Tucson: Catalina BBQ and Zivas
The Catalina Grill at StarrPass morphed from an expensive, funky steakhouse into a terrific new BBQ venue with decent prices, a wide varitey of smoked meats, and a more interesting list of beers and wines. The brisket and spare ribs I had were tender and moist, the three BBQ sauces (including a vinegar one - yeah!) were all very good. Even the cornbread and veggies were well-conceived and well-cooked. My teenage daughter's burger and sweet potatoes fries were even better than the ones at Zinburger, IMHO, even though Zinburger's still her favorite. The new chef is a serious competition BBQ guy, with his own smoker, etc. Should be a guy to watch.
My first trip to Zivas, and service was very friendly, prices were fair, and the food was mixed: some delicious things (chips, salsa, beans, guac); some so-so (fish tacos, grilled chicken); some not-so good (something hard and unidentifiable in my salad, plus some pale, wrinkled peas in my rice). Very cute place, and I'll go back to give them a second try.
Every time I go to Zivaz (I used to work in the 4400 building, so it used to be much more often) I felt like they were somehow trying to create a franchise version of Cafe Poca Cosa. It's not bad, don't get me wrong, but it often feels a bit... perhaps the word is safe?
I've never seen peas or anything hard and unidentifiable in my salad, though.