Eatin’ in Phoenix

February 9, 2011 at 11:48 PM Leave a comment

It seems that work finds Jeff in Phoenix at least once each year. During these trips, he has had the opportunity to sample some of the most interesting food in the city. On his most recent trip, he returned to an old favorite and tried two new places. All were enjoyable and worth your consideration.

Every neighborhood needs that small Italian restaurant with great food at a good price. Nick’s Italian serves that purpose in Scottsdale. The chicken tortellini was handmade with tender, flavorful chicken inside and the sauce Rosa (they called it pink sauce) a mixture of tomato sauce with cream was perfectly balanced. Not much was left on the plate except “white.”

Michele and Jeff discovered the Roaring Fork about five years ago. At that time, famed western chef Robert McGrath was cooking and the nation was paying attention. After he sold the place, we expected the restaurant and the food to slip, but an amazing thing appears to have happened, the food has stayed good and the place is even busier than when Chef McGrath was preparing the food.

Without reservations, Jeff and his co-worker were told there were no tables available until 8:30PM, a full two hours from our early arrival time! The bar was our only option and magically, two seat opened up as we made our first trip through the crowned bar area. Happy hour ends at 7:00, so we had the opportunity to sample some of the flavorful western cooking at a discount. A Caesar Salad and the pot of Chili-Pork served with fresh tamales were as good as Jeff’s first visit. Back in Phoenix again? Yes, I’ll be eating at the “Fork.”

The place, about which Jeff was most excited, is St. Francis. Unconventional for Phoenix, the concrete and glass was more industrial chic than he’s seen in this Mecca of southwestern cuisine. The atmosphere sent the right signals for food that could easily have been found in Denver or Chicago.

Jeff started with the daily special of roasted beet salad with mozzarella. Three or four different beets were intertwined with slices of the buffalo cheese and greens. He really enjoys beet salads, and this version, sans the typical goat cheese was among the best. Because the restaurant is serviced by a wood-fired, brick oven, the roasted chicken sounded like a perfect choice and after one bite, it proved to be the right one. Crispy on the outside, unbelievably moist inside, not a sliver of meat was left on the plate. Creamed parsnips, broccolini, farro and a whimsical pomegranate roasted garlic sauce kept his taste buds excited and alive until the last bite. This is a restaurant to which he will definitely return, perhaps as many times as Jeff is needed in Phoenix.

http://www.nicks-italian.com Three locations in the Scottsdale area.

Roaring Fork 4800 North Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251 480-947-0795

http://www.stfrancisaz.com/ 111 East Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85012 602-200-8111

Entry filed under: Eatin' Out of Town. Tags: , , .

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