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Jun 28, 2012 06:39 AM

Bourbon Steak..

Staying at the Fairmont Princess for a long weekend and this Michael Mina restaurants looks perfect for a happy hour to start and then dinner later in the trip.
I so miss the Marquesa..wish they would bring it back.
Anyone been?

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    Happy Hour is not that great, the only have one cocktail per night at Happy Hour price and maybe wine and beer. Food is OK, not that impressive.

    My mother-in-law works for the Fairmont and I hate to say it, but in the last few years after they got bought out by some conglomerate in Chicago EVERYTHING has gone downhill there and they treat their employees badly (forcing out longstanding employees and hiring temps instead to whom they don't have to pay benefits). It all trickles down in bad morale and poor attitudes. We had happy hour at La Hacienda just last month and it was not good. Not to bum you out, Beach Chick, but I'd encourage you to go eat elsewhere. There are lots of good places, as you know. Who knows, maybe you could still have some good meals there even with all the issues going on behind the scenes.

    12 Replies
    1. re: mwest9

      As always thanks mwest!
      Haven't stayed at the resort in several years and sad to hear about the behind the scenes work issues...should of booked the Royal Palms!
      Will probably stay with the happy hour menu and head off property to some of my usual faves...Lon's, Durant's and Carlos O'Briens (cheesy good)..
      Anything new around the resort?

      1. re: Beach Chick

        Yep, I've been liking the Happy Hour at and its really just a few blocks from the Fairmont in the Scottsdale Quarter shopping center (which is directly across the road from Kierland Commons on Scottsdale Road). From what I know of your tastes, you will love this place, the pork tacos are really really tasty. All salsas and tortillas made fresh in house daily. They are doing a good job.

        Hopefully the duck fat fries at Bourbon Steak are still excellent. I could make a meal of those, along with a nice salad.

        1. re: mwest9

          I don't eat meat but Sol sounds great.
          OHSO or Praying Monk are on the radar.

          1. re: Beach Chick

            I didn't know you didn't eat meat. If you eat seafood, Sol Cocina has a tasty shrimp dish on the happy hour menu, but its effort and messy to eat, they cook and serve the shrimp whole. Their house-made chips are really good dressed with spices and pumpkin seeds

            And its not new, but I think Deseo at the Kierland Westin is still very good especially their mojitos and muddled drinks and ceviches. No longer happy hour prices on the food, just the drinks now.

            1. re: mwest9

              35+ years..still crave a double double with extra cheese, onions and spread that I will indulge in once a year...split a cheeseburger at Cowboy Club in Sedona last year and man, that was one of the best burgers I've ever had!

              Thanks on the Deseo tip.

              1. re: Beach Chick

                I love Fresh Mint, in case you want to really go veg. Strange rec for a thread with this title, I know.


            2. re: Beach Chick

              went to OHSO for the first time a week ago

              had the carne asada tacos (very good) and the farmers board, which was similar to the pub board at postinos but with their own twist, also excellent

              Pitchers of AZ beer are $6 during happy hour there are about 30 of them, i would recommend that place - looking forward to returning there and trying some more items, and they were touting their apple pie, but we had to go meet some friends at Praying Monk so off we went...Praying Monk has a great selection of draft Belgium Ales, but I would avoid the food there, just sit and the bar and have drinks

              There is a local coupon there too so you can get a discount @ praying monk

              The Rainbow Ceviche at Deseo is really good and they make a proper mojito with a good white rum, I believe it is 10cane

              1. re: Dapuma

                Thanks was your report that put OHSO on the list.
                I love Belgium Ales so we'll stick to beers at Praying Monk.

        2. re: mwest9

          I can confirm the above, the service and food is just not as good as it used to be.

          1. re: danieli10

            Thanks danieli..always so great to see your posts!
            ;- )

            1. re: Beach Chick

              I smile whenever I see Beach Chick and I've said before we tend to pop up on similar boards and threads. Going to be in Leucadia in two weeks. Really looking forward to it, we are sliding down a little more south from Carlsbad this year. Definitely better restos in the Encinitas-Leucadia, Sol Beach areas.

              1. re: danieli10

                Glad I put a smile on your face.. : )

                I have tons of suggestions for on the SD board.
                2 weeks in Leucadia..sweet!

