Review: Delux - Phoenix
- Seth Chadwick Aug 29, 2005 10:39 PM
After being away from Phoenix for a few years (grad school, stint in NYC, etc.), I returned to my beloved Arcadia section of Phoenix and found that not much had changed. Okay, the 7-11 at 36th Street and Indian School Road was now a Domino's Pizza, but beyond that it was pretty much the same as when I left.
But over the past year or so, there have been some great things happening on the restaurant scene. One of the hottest places in the district is La Grande Orange at 40th Street and Campbell where people are parking a half-mile away and walking because parking is poor. One of the other hot spots was where I enjoyed a fantastic lunch.
Delux is a very small, stylish, NYC-like restaurant in the Safeway strip mall at 32nd Street and Camelback. It focuses on sandwiches, salads, desserts and a whole lot of drinks. The place is hard to miss, but when you see the Safeway, look a few doors over to your right and you will see the silver Delux sign.
I made my way into Delux and had several options for seating. I could wait for a private table, sit outside immediately, sit at the communal table in the middle of the restaurant immediately, or sit at the bar one another patron had departed. Clearly, Delux provides seating for every taste. I was hungry and don't mind meeting strangers, so I sat at the communal table next to two gentlemen enjoying their salads.
In short order, I was asked for my drink choices. Delux has about 30 different beers to choose from, but it was ridiculously hot outside and I wanted something non-alcoholic, so I went for my standard Diet Coke. I reviewed the menu and instantly saw what I wanted.
My server returned with the drink and I placed my order: The Delux Burger ($9.00) and a half order of the half & half fries ($3.00). The server departed and I noticed the clientel was a great mixture of everything from window shoppers to suits to skateboarders. The restaurant is decorated rather minimalistically with a few pieces of photography art and some fabric decorations. Tables and chairs are metal through and through.
The kitchen sits at the back of the restaurant and you can see everything that is going on. The staff does a great job of covering for each other and my glass of water and my glass of Diet Coke were never allowed to be emptied.
My burger arrived and the scent was intoxicating. On a fresh demi baguette sat a good sized patty of fresh ground beef. Piled on the beef was a mixture of maytag and gruyere cheese followed by two thick strips of smoked bacon. Rounding out the sandwich was layered arugula and carmalized onions. One bite and I was in heaven. This burger is in the top 10 of best burger I have ever had. It was perfect, and when I ordered it medium, it came medium.
Accompanying the burger was my side dish of half & half fries that was a mixture of french fries and sweet potato fries. I tried each individually. Both were crispy on the outside and hot and soft on the inside. The seasoning was excellent, but those who don't like seasoning on their fries past salt should mention that to the server. The fries came with two sauces for dipping: ketchup and something resembling Thousand Island dressing sans the pickles. Both were very good, and I had a feeling that the ketchup was homemade.
I sat and gobbled my food, but also inquired from the two business men next to me about their salads. Both said Delux serves outstanding salads and that they eat at Delux at least once a week. I did notice several salads going by as they were being served and these were pretty good sized with a mound of organic greens and veggies served in a deep bowl.
I finished my meal and flagged the waitress down for my bill. The total, including tax, was $15.13. The price is not for the faint of heart, but when I considered the fact that this is top shelf fare and it is in the Arcardia/Biltmore district hub, prices are not going to be cheap. Overall, it was expensive for lunch, but I would certainly return to Delux.
If I had one complaint, it would be the noise level. The place is hopping from open to close (they are open until 2 AM every night) and the noise is a bit maddening, but you do get use to it fairly quickly.
But the best part of Delux is that it is all of 15 feet away from my other find in East Phoenix - The Gelato Spot.
3146 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
My BF and I have been going to Deluxe since it opened and love it. The burgers are the best and if you are in the mood for beer, they offer four very unique beer flights which allows you to sample some great stuff without comitting to a full pint. Glad you enjoyed.
I believe the dipping sauce that comes with the fries is a kind of aioli. I don't care for mayo or thousand island-type dressings, but I liked this non-sweet condiment.
