlike others, my experiences with Humble Pie have unfortunately been horrid for lunch.
White Chocolate Grill
7000 E Mayo Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85054
(Regarding Viet Kitchen) I have been there twice (in a week). I found it very good. Fresh ingredients, and helpful staff. I found the portions a bit small, and the prices a bit high. The environment is actually very nice.
I am a Vietnamese food lover, so very excited about this place. They are just getting started, so I wanted to give them a little bit to get into a groove before I posted a more thorough review.
I did enjoy each of the dishes I have tried so far for what it is worth.
Dmnkly's post on Vietnamese spots in Chandler reminded me that we had a very nice dinner at Viet Kitchen when my parents were visiting last month. I had sent mom some info about local Vietnamese restaurants and she picked Viet Kitchen because she thought this video looked great (as did I!): http://www.watchandwinit.com/dish/62/...
We started by sharing one of my favorite appetizers which I make at home, but always order when I see it on a menu, bánh bèo tôm chấy. These are a specialty from Hue in Northern Vietnam - small steamed rice flour cakes with a sweet-salty minced shrimp topping. Drizzled with a little nuoc cham, we polished these off. One of our favorites of the night was another app none of us had had before called bánh uot thịt nuong. It was two rolls made with rice flour, stuffed with marinated grilled beef, and then cut into 5-6 bite-sized pieces. Would definitedly order this again. For dinner, I had one of my favorites - bánh xèo - a crepe made with rice flour and turmeric, stuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. Here it was nicely crispy with a good amount of filling and plenty of lettuce and fresh herbs to wrap with. Mom had a big bowl of mì quảng, a rice noodle soup garnished with plenty of vegetables, shrimp chips, and peanuts with a plate of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and chilis. She said it was delicious, including the half she took home for lunch the next day. E and my dad both ordered banh mi - my dad the traditional with Vietnamese pate, and E the grilled pork. So good (better than what I had at Pho Avina) that we bought their last two to take home. Nicely stuffed, and a crackly roll which they make in-house.
My Vietnamese mom really liked Viet Kitchen, and in fact wanted to go back, although we ran out of time. She thought the flavors were authentic, and even asked about a couple of dipping sauces made with fermented fish. We were told that they used to have it, but some customer complained that it smelled too strong, so they stopped making it. Grrrr.
I just checked the website, however, and it's no longer working. I hope they're still open. The people who worked there were so very sweet and earnest, and it's BYOB (enjoyed a bottle of Oriel Mosel riesling with our dinner).
(picture of homemade bánh bèo).
20235 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024