        3. Happy hour will be all she wrote after road tripping in..
          Thanks to all..

          1. Dined last Friday for happy hour at Bourbon Steak..
            What great venue and nice to have a 'celebrity' chef with a happy hour.
            We had the pork sliders, crab and lobster roll, house salad with crumbled bleu and homemade bleu cheese dressing, burger with the fab duck fries was was executed beautifully, service was great and for dessert, we had the dark chocolate peanut butter ganache that was sublime.
            They only had one beer at $3 or wine for $5 and a specialty cocktail for $5 but was fine on the drink specials.
            Wine list was eclectic and fab.
            I asked about the fried chicken for two at $58 (for you uhockey)..said its cooked in duck fat and is out of this world good.
            Fairmont Princess Scottsdale has been revamped since the last time we were there a couple of years ago.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              glad to hear the duck fat fries are still good. I don't think the lobster/crab roll was on the menu last time we went. maybe we will give Bourbon Steak another try. Thanks for the report, Beach Chick! Did you make it to Sol Cucina?

              1. re: mwest9

                Duck fries were outstanding and the trio of homemade sauces too.
                Did not make it to Sol Cucina..

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  +1 for Bourbon Steak...2 visits and always good

              2. re: Beach Chick

                I'm thinking I need to visit soon. :-) Thanks for reporting back!


                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Great to hear that things went well.

                  Guess that we need to try that location, as soon as we are in town for a week, or more.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I went last weekend. Still gathering my thoughts into blog form, but the chicken was excellent as was the duck. Served a veiny piece of foie that really distracted from the quality of the meal, but it was otherwise a solid showing - yet still my weakest Mina experience.


                    1. re: uhockey

                      Glad to hear that the PHX iteration might have been better than the SF version.

                      First, and freely admitted, we are neither "steakhouse people," though I am a carnivore, and wife is an omnivore, with no beef issues, in moderation.

                      Still, because we have been Chef Mina fans, for many years, we were hoping for something spectacular. Also, we had just spent a week with him at a culinary event, and his dishes were great, plus he was an excellent host. Still, we were both disappointed at our meal, and had had many great ones, at that venue, when it WAS Michael Mina's, before Bourbon Steak.

                      Still, I like the Capital Grill in PHX, over the DC version. There ARE differences, even with "mini-chains."

                      Glad that PHX got the better version!

                      Thank you,


                  2. re: Beach Chick

                    Count me in as a fan of Bourbon too. We first went for RW (report in that thread), and checked it out last Thursday for Happy Hour too. E and I were joined by a couple of friends, and had a great time. The HH cocktail was a Bourbon Peach with Maker's Mark, Fever Tree ginger ale, and peach bitters.

                    We tried a little bit of everything: One of my favorites were the pork belly bánh mì sliders with jalapeno, spicy mayo, pickled carrots, and cilantro. So good. Chef says they're going to switch it up and try it with steamed buns. Yum. We also had the fry trio of course, Kumamoto oysters, fish and frites with crispy Rogue Dead Guy ale beer batter, open-faced lobster and crab rolls with celery and apple remoulade (one of E's favorites), and shrimp and white cheddar grits with spicy Creole sauce. E also ordered the burger. Wow was that good, certainly lived up to the accolades. I kinda want one now.

                    Not part of HH, but I'm a bit obsessed with the foie gras dish on the new fall menu and so had to have it again - torchon with creamy butternut squash, brown butter foam, aleppo pepper spiced pepitas and the best pumpkin bread ever.

                    Great service again at the bar with Joe and Chad. Bourbon Steak is fast becoming one of my favorite spots. I love what Chef Patino is doing, and already planning a return visit for the Cocktail Class on Thursday (featuring Aperol):

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Great report and pics Rubee!
                      Happy hour is a fantastic deal and when the Fairmont has $99 a night deals, even better way to enjoy the specialty cocktails and the incredible wine list.

                      1. re: Rubee

                        ....too much flash. :-) And judging from your comments, I do believe they should stick to cold prepped foie and skip the sear.

                        You need to get dessert next time.


                        1. re: uhockey

                          For dessert, we were treated to warm beignets with Valrhona dark chocolate pot de crème, Macallan 18 year butterscotch pudding, and Tongan vanilla crème brulée, Decadent treat, with the Macallan butterscotch my favorite.

                        2. re: Rubee


                          We ARE fans of Chef Mina's, and have followed his career from the old Aqua days. Just spent a week with him at Blackberry Farm.

                          We were just disappointed at Bourbon Steak in the St. Francis, in San Francisco. Maybe we still missed the days, when that location WAS Michael Mina's. We were also disappointed in his Sea Blue in LV, and even his reopened Michael Mina's in the old Aqua location.

                          Because of you (and a few others), guess that we DO need to try the Scottsdale location.

                          We have dined at many iterations of Roy's, and some have been excellent, where others, not so much. Maybe the local location is better than SF.

