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AZ Restaurant Week 2010

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It's not too early to start planning, is it? I enjoy hearing others thoughts on where they are going to dine and why, so please share.

www.arizonarestaurantweek.com

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  1. I have eyeballed those on my short list and come up with a list of my current contenders:

    Calistro (menu already up)
    District (not posted)
    Fuego Bistro (menu up)
    Iruna (not posted)
    Noca (not posted)
    Roka Akor (menu up)
    Talavera (menu up)

    I find it telling that most of the farm-to-table places do not yet know what they're serving, which makes sense -- who know what will be fresh that week and what they can source. With the exception of Calistro. Hm!

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

    Noca
    3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    Roka Akor Restaurant
    7299 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

    2 Replies
    1. re: themis

      District's menu is up, as is Noca's. I'm waiting to see Iruna - it's on our list too that we're interested in.

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      District: American Kitchen and Wine Bar
      320 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

      1. re: Rubee

        I find it a little funny that Noca is listed only as an Italian restaurant. It's so much more than that! If Italian is shorthand for seasonal, then, sure :)

        Iruna's menu is now up. I have missed Aaron's small plates. I had Sol Y Sombra's Restaurant Week menu with friends, two years ago, and that was definitely the way to do that kind of offering. There was so much to choose from for each course, that we ordered nearly one of everything and shared bites so we didn't miss any deliciousness.

        -----
        Noca
        3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    2. We were talking to friends this week who were able to preview the RW menu from Orange Sky on the 15th floor at Talking Stick Resort. Her husband especially raved about the filet (E's favorite), so that's where we're headed. I always like to use RW as an excuse to check out a place we haven't been before, and the menu has some nice options. For me, I'm thinking oysters, yellowtail tuna, and the lemon semolina cake. I'm tempted by the menus at Talavera, Latilla, and La Hacienda too.

      -----
      Talavera
      10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

      Latilla
      34631 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree, AZ 85377

      Orange Sky
      9800 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

      1. No it's not too early - As Themis was saying - I like to have my options open. Don't know if we'll make it but there are some places I haven't tried that I would love to. I'm excited by how many restaurants are participating!

        1. I just found out Atlas Bistro is NOT participating even though they are currently listed on the web site as being a participant. :( Wish we'd gone last year. However, they are offering 20% off, per the guy who answered the phone.

          Anyway, we're going to hit Deseo-- normally a pricey menu and supposed to be good. Their menu offering looks interesting and it's not too far from home.

          Also thinking about Zinburger as they have 2 for $29. Not sure we would eat at Zinburger normally, with their prices such that they are, but for $29 for both of us, would be hard to go wrong. I just hope we can get in since they don't take advance reservations.

          Anyone have a suggestion for an alternative "less expensive" restaurant week option? I didn't notice any that caught my eye on the list.

          -----
          Atlas Bistro
          2515 N Scottsdale Rd # 18, Scottsdale, AZ

          3 Replies
          1. re: PopcornSally

            dont go to zinburger...yuk...so many better burger places to go to, especially with delux right by there and crush is supposed to have a good burger but i havent had a chance to make it over there and both are within 5 minutes of zinburger

            if you want a fox concept choice in the same plaza i would recommend true food which is on the list and in the same plaza, much better food - the brown rice terriaykki and the tuna spagetti thing are both very good at true food - my friends say the curry item is good as well, however i dont like curry

            I would agree that Deseo looks interesting - never heard anyone speak about it on the forums though - but i havent reasearched it either

            1. re: Dapuma

              I don't think Crush or Delux is doing Restaurant Week, and True Food is $29 pp (Zinburger is 2 for $29).

              I had a wonderful meal at Deseo, but it was years ago before I moved here, when they first opened. They had a great option where you chose three entrees and they would give you a sampler portion of each, but I don't think they do that anymore. Deseo does come up on the board - for past comments, click on "See All Discussions" at bottom of Deseo link below. I really need to get back there one of these days. I just read that they introduced a new menu September 1, and that they have a Happy Hour or "Unwind Hour" from 5:30-7:30 in the Deseo Lounge.

              Popcorn Sally: Here's a post from last year's Restaurant Week where the OP said they enjoyed Deseo and thought it was a good value.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/657801

              I didn't see any more 2/$29, but I like that Durant's includes a glass of pinot noir with theirs, Trader Vic's a mini-Mai Tai, and Tapas Papa Frita a glass of red, white, or sangria (and choice of any of the tapas, any entree, and any dessert).

              -----
              Deseo
              6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

              1. re: Rubee

                Thanks for the tips! We decided to skip Zinburger due to the fact they don't take reservations (but glad for the info about it being subpar). We've been to Delux and True Food Kitchen and enjoyed both! I do usually try to steer around the FRC joints, but that 2 for $29 caught my eye!

