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The Grind - First Visit

I had lunch at The Grind for the first time, today. I had a Peppercorn crust burger (roasted garlic, charred onions, watercress, matchstick fries) $10. And, an order of Roasted sweet potato fritters $5.

I sat at the bar and prepared to wait, based on what I had heard. This place just opened, last week. There were about ten TVs behind the bar, offering three flavors of ESPN. My food came out rather quickly.

The burger tasted great. I could definitely taste all of the ingredients, but, the beef flavor was not overpowered. The bun was excellent, too, just big enough to contain the burger, without adding extra bulk. However, I would say that it was cooked medium, when I requested medium-rare. This wasn't a big deal. I certainly wasn't going to send it back. I'll try rare, next time.

The fritters were good, at first, but, I got tired of them. They looked like two big chunks of sweet potato that had been roasted and moderately breaded. I got tired of the breading. They have some other sides that sound interesting.

The Grind reportedly uses grass-fed beef. It was certainly lean, and I would be afraid that it might be quite dry if cooked more well-done. My feeling is that beef that needs to be cooked well shouldn't be eaten at all, but, I guess that's a personal preference.

The Grind is located next to the Fenix Bar and Eatery on the SW corner of 40th St and Camelback Rd.
http://www.thegrindaz.com

They were mentioned in a couple of recent articles:
http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/d...

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  1. We also checked out the The Grind this past Friday since it was their Grand Opening. We had eaten a late lunch at Al's, so we just shared one burger and an order of the nicely seasoned herbed fries. We thought the Green Chili Surprise Burger was excellent - beefy, juicy (ours was perfectly medium rare) and the patty was stuffed with a slice of queso fresco and roasted poblano. At first I was disappointed at the fact that it wasn't spicy, but that was my fault for assuming it would be a New Mexico/Hatch green chili burger. I should add that I'm glad I talked E into ordering the Ghirardelli chocolate milkshake - SO GOOD - and we also really liked the plate of warm doughnuts glazed with salted butterscotch for dessert.

    We ate at the bar, with friendly service from Natalie, and I tried a couple of cocktails off their cocktail menu. They make their Vesper with vermouth instead of Lillet and The Blushing Lady was a bit too sweet for me, but enjoyed a nice rye Manhattan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rubee

      Adding link for map info:

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      The Grind
      3961 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

    2. Thanks for the reports. This place has been getting a lot of buzz on Twitter, but it's also good to read some more in-depth impressions here. In that same shopping center, the new Fresh and Easy grocery is going to open April 14. It's nice to see some new life injected into a neighborhood shopping center in a prime location.

      1. I ate there today too! Well, that is to say I got take-out.

        I had the "All-Nighter," which is ham, bacon, cheese and a fried egg on an English muffin. What's not to like? It was delicious, with just the right amount of greasy goodness.

        I also had the sweet potato fritters. Ok but not great. Very thick, and very soft inside (almost the consistency of mashed). The breading, happily, stayed crispy despite its trip in a take-out container (I opened it as soon as I got to the car to let out any steam, so that may've helped). I've only eaten one of the 3 so far; wonder if some kind of interesting dipping sauce would improve these.

        I look forward to trying their fries on a future visit. Will have to dine-in someday to sample cocktails, I think. An attractive space overall, tho' personally I could do without the TVs.

        1. I was there for lunch today. I had the Steakhouse Burger...it was significantly overcooked and somewhat dry. I usually like my burger rare, but ordered it medium rare because no place ever gets rare right except for Petite Maison and I figured med rare would easier to get right I think the grind (no pun intended) needs some more fat in it. Good flavor, however. I also had the homefries (I think...) with cheese on them. They were browned on the outside, but nearly raw inside and rock hard.

          I like the idea of this place....and I think they'll get it right. The coal oven imparts a nice charred flavor, but they need to get the temperatures right. It's not a complicated menu, so they ought to be able to master it.