                          Thank you,


                      2. Have not done the Fairmont Princess Bourbon Steak location, but just did his Bourbon Steak in San Francisco (at the St. Francis Hotel, where is eponymous restaurant, Michael Mina, was once located), and we were both disappointed. It was OK, and we are fans of Chef Mina, having just spent a week with him at Blackberry Farm, and having followed his career for many years.

                        Friends, who ARE big steakhouse fans, were also disappointed too. Still, I have never eaten at THAT location, so can only add a bit of experience from other locations, which might not translate at all.



                          The Gist:

                          The Why: My friend Michael had suggested we check out something for Arizona’s restaurant week and while I generally do not fancy the “RW” concept due to limited menus, rushed service, and the sort of diners who only visit high end dining locales during such “events” I figured that if anyplace could do it right it would be a top end steakhouse from one of America’s greatest restaurateurs – Michael Mina. A fan of Mina’s upscaled takes on American classics and having visited his restaurants in Michigan, California, and Baltimore I was additionally impressed by the Restaurant Week menu at Bourbon Steak and the location less than two miles from my office at the Scottsdale Princess Resort really couldn’t be overlooked.

                          The Reservation: A bit convoluted, this reservation was set up by Mr. Ed Tracy, the GM at Michael Mina’s NobHill Tavern in Las Vegas – a man I’d met during my visit to Bourbon Steak Detroit a number of years back who’d apparently been keeping tabs on my blog ever since. Having originally reached out to me regarding a reservation at Nobhill that I unfortunately had to take a raincheck on (Christmas, I’m hoping) due to the delayed closing on my house Mr. Tracy offered to arrange for our reservation at Bourbon Steak on short notice and although he certainly did not owe me such a thing I was happy to accept as there are few things better than a good meal to take the edge off of life’s stress.

                          The Space: Bourbon Steak Scottsdale, much like the Detroit iteration, is big and swanky with lots of wood, high ceilings, and lacquered tables all befitting the resort and the price point. Light on linens, heavy on stonework, wood, and brushed metals I like to think of this design as steakhouse chic – an elegant place for people with the necessary means to feed their carnivorous urges in style - it could be Mastro’s, Cut, or any of the others…not a negative, just a fact.

                          The Service: Ignoring the oddities of checking in at a hotel restaurant in Scottsdale – the forced valet, the ‘central’ podium, and the long hallways service was everything you’d expect from a Mina restaurant; personable and informed, expeditious but never hurried, and happy to discuss their fondness for the restaurant’s patriarch. Taking into account the fact that our reservation was arranged as it was I’d be foolish to say that a trio of visits from GM Anibal Macias was something every other diner should expect but all things being equal it seemed every table was well taken care of by Anibal’s team and our server, Christina, never left us for want even when performing some of Mina’s famous tableside preps across the room.

                          The Food: Amuse, Bread Service, 1 Restaurant Week Menu, 1 appetizer, 1 main, and 2 extra (comped) desserts plus coffee and a parting gift.

                          Amuse Bouche - Trio of Duck Fat Fries including Smoked Paprika-BBQ Sauce, Pepper Dusted-Rosted Garlic Aioli, and Fine Herbs-Onion Ketchup: Known in the past for his ‘trios,’ at his San Francisco Flagship the meal at The Princess started the same as that at MGM Detroit with a trio of perfect French fries each dusted with a signature spice blend and matched to a complimentary condiment. Crunchy on the exterior and just a bit toothsome within I’m still not exactly sure that I’m ‘sold’ on the way so many chef’s flaunt the use of duck fat for fries but all things being equal these were really good, particularly the fine herbs interpretation.

                          Foie Gras Duo with Roasted Bing Cherries and Almond Streusel: While I generally eschew the restaurant week menu it was the non-RW appetizer that would prove to be the biggest failure of the meal and, perhaps, the biggest food failure I’ve had since moving to the valley – simply stated, this was a piece of foie that should have never made it to the kitchen let alone to the table. Undersized, overcooked, poorly cleaned, and still somehow lukewarm on arrival there was really nothing to like about the seared portion of liver aside from the cherries – and least of all the veins and sinew zigzagging the palate. Moving on to the second half of the duo a creamy terrine beneath cherry gel was presented and paired with buttery brioche it was nearly good enough to save the plate – but not quite, particularly as Christina’s response to our complaint was simply taking the dish off of our bill rather than suggesting the chef take a second try with a better piece of foie gras and more attention to detail.

                          Caramelized Black Mission Figs- Spicy Sopressata, Preserved Lemon Ricotta: Rather horrified by the liver I was heartened by the first choice from the restaurant week menu; a sort of composed cheese plate featuring the intense fructose of fresh figs matched up against the bite of sopressata and lightly fragranced ricotta. Like most Bay Area chefs I’d suggest that if a Mina restaurant is offering up a fig dish you’d be wise to order it.