                We opted for Tapas Papa Frita as our second meal indulgence. Hope it's good! Really looking forward to Deseo.

                -----
                Delux
                3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                True Food Kitchen
                2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ

                Deseo
                6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

          2. Anyone know if Posh is doing 3 courses or 4 courses for the $39?

            3 Replies
            1. re: crsin

              Considering Posh's 4 course is $45, I'd think it would be at least 4 courses.

              1. re: azhotdish

                I confirmed this with Josh yesterday, btw. They are doing discounts on more courses if you wish to extend the meal beyond four. Also, if you want the deal on Friday before RW begins, he's offering the same deal, just ask for it.

                1. re: azhotdish

                  Thanks for the heads-up!

            2. How is Donovan's steakhouse?

              I have never been there before, was curious about trying it out.

              How does it stack up against Morton's / Ruth Chris etc - basically the other steakhouses on the list J & G doesn't seem to have that good of a menu up for the week, so don't think i want to try there

              Also does it seem strange to anyone that BLT steak's menu isnt showing a steak?

              10 Replies
              1. re: Dapuma

                I've heard good things about Donovan (especially the old-school ambiance) and it's actually at the top of my list of next steakhouse to try, but sorry I can't give any first-hand experience.

                On BLT's menu - "Top Cap" is actually a steak, a top sirloin cap steak/culotte. I've had this cut before - nice beefy flavor. I noticed it's on J&G's RW menu too.

                BTW, FoodiesLikeUs has reviews of menus they were able to preview for Restaurant Week (Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, House of Tricks, Orange Sky, North, Top of the Rock, Fogo de Chao):
                http://www.foodieslikeusblog.com/

                1. re: Rubee

                  (Just correcting my error - I jut realized I mistakenly referred to Donovan's when the steakhouse I was thinking of is actually The Stockyards)

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                  The Stockyards Restaurant & 1889 Saloon
                  5009 E Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85034

                2. re: Dapuma

                  Don't go to Donovan's, it is like mediocre banquet or business hotel food. Service is ok, a little stuffy and almost too old school. There are a million better steakhouses in the Phx metro area. I like both Morton's and Ruth's Chris way better. I wouldn't go back to Donovan's.

                  1. re: danieli10

                    Anyone want to compare Bourbon Steak and JG Steak and Morton's against each other for restraunt week

                    i have only been to Mortons of those 3 so i dont really have a comparison

                    ruth chris is ok to me, i like maestros/ocean club, captial grill is also good, i dont like flemings or don and charlies

                    1. re: Dapuma

                      We did Bourbon Steak and BLT last year and they were both great. I've been to Morton's and Ruth Chris many times before and will say Bourbon and BLT are better in so many ways. I've not been to Donovan's and am planning on going there Sunday night. Disappointed to see the negative review above.

                      I was having a conversation the other day with a friend. Has anyone looked up each menu item being offered for RW and compared the pricing with the actual restaurant to see which is the best "deal"? Just wondered if anyone had done that.

                      We're going to Talavera on Saturday and BLT on Tuesday. Looking forward to any other suggestions the CH can provide.

                      -----
                      Talavera
                      10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

                      1. re: drewallen42

                        Re: your question on the beat deal- Point in Thyme is allowing selections of any one app/entree/dessert from their standard menu, so it appears to be a smoking deal, as some of the main courses are $29 alone.

                        Like your friend, I'm on the hunt for value, but I'm also limited by my husband's dietary boundaries.

                        1. re: drewallen42

                          Went to Talavera. Beautiful Resort and would recommend going for Happy Hour but was disappointed with the food. Bisque was barely warm, Steak had little flavor and the lava cake tasted just like the one I had from Dominoes Pizza and a child's birthday party.

                          J&G was equally disappointing with the exception of the salad. It was a shrimp and avocado salad with a champagne vinaigrette. If it would have had a little less dressing it would have been perfect. Very flavorful and the shrimp were perfectly prepared. The steak was a joke and it came with french fries. I don't think J&G took this seriously. The whole point is to give people an opportunity to try a new place and maybe earn their business. BLT succeeded in this last year. J&G wasn't even close.

                          We went to Fogo but had been there before. If you like Meat this is a decent place.

                          We went to Donovans last night and I have to say although I'm not a fan of Fillet Mignon is was good. The Bisque was perfect temperature and good as well. I wasn't a fan of the deserts but my wife liked it. We decided to bring our two young boys and the wait staff was great with them. I will go back and try a ribeye.

