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Italian Restaurant?

To report back:

I thought it was pretty great. It felt very checkered tablecloth Italian, and the food was wonderful.

We had the "hits" - which included a side of meatballs, the bread ($2 is a steal - Bianco knows bread, that is for sure). a Rigatoni, and a sausage sandwich.

The only miss was the sandwich - it was good (with Schreiners sausage), but probably not something I would order again.

They do have a meatball sandwich, which I think would be really, really amazing (they are fantastic).

We did not wait, and there were other tables available (meaning, I kind of doubt there is ever a wait for lunch). I think the summer might be harder, since their huge patio will be closed.

We paid around $30 for 2, without drinks, which I think is reasonable. Also, I would say the portions were not small (I was worried from some other reviews). I definitely thought it was a good value. I think the dinner menu is basically the same price, which is especially a good value.

I thought Italian Restaurant was pretty great.

Mar 28, 2012
Booger in Phoenix

Italian Restaurant?

Just read that Bianco was considering the name Fenicee (phen-ee-chee). That is Italian for Phoenix, and also the name of an Opera House in Venice. He said people didn't get it, and thought the name might be misleading.

Of course, starting with the name "Italian Restaurant" makes it very easy to add something later, which makes it unique "ie. Bianco's Italian Restaurant".

So, anyone know what the wait is like for lunch? We are going there today (we are suckers for anything Bianco does - and very much looking forward to this). Having been to his other establishments many times, I think I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Mar 28, 2012
Booger in Phoenix

Five Guys Burgers Phoenix

I have been to this restaurant in the DC area on many occasions, and was excited to hear that they were opening in the Phoenix area. I found the servers polite, happy, and attentive. I am not sure I can say the same for the staff at the Washington Navy Yard store (but I think it is an East coast thing).

I thought the Bell Road store was identical to the other restaurants I have been to (which I was happy about). This includes the peanuts in the shell you chomp on while you wait for your food (it is such a simple gimmick, but I just love it).

I usually skip the fries - they give you a ton! Like phoenix99 said - a small order is enough for a family. The burger (their regular comes with 2 patties standard) is quite large enough for me to make a meal of.

Bottom line, this is a successful franchise, in that each store is pretty much the same (you know what you are going to get when you chose to go there).

I am excited Five Guys is here - I don't expect to eat there all that often (I just don't do burgers that often), but do think I will go occasionally to get my fix.

Apr 27, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Private Dining Room at North Scottsdale Restaurant?

I would be a little weary of Cowboy Caio if you are trying to do business, as it is very noisy. If you are looking for a more festive atmosphere, that might work.

Capital Grill has a private room, and is close by at Frank Lloyd Wright and Scottsdale Road..

Recently had a work function at PF Changs at Kierland. They have a private table, which is between the restaurant and the kitchen. It was a unique atmosphere, with lots of activity. Again, not conducive to serious business, but festive. Normally, I steer away from chains, but PFs was started here, so they get a pass more often from me.

Mar 08, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Review from Scarpetta Wine dinner at noca last night?

Last night was the "Scarpetta Wine dinner at noca with guest Chef Lachlan Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder". I actually didn't know about this, until last night, and might have gone if I had some advanced notice. noca and Frasca are 2 of my favorite restaurants in the whole world, and I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to see what they could do together.

Did anyone go? I am very interested in hearing how it was.

Feb 03, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Pizzeria Bianco – Is Chris Bianco More Hands-Off These Days? (PHX)

We were all surprised Chris was not there (which is why we took note of it). The food tasted just as good as the other time we were there (which I think has more to do with the quality of the ingredients combined with the magic of the wood-fired oven, and less to do with who is sliding the pizzas in and out).

I think Pizzeria Bianco isn't the same if they expand (unless perhaps, they start serving pizza at Bar Bianco), open another location, start takeout, etc. PB is a special place, specifically because of its current space, and the aura around the long waits. They change anything, and it becomes just another good pizza spot.

Jan 19, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Pizzeria Bianco – Is Chris Bianco More Hands-Off These Days? (PHX)

Recently made another visit to Pizzeria Bianco myself. To reiterate what everyone else has said, it isn't excellent pizza, but very well executed. Overall, I think the food, service, and environment make this a special place.

