We had a nice happy hour at St. Francis on Camelback near Central this weekend. They are doing "urban rustic" with many items cooked in the wood oven.
We had the corn soup, the romaine salad, the chile verde and the warm toffee pudding.
The corn soup was pretty one-dimensional in both flavor and texture. Just cream of corn soup with a few solid kernals that didn't have much char or carmelization on them. Just a swirl or siracha and i think what may have been a shred or two of lime zest. Not that impressive of a start.
The romaine salad with bacon, green beans, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes and a buttermilk cheddar dressing was better, kinda like a BLT without the bread. I could have used more tomatoes and a bit more of a cheddar flavor in the dressing, but this was pretty tasty none the less.
The chile verde had more of a Tex Mex chili flavor going on, with chunks of tomato, than the tomatillo verde sauce I'm used to. It tasted good and was different but I thought the point of making chile verde was to make it verde, not colorado.
The warm toffee pudding was very similar to what I've had at NOCA (one or two chefs ago), but not as good, sadly. The cake was a bit dry. The toffee sauce was delicious, as was the vanilla gelato, but at NOCA they had a moist cake, a tangy goat cheese gelato and the third flavor of lime zest put it over the top both times I had it there. This dessert had only two distinct flavors, toffee and vanilla, and as they are both rich and creamy, it could use a third contrasting flavor/texture like they did at NOCA.
Sounds like I'm giving them a mediocre review, I suppose so, but the food was of good quality and relatively well prepared, especially for the happy hour prices. I know they are going for simple recipes, but I think they could be better with a few simple adjustments here and there.