                          Also we did localdines.com which was an $80.00 gift card for $40.00. They allowed us to use it for RW. Took a $39pp meal down to $20pp. Couldn't beat that.

                          Although the website says you can't do it, you can. We even called ahead just to make sure. I think tonight is the last night so if there are any gift certs left happy eating.

                          -----
                          Talavera
                          10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

                        2. re: Dapuma

                          I love Maestro's and like Don and Chalies, but not for a steakhouse, more for ribs and other stuff on their menu.

                          1. re: Dapuma

                            We went to both JG Steak and Bourbon Steak this year for restaurant week. My opinion is that Bourbon Steak is in a league of its own. The quality of the ingredients, skillfull preparation, excellent service and ambiance all add up to great experience and value. Service miss fires at JG Steak, and quality of ingredients is not in same league as Bourbon Steak.

                          2. re: danieli10

                            +1, I wouldn't go back to Donovan's either. Nothing memorable.

                        3. Besides Posh, a couple of other spots starting AZ Restaurant Week early:

                          The Mission started tonight, and Sassi starts tomorrow, Friday, 9/17 (they also have a $29 wine list).

                          -----
                          Sassi
                          10455 E Pinnacle Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

                          The Mission
                          3815 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                          1. Places we're considering:

                            Fuego Bistro
                            Cowboy Ciao
                            Iruna
                            The Mission
                            Pointe in Thyme
                            Durant's
                            Modern Steak
                            Zinburger (this would be to replace a regular meal, not special like the rest)

                            Trying to stay with the $29 options. And also have to have something that is "accessible" to my husband, who actually tried to convince me this week that trying a Chicago dog was adventurous. A good man, but raised in the "Tues is Hamburger Helper, Wed is spaghetti" tradition, and old habits die hard.

                            Thoughts on our choices? Last year we had J&G Steakhouse, which was delicious and memorable for the view as well. And Ruth's Chris, because we'd never had it and its the pinnacle of fine dining where we come from. Well, now we can say we had it, and we weren't that impressed.

                            -----
                            Cowboy Ciao
                            7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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

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

                            Modern Steak
                            7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                              I would go cowboy ciao, especially if u have never been there...make sure u get the stetson salad

                              1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                                Went to Modern Steak Saturday night (hubby's choice from the options above). The "scene" was in full force, which I find alternately amusing/disgusting/depressing. Sat in the raised seats right on the mall walkway, and they really should have put more thought into the comfort of those seats. No back support, and you can't push all the way in because of a bar on the table. The waitress actually warned us to watch our legs.

                                Services was good, and so was the food. Interesting baked potato bread, very filling. I had the appetizer pizza, heavy on prosciutto, light on asparagus. DH had the shrimp, which were the most mediocre dish of the night, I've had better popcorn shrimp elsewhere. For the main course, I had the maple glazed salmon served with sugar snap peas and sweet potato medallions. Nice size, cooked well. He had the filet, which was tender and he liked immensely. My favorite was dessert, I had the peanut butter cup which was a creamy pb and chocolate dessert served in a canning jar, with peanut butter cookie strips for dipping. He had the flourless chocolate cake, which came with cocoa krispie treats and ice cream, and he loved that as well.

                                Overall, a better meal than I expected, though nothing especially exciting. And certainly not an atmosphere I'd seek out.

                                -----
                                Modern Steak
                                7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                                  Hey CScarlett - What was so "amusing/disgusting/depressing" about the atmosphere/scene? Was it simply not a good atmosphere for fine dining or for having a nice date night? Can you be more specific? Thx.

                              2. We went to Vincent's last night (our top choices, Coup de Tartes & House of Tricks were both closed on Sunday). It was packed. I ordered the cauliflower soup, lobster omelet, and warm chocolate tart. Husband ordered the Brie and Figs en Croute, Macadamia Crusted Sea Scallops, and warm chocolate tart. Both appetizers were good, though I missed any hint of chipotle in the cauliflower soup. The table next to us ordered the Wood Fired Pizza with Avocados and Sun-Dried Tomatoes appetizer which was big enough to be an entree. Unfortunately, we were both extremely disappointed with our entrees. The scallops had more crust than scallop and the crust was very soggy. The lobster omlete was bland, with more tomato flavor than anything else (and the tomatoes made it rather watery). The warm chocolate tart dessert was delicious, though needed something like vanilla ice cream or a a sauce to help cut the rich chocolate taste. For $29/person the dinner was fine, though certainly not up to typical Vincent's standards.

                                -----
                                House of Tricks
                                114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: azravengal

                                  Did Vincent's last night with my SO.