                          Potato Black Truffle Bread: Having mentioned the stellar cornbread served at Detroit’s Bourbon Steak Michael mentioned a really good skillet bread he’d experienced on his last visit to the Scottsdale location and inquiring with Christina we were told the bread was ‘by request only’ and as odd as that would seem it is definitely worth inquiring about; a light and spongy focaccia style bread rife with a nose of black truffles and topped with crunchy sea salt.

                          Crispy Sonoma Duck Breast- Cipollini & Brussel Sprout Hash, Huckleberry Compote: One of three RW main courses and for my dollar the most obvious choice by a landslide the kitchen was gracious enough to serve us each a separate portion of the Sonoma margret and while I cannot say it soared to the same levels as Chef DeRuvo’s version at Davanti Enoteca a few weeks prior this was another excellent preparation of my favorite protein with the aged fowl’s slight must perfectly tempered by the pungent hash and sweet berry reduction. Easily cut with the edge of a fork despite being served with one of the restaurant’s signature steak knives and as tender as you could hope I’m still having trouble getting over the fact that I now live in a city where good duck exists at not just one but multiple restaurants.

                          Whole Fried Chicken for Two with Truffled Mac & Cheese: Yes it is $58 for chicken, but compared to the $200 Bresse at Savoy or the $78 version at The Nomad I guess you could call this brined, battered, and duck fat fried version a bargain if it was nearly as good as the others…and thankfully it was. Featuring a plump hen with breading so dainty that it approximated the thickness of skin the bird was carved tableside and laid on a bed of truffled macaroni and cheese plus baby carrots before being topped with crispy onion rings and with each of the accoutrements quite delicious none were as good as the chicken itself – dense, moist, full of flavor, and complimented by rather than being overwhelmed by the seasoned breading.

                          Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Guava, Kaffir Lime, Coconut Sorbet: Still reeling from the chicken and generally not one to fancy passion fruit or panna cotta this RW menu dessert was actually much better than I’d anticipated and with pieces of grapefruit and lime adding an intense sour component to the otherwise sweet custard it was actually the coconut sorbet that brought this dish together preventing any one component from outshining the others.

                          Bourbon Bar- Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel: Seeing as how my writing is impossibly behind at this point suffice it to say I’d already experienced this dish at Baltimore’s Wit & Wisdom and I was glad to revisit it as the alternate RW dessert. Described loosely as the chef’s interpretation of a candy bar this dessert beings with a core of sweetened peanut butter mousse and dresses it with dense 70% dark chocolate ganache before bespeckling it with crumbled nougat, peanuts, and finally chocolate covered pretzels. Clearly a dessert designed for an American sweet tooth the only thing that needed to make this dessert the perfect steakhouse finale was a single malt whiskey…or a few cups of Mina’s signature blend coffee from LAMill.

                          Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Crème Fraiche Sorbet: With Mr. Mathias stopping by to check in as we enjoyed our dessert a conversation about Mina et al’s approach to pastry ensued and after mentioning my fondness for his unique interpretations of American comfort foods we found ourselves gifted this one last plate. Beginning at its base with airy spice cake flecked with carrots and studded with currants atop a smear of whipped cream cheese this dessert, much like the panna cotta, was taken to a whole different level through the addition of two frozen quenelles, one tangy crème fraiche and the other strikingly vegetal carrots. Bite for bite the most delicious and complicated of the evening’s three desserts this was every bit as good as any of the desserts I had at Wit & Wisdom and just another example how Chef Mina understands the powerful effect of American comfort foods.

                          Caramel Corn with Black Truffle: A parting gift for each party I’ll admit I was skeptical when this bag of popcorn was presented but in the end it would in fact prove to be the most notable of the three “truffled” options of the evening as the fungi’s signature aromatics rose came through brightly over the salt and sweet of the popcorn; an effect I’d have to guess was attributable to the use of truffle oil, truffle salt, or both.

                          The Verdict: While certainly not a perfect meal – especially when taking into account the butchering of one of my favorite ingredients – there are a lot of things to like about Bourbon Steak and although my fondness for Michael Mina is balanced by my general ‘ennuyer’ for steakhouse cuisine I have little doubt I’ll find myself back at The Scottsdale Princess sometime again soon – particularly if they should ever bring back the mussels soufflé or perhaps simply to work through a tasting of the half priced desserts after 9:00pm alongside a lobster pot pie.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: uhockey

                            What a great report!
                            I have that caramel corn but didn't know it had black truffles..opening it now.
                            Thanks Uhockey!

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              It lasted that long? Mine was gone waiting for the valet to bring the car. :-)