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Tucson: Catalina BBQ and Zivas

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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.

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ibsulon

      I agree with you, ibsulon, and if they could pull off a cheaper, lighter version of CPC, it'd be great, but right now their quality is not even close.

      BTW: I meant that the hard unidentifiable object and the wrinkled peas were in my rice - sorry if I misled you.

    2. I don't know if I'm a PITA about BBQ, or if I haven't had any good bbq in Tucson- I'm glad to see your review, we'll have to check it out.

      And Ziva's is close to the house, i'm going to have to try it out, even with the mixed reviews.