Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
Feb 2, 2012 05:35 PM

Chef Peter DeRuvo Leaves Cuoco Pazzo

Just read this on Chow Bella. Apparently, he had a difference of opinion on the business operations with the Owners. That is really too bad. I finally found a good Italian restaurant that wasn't quite as pricey as Marcellino's, but just as good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wow, what a bummer. I literally just arrived home from dining there tonight. I did think it was odd not seeing him there, but I didn't ask.

    The meal was outstanding. Meatballs over polenta & tomato sauce; the crispy ribs, black tagliolini with seafood & delicious almond souffle crepes. Service was so pleasant.

    1. wow that sucks

      i wonder what it is that chef's leave positions so often

      article said two job changes in last 12 months for Peter

      When starting a new biz it takes more than 4 months - seems strange to leave after such a short period of time

      regardless a bummer

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dapuma

        We ate there last night not knowing that DeRuvo had left. As we often do, we did apps, no entrees.

        The steamed mussels in broth were excellent, a very nice and clean Meyer lemon broth, no pork, just garlic, herbs, wine and nicely salted. They didn't serve any bread with this dish, which was a bit odd, you really need bread or a spoon to get all the delicious broth. They did bring us some of their own bread after we asked and it was very good. I'm not a big blue cheese fan, but the gorgonzola in the foccaccia was just right, giving it a very buttery taste, but not overpoweringly strong. A- for this dish.

        Dish 2 was their Funghi pizzette. I have to give this one a D-. Pizza dough was way undersalted, the 'wild mushrooms" turned out to be crimini and portabello, which are actually the same mushroom just different sizes. I was expecting lobster, chanterelle, or some other more exotic mushrooms. The whole pizza was bland and undersalted. There was absolutely no truffle flavor or aroma to be detected. I'm pretty sure they just forgot it. We did include a substitution of arugula instead of gorgonzola, which definitely changed the flavor profile of the pizza overall, but still bland mushrooms and crust and the missing truffle oil would've sunk this pizza even with a strong cheese included. We took most of it home anyway, and our server gave us some truffle oil to drizzle over it, but that didn't help in the restaurant.

        I'll go back, but I won't be ordering pizza unless I'm sure they figure things out there. There is a lot to like about this place (many things made in house, reasonable prices, comfortable, good service and people who seem to really care about and like good food) and I'm looking forward to trying some of their pastas and entrees.

      2. I would welcome some thoughts on when a chef leaves. We live about 2 1/2 hours from Scottsdale and only come to the city several times a year. We had plans to come this Thursday and have dinner here. Would it be better to let the dust settle. How big of an effect does the chef leaving have on a new place like this? Thanks for your opinions on this subject.

        1. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Chef DeRuvo and, after frequent visits to Cuoco Pazzo in the last 4 months, I've become fans of the Ranas too so was very disappointed to hear the news. I actually had plans Thursday night to take a friend for dinner for the first time. Even though we heard the news earlier in the day, we kept our plans and we're glad we did.

          Many dishes remain on the current menu. My husband and friend ordered past favorites - the crispy duck with saba and amarena cherry glaze and the bistecca alla fiorentino with chianti butter - and weren't disappointed. I had the salmon special with fregula and it was excellent. I was also happy to see the antipasti misti still on the menu. Of course, we had to order that to share, along with the meatballs and polenta scaheld mentions (forgot pic), and moz with white anchovies. Too full for dessert, though we made room for Mario's cherry 'cello and an amaro for me. Some of the new items they plan to add to the menu include wild boar ragu with fresh tagliatelle, salmon ravioli, and porchetta. Obviously, the expansive beer and wine list remain. Mario told us he was adding 8 more Italian wines by the glass on Friday. Friendly service as always.

          I wish both well. I can't wait to see where Chef Peter DeRuvo ends up and I'll be the first to make a reservation, and Cuoco Pazzo is still my favorite Italian restaurant.

          Pics from most recent visit including my pre-dinner Il Coyote cocktail:

          Cuoco Pazzo
          4175 N Goldwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          4 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            We went for the first time since Chef left- the food was just as good as before. Nothing to fear here, guys- keep going!

            1. re: cactuschowdah

              Good news. We are dining here Thursday night for the first time. Thanks for those pictures Rubee everything looks fantastic. Hubby is a big steak fan so thats looking like a must have and I love duck

              1. re: starre

                Be sure to report back! You sound like us - I love duck, my husband's a steak guy ; )

                They also started a Sunday Family Feast that's all-inclusive "with focaccia, salad, pasta, gravy with meat (braciole, italian sausage, meatballs), dessert sampler with cannoli, gelato and panna cotta". Sounds so good. I need to get back there.

                1. re: Rubee

                  OK reporting back. We tried the duck and it was delish. Instead of the steak we had pork shank with heirloom beans. i didn't ask what kind of beans guess i was thinking a nice creamy cannellini turned out to be cici which was good but didn't have that creamy profile I was looking for. My bad for not asking. Probably would have enjoyed the steak more. We also had the crispy ribs for an app. That was good too. We enjoyed the bread with dipping oil and fresh herbs. All in all a nice dinner. We did not enjoy dessert. maybe we ordered the wrong thing. Brownie with pistachio gelato. The brownie was soso and the gelato was well really yech. It had a grainy texture and no real pistachio flavor. So while I would go back for the duck which to me was the star of the meal I would pass on the sweets BTW the service was outstanding sorry its been a few weeks and I don't remember his name but he had a shaved head and great bod. LOL my dh told me to ad the bod comment

          2. The original comment has been removed