                                  Apps -
                                  Sun Dried Tomato & Avocado Pizza - very good, large portion.
                                  Brie & Figs en Croute - the brie was en croute and a fig sauce accompaniment to dip it in; very tasty.

                                  Entrees -
                                  Scallops - similar to comment above; macadamia nut coating a bit soggy and yet also dry since there was no sauce.
                                  Lobster with Basil Pasta - apparently they've replaced the Lobster Omelette with this; was very good. Lobster in two halves with some tail meat and delicious basil pasta & sauce.

                                  Desserts -
                                  Bread Pudding with Jack Daniel's Sauce - as good as it sounds, yummy.
                                  Grand Marnier Souffle - also delicious and perfectly cooked.

                                  Ashamed to say this is my first visit to Vincent's considering I've lived here 20 years. However, I get the feeling that it is a place that is just subsisting. The staff seems a little disinterested in their service and place just feels tired. I get the impression that they do have very loyal clientele & that's who keeps this place in business. I know too that I should not judge harshly during Restaurant Week when they were obviously much busier than normal.

                                  We left thinking "okay we've been there now, no need to go back".

                                  1. re: scaheld

                                    Wow...had reservations there, switched them to J and G steakhouse

                                    J & G has a great vibe and view, atmosphere was terrific...although service was a little spotty

                                    Good steak, with a very interesting steak sauce accompanying it

                                    for apps we had the shrimp salad and butternut squash soup, the soup was good but it really should have been called brocoli cheese soup with a few pieces of mushrooms and butternut squash in the soup - really needed more mushrooms and squash, however it was very tasty - the salad from the rest of our party for the shrimp was very interesting and there was alot of shrimp on it, however the consecous was the soup was the way to go

                                    one of our party had the samon which she said was excellent

                                    desserts we had the apple crips (not a tartin) and the chocolate cake

                                    The cinnamon ice cream with the crisp was too cinamonny and could not be eaten alone...the crisp was very heavy but with the ice cream etc was good if not outstanding

                                    the lava cake was the typical chocolate lava cake, very good but i wouldnt call it outstanding - however that could be because we were all so full

                                    overall i would recommend the menu and we all said we would certainly like to come back again

                                2. Tried Tapas Papa Frita last night. One Tapa, One Entree, One Dessert, one glass vino for $29. Plenty of flexibility on the PF menu. Tapas were great, but the paella and desserts were not as good. In fact don't order paella here, it just doesn't cook well. pan is too deep and oven not hot enough, maybe.

                                  1. I noticed most people, myself, included, use RW to revisit familiar places that maybe they hadn;t been to in a while or established places they had not tried. We did 2 old favorites and 1 new place.
                                    What do you guys think? Better for experimenting or renewing placess you don't get to as much you like? Obviously both work, but I'm curious.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: kmarg

                                      I use it to try a place I haven't been to before. I don't usually visit favorites for RW because if it's a spot I like, I don't want to be limited on the menu. This year we had a fantastic time at the new Orange Sky in the Talking Stick resort. I'll have to write it up later today. Great value, excellent food and service, and the restaurant is stunning.

                                      -----
                                      Orange Sky
                                      9800 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

                                    2. Our one dinner out for RW was Orange Sky and it was a winner. The restaurant itself is gorgeous. It takes up almost the entire 15th floor of the Talking Stick Resort, with walls of floor to ceiling windows on all sides so the panaromic views are beautiful. We got there early to relax in the lounge and enjoy the sunset while we sipped on cocktails, made even nicer with a pianist and singer duo. http://twitpic.com/2s129m

                                      Dinner was excellent. For me: A half a dozen fresh oysters, herb-crusted yellowfin tuna with a frisee salad, broccoli rabe, and risotto cake, and lemon semolina cake with fresh berries and mint. E ordered lobster bisque with grilled corn-chile relish and lemon crème fraiche, twin tournedos/filet with roasted garlic bordelaise sauce, asparagus and cheesy Yukon whipped potatoes, and a chocolate dome cake. On our server's suggestion, we also ordered the potato and artichoke gratin. So glad we did - while my risotto cake was good, the gratin was even better. Service was stellar too - from Angela in the lounge, to our servers Lilli (who happened to be from Boston) and a young man whose name escapes me, and the sommelier Luciano who chose b-t-g wine pairings for us and even treated me to some complimentary grappa at the end of my meal. Great value too for the $39 pp - Such fresh seafood and E's steaks (prime, aged 28 days) were tender enough to cut with a fork and is $33 on the regular menu. It was a nice way to be introduced to a new restaurant, we'll definitely be back.

                                      Cellphone pics:

                                      -----
                                      Orange Sky
                                      9800 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        Oops - third pic was supposed to be the gratin: