Spring Break in Scottsdale
We are a family of three good eaters coming from Minneapolis for spring break and to look at colleges. Thanks to all the good postings on this site, I have made reservations at a number of places including NOCA, FnB, Cowboy Ciao and T. Cooks. I have had no trouble doing so, and I expect our other meals will be more off the cuff. However, we were going to try one the the Richardson restaurants and Open Table tells me there are no openings w/i 8 weeks. What's the deal there? Is Richardson's the French Laundry of Phoenix? (Where we have been!) What are Rokerij and Dick's Hideway? Do they serve dinner? Should we try to go there instead? Also, what is the deal w/ Pizza Bianco? I have a teenager whose mission is to try all the pizza in the world, but I've never stood in line for pizza in my life. Help a sistah out!
Richardson's is good for AZ/NM fare, and worth the trip. They DID have a fire, so do not know the exact disposition at this time. They are NOT the French Laundry of Phoenix, though for a good, somewhat local fare, with a bit of Mexican twist, they are worth the time.
Dick's is an odd little restaurant, just around the corner in the shopping center, from Richardson's. They share a kitchen, and usually most of a menu. After the fire, they were a replacement for Richardson's. Before the fire, they were the "overflow," and actually higher on MY list, than Richardson's, which was always too loud, and too dark.
Rokerij, is one of their restaurants, not too far away. However, I have never really found a good reason to dine there, after about six trips. Kind of like FnB, I just do not quite get it. However, many respected local CH's DO love it, just like FnB (which we have only been to once, but that was enough for us).
Now, Pizzaria Bianco IS very good. However, unless one has a party of six (think that is the number), there are no reservations - only a line. I think that the lines have diminished over the last year, or so, but also think that the pizzas are still up where they were. We always call up two other couples and make reservations.
We have had wonderful meals at Cowboy Ciao, NOCA and T. Cook's. However, NOCA has a new chef, and we have not been there since he took over. We also had a really poor brunch with a very gracious donor, at T. Cook's, so I wonder if they have made some major, and not so wonderful changes? Still, that was a brunch.
Thanks everyone. I was making kind of a lame joke about Richardson's and French Laundry vis a vis the difficulty in getting in since on their website they list their booking agent as Open Book, and Open Book states that there are no openings for the next eight weeks. Maybe we'll try walking in. We've also now booked Binkley's. Re: Dick's Hideaway - OK, it is the same as always. What is always? Is it a bar? Restaurant? Breakfast joint?
Dick's is a small bar, maybe a total of 30 stools counting the tables, plus a private dining room. A lot of the food prep for all three locations happens at Dicks. It has historically had the same menu as Richardsons. I'm not sure if that is still 100% true, since the new location of Rich's is further away. The carne adovada will certainly be on the menu, and at least one person in your party must order it.
Dick's offers the best view of your food prep, if you like to watch the cooks do their thing.
I wouldn't expect to arrive at Richardson's at 7pm and have a table available, but, I haven't tried in years. I typically would eat breakfast at the bar at Dicks, early in the morning.
One more thing about Dick's - the front door is not obvious. Just make note of the address, and you'll have no trouble finding it.
The "new" Richardson's is a very close replica to the burned down Richardson's. They did a good job in recreating the atmosphere from the tooled copper horseshoe bar to the chalkboards full of daily specials. They have also built a beautiful patio with an outdoor bar/dining and a couple of little kiva fireplaces. The food hasn't changed a bit, which is a good thing. They do happen to have a wonderful brunch menu on the weekends. (you can get this menu from 7a-4p at Dicks during the week)
Rokerji has a nice atmosphere, as well. A few different items on the menu, not all NM fare like Richardson's. You can't go wrong with either, IMO.
If your teenage wants to try all the pizza in the world then it would be a shame to leave out Bianco's. Even Peter Rienhart, master baker, has put Bianco on the top of his list. This after traveling the world in search of the best pizza, in the name of research, for his book American Pie. Try to plan an early meal, arrive before the doors open, you should be seated. It's on a nice little block in downtown Phoenix that you can wonder up and down while you wait.
Sounds like you have done your research, otherwise. Have a wonderful visit!
If you want great pizza, Phx is the place. Skip Bianco's as it is overrated IMHO. You have to try the Parlor for the best pizza and a killer menu for everything else.
Also, don't leave out The Mission for dinner or brunch as it is outstanding a really neat place that will impress your whole family.
I agree with the other CHers that Richardson's is great. I would call the resto for a reservation if possible and not to worry too much about getting a table as it shouldn't be a problem.
Not a big fan of T.Cook's, seems like a waste of a meal there and I see you have Cowboy Ciao on the list, so I won't recommend Citizen Public House, however, it is hands down, better and from the original chef of Cowboy Ciao.
Either way, you have a lot of great choices and you can't go wrong.