Delux is awful. That "baguette" is horrid-- certainly no respectable Frenchman would consider calling it a baguette. The burger itself isn't much better. The service has been bad as well-- the staff is not at all knowledgable about their product and has no idea how to properly pace their service. I don't intend to return again-- three strikes and Delux is out.
WOW!! I am surprised at your review. I was there two weeks ago for the first time. The place was packed, yet my server (as well as the others I saw) was very attentive. Our drink glasses were never empty, orders were quickly placed and received, food was hot and tasty.
My only comment is that the burgers were so big, we wished we would have shared one. :)
Love this place! My mother took me to Delux for lunch during one of my recent visits to Phoenix, and it was a nice surprise. Had the steak salad which was divine--strips of medium rare beef, nicely seasoned, over a bed of fresh greens with a nice tangy light dressing. Even the lemonade was good. I asked our server (who was very good) how it was made and he said it was done kind of like a mojito, where the fresh lemonade was shaken with ice and fresh mint and then poured into the chilled glass and sweetened with honey. I've tried to replicate this at home with some success to impress guests, but it doesn't compare to the original. Perhaps I've not yet mastered the ratios.
Mom and I shared a dessert, but to be honest, I can't remember what it was since I'm not much of a dessert person and sweets don't stick in my mind as much. But I do remember not being displeased with it.
Anyway, can't wait to return there.
I agree about the meat. My wife and I ate there today for the first time. I had the classic burger. The only real texture to the burger was soft. The flavors of the burger were weak. Some mustard did help, though.
My wife got the delux burger and had basically the same complaints. She thought the baguette lacked the texture it should have. He medium-well burger (she is pregnant) was served bloody.
The crowd was annoying, and the place is very noisy. The staff was nice. The iced tea was great, and the beer selection is great. It looks nice inside, but the seating is fairly close, and there was an annoying person beside us complaining about his wife/gf's children the whole time (don't judge me because I don't want to be a parent). The place finally got noisy enough to drown him out by noon.
There are spots in the area where I would rather eat, Either make the drive down to central and hit the sonoran brewhouse, or hit the chicago hamburger company. Or better yet, hit the Chuckbox or Ted's
For fries I would rather hit Joe Farmhouse. The sweet patoto fries were good, but the ailoi didn't do much for me. The regular fries lacked flavor.
If being trendy is important, this place will probaby fill the bill, plus they have a good menu of salads and sandwiches, but for a good burger I would choose somewhere else.
Beavis - two I would add to your list of alternatives nearby are LGO and Christopher's. When I want a burger, I don't think of Delux nearly as often. I am not a fan of the flatbread Christopher's burger is served on, but the meat is lucious. LGO's green chili is one of my top 5 burgers anywhere.
After a few negative posts about Delux, I grabbed a Delux burger ($9.50, it appeared prices have gone up $.50-1.00 depending on the item) for lunch today. Med-rare as requested, it came out spot-on and was juicy and great as usual. Since I normally order the standard, I had forgotten they added bacon on this one, which they forgot. No matter, it's still a very tasty burger. With their good beers on tap, it's still a no-brainer choice for me for a burger.
Someone mentioned in another post about the grind, and I agree that they have it right - I only mention this because it was a stark contrast to the burger I had from Gordon Biersch yesterday; the grind was much coarser and could have benefited from a finer grind.
Glad to hear you vouch for their burgers still being great, azhotdish. I haven't been to Delux in a little while so the above two posts had me a little concerned, although I'm always extremely skeptical about someone whose first and only post (or whose short list of posts) on this board is to say something negative about a restaurant (especially a popular one)--call me a cynic.
What's going on with the new Delux they were reportedly building in Old Town? Was that put on hold, or is it still in progress?
A few doors down in the Safeway shopping center at 32nd St & Camelback or a few doors down in Old Town Scottsdale? if the former, it would be ironic since that shopping center was once home to the original Blue Burrito Grill, which was a similar healthmex concept from the same owner. Sadly, what's left of BBG at the Airport and north Scottsdale is a shadow of its former self. The original BBG space is now home to Noca.