          I also thought it was expensive for what it is. Two burgers, one order of homefries, and two iced teas was $34. I am happy to pay for quality but this seemed a bit steep for what we got.

          The best I can say is that there is unrealized potential there. It's still young. I hope they get it right....

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          Petite Maison
          7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          1. I had lunch there today. The space has been completely redone and looks sharp. It's only been open a few days and things are not running perfectly yet. I'm sure they will knock out the bugs. Overall, my experience is pretty close to ejs. That said, I liked Methode Bistro quite a bit, and the chef/owner here is the same.

            I ordered the sweet and spicy burger ($10) which is supposed to have candied jalapenos and fried ratatouille on top. Sounded interesting and the waitress said it was great, although when I asked her how they fried the ratatouille she looked at me like she had no idea what I was talking about. My friend ordered the blt steak burger ($10) with bacon, tomato, etc. We also ordered the herbed fries ($4) and the duck fat fries ($5). The waitress returned a little bit later and apologized that the duck fat fries hadn't been prepped yet. She brought out an extra order of the herbed fries on the house. She was very nice and responsive throughout.

            I ordered my burger medium rare. The burger itself is quite large and thick. Mine was closer to medium, but I thought the meat itself was excellent. Very well seasoned ( we could really taste the pepper). It was a little dryer than I expected, but the flavor was very good. The bun is also big, which makes handling the burger difficult. I was able to pick it up and eat it, but my friend resorted quickly to a fork and knife. This bothered him to know end (he did not like the bun).

            The toppings on both burgers were disappointing. Mine were almost non existent. I literally looked around to make sure they were they under the micro greens. I could barely taste them at all. That's not good when the toppings are obviously such a big part of the menu item. Also, I didn't notice the slivered red bell pepper or anything else looking fried or crisp at all.

            My friend had the same complaint. He couldn't taste or notice the house bacon until he lifted the bum and looked around. The bacon looked very fatty, limp and soggy. He thought his burger was dry. The condiments are ordinary ketchup, yellow mustard and mayo.

            The fries were somewhat medium thick with a little herb flavor, but not much. They were for the most part soggy, and almost seemed like they had been sitting around a while. We were the first table in the place for lunch today, so I find that hard to believe. Not memorable at all.

            Ice tea and soft drinks are $3. (you can also get a PBR draft for $3). Our bill was $32.75 for two burgers, one fries and two drinks (before tip). Pretty pricey for lunch. I thought the beef itself was very flavorful, but everything else brought the experience down quite a bit.

            I would not recommend this place over Delux. We're going to try ZinBurger soon, but with the burger competition in the area, they are going to have to do better to sustain a lunch business at these prices. My friend already said he won't be back.

            There is a long bar that consumes the wall for half the length of the narrow restaurant with flat screen tvs above the length of the bar. The space is very cool, and I could see having a drink here after work or late night if I lived nearby. Hopefully, they get the food right.

            Barry

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            Delux
            3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

            Methode Bistro
            6204 N Scottsdale Rd Ste 107, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

            3 Replies
              1. re: barry

                Went there for dinner tonight and agree w/ much of what you said above.

                My biggest complaint was that the burgers were too large to hold and eat comfortably. My friend also gave in and used a fork and knife. Both our burgers were not cooked as ordered - I ordered mine "medium rare" and my friend ordered his as "rare", but both came out looking more like "medium" and a bit dry. Taste-wise, I thought it was good. The bacon was soggy...

                We both agreed that the burgers were good, but not great.

                The duck fat fries resembled large steak fries with some melted cheese - nothing special. The sweet potato fritters were a big miss for me.

                I would definitely choose Delux over The Grind.

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                Delux
                3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                1. re: barry

                  This reminds me of my one main complaint -- the bacon. I enjoyed the first few bites of the sandwich enough that it took me a while to think "Hey...where's the bacon?!" Had to open the sandwich and look around and finally discovered two limp, grey, flabby pieces. Didn't necessarily detract from the sandwich, but certainly didn't add to it. It's hard to have bacon that's not AWESOME ("awesome" is practically part of the definition of bacon), but this wasn't. It's possible the trip between restaurant and home is partly to blame, but I've never had that problem with bacon from anywhere else so I doubt it.

                  I still plan on patronizing The Grind again in the future...but maybe I'll wait a while til they work out some kinks. Like figuring out how to make crispier bacon.

                2. Disappointing to read the negative reviews. We actually decided to visit because of the raves by a couple of Chowhounds (on Twitter, though, they didn't post here) who tried it during the soft opening. Too bad that The Grind could get such a key component, like cooking the burgers to order, wrong.

                  On the other hand, we'll be back, and thought I'd mention they have a new Happy Hour 3 - 6 and Reverse Happy Hour 11p - 2 a.m.

                  1. Most has been said already, so not to grind (ha!) this thread into the dirt, but I went for dinner late Wednesday and will pitch in a little info.

                    Good burger! No choir of angels descended upon my table, but it's a tasty bit of beef, and I found it significantly more enjoyable than the meatloaf on a bun down the street at Delux (are they trying to lock up the edentulous burger crowd over there? And am I the only one who wonders this?). I did the steakhouse. A little light on the sauce, easily remedied by request. I'm similarly puzzled by the limp bacon. Not that bacon need always be crisp, but it sure seems like a little texture would've been nice here. Requested medium rare, got medium, and my expectations for burgers to temperature are so low at this point that missing by only one grade felt as though they nailed it to the nearest tenth of a degree.

                    Not super enthused about the rosemary cheese. It's an entire freaking wheel of Brie served with strawberries, and it's... well, it's warm cheese. No objection, really, just nothing especially compelling about it.

                    The menu's been drastically slashed. Other than sides, two salads and the rosemary cheese, they're down to three burgers and a chicken sandwich. Sounds like they're trying to keep things simple until the crush dissipates. A good call, IMHO... better to simplify and get it right.

                    Not sure the place needs to be as dim and ultrahip as it is. Or maybe it does. I'm new here.

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                    Delux
                    3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dmnkly

                      Dim lighting will soon be appreciated during the lunch hour. Alas, their frosted white door is going to be the main lighting source come June.

                    2. I am 2 for 2 at The Grind. I ordered the sweet and spicy burger, rare. Of course, it wasn't really rare, but, it was good. Again, I would say that it was somewhere between medium-rare and medium.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: johnseberg

                        Had to check out the newest burger establishment on the block, and went there for dinner with my wife and mother-in-law. We must have had 100+ years on any other threesome in the place so keep this in mind when evaluating my review. There was a high energy level in the room, but the noise level from the piped music was overbearing. The list of classic cocktails was fun, and I had a Ramos Gin Fizz and a Manhattan, both of which were excellent. We ordered the Butcher's Steak and split a Steak house burger. The burger was ridiculously oversized, at least 6 inches from top to bottom, with condiments piled atop a relatively small piece of meat. I did find the beef to be tasty and cooked to my order, but you shouldn't have to cut a burger in half to be able to fit it into your mouth. The Butcher's steak was mediocre. I really liked the sides we ordered of roasted mushrooms and scalloped potatoes. I'm not an onion ring fan, but my mother-in-law felt the ones that came with the Butcher's steak were first rate. The warm doughnuts with butterscotch were a suitably decadent desert.
                        If you are under 30 and want an informal meal with a lot of buzz, you will like it here. If you want a better burger in a more laid back setting, I would suggest Wally's or Indulge Burgers ( haven't tried Zinburger yet ).
                        On the way out, I couldn't help notice that Fenix, which is right next door and is a decent restaurant serving French bistro food, was totally deserted while The Grind was packed. The restaurant business is tough and unforgiving.

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                        The Grind
                        3961 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018