We had reservations for the 5:00 seating (there are 2 reservations available every night, one at 5, and another at 8:30). The reservation is for anywhere between 6 and 10 people (we added 2 more people at the last minute, and it was no big deal). I called at exactly 4 o'clock, exactly one month in advance to get the reservation.

Everyone agreed that the pizza is not worth a 4 hour wait, but that if you embrace the wait as part of the experience (having a glass of wine at bar bianco) it is a wonderful experience, and worth doing.

Chris was not on premises the night we went, which was interesting to me, as I understood that he was the only one who cooked the pizzas, and that if he didn't do it, they weren't open. Everything was wonderful, and him not being there didn't seem to effect quality. His wife was working, so that was interesting. He is often at Pane Bianco, not working the counter, but in the back (I think they run both restaurants out of the back of that place).

Jan 18, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Udon in Denver?

I would bet you would find awesome Udon at Domo (which is just outside of downtown), which is a terrific restaurant, and a great atmosphere. Not in the best neighborhood, but has free parking onsite, and close, so nothing to really worry about. This place is a gem, and Denver is lucky to have it.

Another place, that would probably have good Udon is Oshima Ramen, in Southeast Denver. It is an authentic Ramen house, and one of a few American outposts of a well known Japanese chain. I have only eaten there once, and found it OK. It is fairly authentic from what I can tell.

I would say, go to Domo, and you will have a great experience.

1365 Osage St, Denver, CO 80204

Oshima Ramen of America
7400 E Hampden Ave Ste 48, Denver, CO 80231

Jan 11, 2010
Booger in Mountain States

Looking for good value restaurants in Vail

A "Dub" is a dollar.

Unfortunately, Vail is not known for anything cheap. There are good eats at a variety of places, but not a lot of cheap eats.

There is a full service grocery store, which is always an option for an inexpensive "picnic".

Pray for snow, and enjoy the back bowls.

Jan 11, 2010
Booger in Mountain States

Boulder and Other Points North Restaurants: A Few Ideas/Opinions

I didn't realize Frasca has been around 5 years. Its amazing that they seem to just get better and better. I don't get there as often as I like (only because I live in AZ now), but look forward to our next trip "home", which was specifically timed to ensure we could dine there.

Agreed on outdated atmosphere of Flagstaff house as well. I remember it being pretty pricey, which is probably hard to pull off in these current economic times. A facelift would probably breathe new life into that place. They certainly still have the amazing view, which is hard to come other places.

Thanks for the great reviews.

Jan 07, 2010
Booger in Mountain States

Let's start the new year with great thai food.....nominations for the best thai in phoenix/scottsdale

I agree that Sala is great.

I also have always loved Krua Thai in the North Valley (which may not be too far from North Scottsdale).

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (I have recommended this place a lot in previous posts, but I just love it, and really want them to succeed), I would like to recommend Little Rangoon (which is Burmese food). Though not exactly Thai, their dishes are similar in many respects. Their curries, and noodle dishes are some of the best I have had in the valley.

Little Rangoon
7000 E Shea Blvd Ste 1580, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Krua Thai Cuisine
1601 E Bell Rd Ste A8, Phoenix, AZ 85022

Jan 04, 2010
Booger in Phoenix

Denver Restaurants: A Few Ideas/Opinions

First off, thanks so much for the terrific reviews. I have been out of the loop with the Denver food scene (but do get back "home" fairly regularly), and you are making me eager to get back and try some of these places.

In regards to TAG, were you saying that they serve French Onion Soup Dumplings? As in the Shanghai style soup dumplings (with the soup inside the dumpling)? If that is the case, I am very excited about that. I spent a lot of my Vancouver vacation searching out Soup Dumplings (with mixed success), and think French Onion soup dumplings sound wonderful.

My wife and I's first date was at the original Lola's, so that place still has a warm place in my heart, but we haven't had a chance to get to the new spot.

Have had a couple great meals at Sasa, and think it is a great addition to the Denver food scene. Like you said, it isn't cheap, but it is a good value for what you get (incredibly fresh fish prepared with great care).

Jan 04, 2010
Booger in Mountain States

Late night eating Phoenix Christmas night

Concentrate on the hotel restaurants. They are usually always open.

I would recommend Gallo Blanco at the Clarendon hotel. Upscale(ish) Mexican food that has been getting great reviews. Of course, call to make sure they are open.

Depending on your hotel, you may be able to eat there. Many of the resorts in town have excellent restaurants (and are destinations for local Phonecians).

Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013

Dec 24, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

The Gelato Maker-Scottsdale

I have to give my approval of this spot. I have been there on many occasions, and think it is wonderful.

The thing that is most important, is that the owner/gelato maker uses real fruit to make all his different flavors. This makes such a difference in the final product, and makes it very special. If you don't think this changes the flavor, make sure to try the lemon one next time you go in (but only get a half scoop, as it is very strong).

The owner, is also so enthusiastic about his product, and clearly cares about the quality of what he makes. It is a pleasure to support him.

This isn't the cheapest, or hippest ice cream joint in this town, but in my opinion, it may be the best.

Dec 18, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Review: Petite Maison (Scottsdale, AZ)

There was an article in the AZ Republic a few weeks all about Cassoulet. It suggested that it is on the menu at Binkleys (which would obviously be wonderful), and a different version at Cafe Bink. It was not on the menu at Cafe Bink a few weekends ago, but we were there for lunch, so perhaps it is available for dinner (or a special available irregularly).

It is a dish I appreciate as well, and would love to find a great version in the valley.

Binkley's Restaurant
6920 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Cafe Bink
36889 N Tom Darlington Dr, Carefree, AZ 85377

Nov 17, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Cafe Bink (Carefree, AZ)

The restaurant is completely casual. You could definitely go there in any attire. The servers wear jeans.

I think they were going for the "neighborhood hangout" vibe, so you should feel comfortable in any attire.

Nov 09, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Cafe Bink (Carefree, AZ)

Ate there this weekend. The experience was great, but the food was just OK.

First off, I would say the patio is a wonderful place to spend a fall afternoon. Sitting in the shade, looking across Tom Darlington Road at the mountain vista is special. The restaurant has a killer location, and atmosphere.

Me and my SO each had a bowl of soup, and split a sandwich. She had the butternut squash soup, which she loved. They presented the soup, as a bowl, with a crouton in it, then they poured the soup at the table out of a small tureen. This is a classy service step (and one of the many things they do here, to "turn it up a notch" just a bit)).

I had the french onion soup, which was great as well. This soup takes a long time to cook right (reduce the onions over and over), so not something I will make at home. It was pretty good at Cafe Bink. The flavors were balanced, if a bit salty.

We then split the corned beef sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised to find the corned beef was obviously home made (in hindsight, I guess most of the items on the menu were probably made from scratch, as that is the Binkley way). The sandwich was fine, but nothing amazing.

Finally, we split a baby order of french fries. We are glad we got the baby, as it was a very large portion. The fries themselves were pretty great. Crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The 3 sauces that came with them (truffle catchup, garlic aioli, and sauce vert) were not great. The catchup was overwhelmed by the truffle, not balanced, the sauce vert didn't have much of a taste, and I didn't try the aioli (I am mayo averse).

Overall, while the quality of the food was all pretty good, I wouldn't say that any of the dishes were really outstanding, and probably not worth the high prices. Nothing we had "wowed" us.

I have to give major props to the service. We had our 14 month old in tow, and the staff bent over backwards to make us comfortable (the server even offered to have the chef make a special macaroni and cheese dish - off the menu for her). I am the kind of person who is very self conscious of my child interfering with other peoples meals, and generally uncomfortable with taking her out. The staff really put me at ease, and allowed me to enjoy my meal. I can't say enough how their attitudes really enhanced our experience. From what I saw, the service at Cafe Bink is excellent all around.

So bottom line, I can't exactly recommend Cafe Bink as a destination restaurant, it probably isn't worth the drive. But, if you are already in Cave Creek, or Carefree, you could certainly do worse. One thing is for sure, the staff will bend over backwards to make sure you have a great experience, and that says a lot

Binkley's Restaurant
6920 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Cave Creek Cafe
15202 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85023

Cafe Bink
36889 N Tom Darlington Dr, Carefree, AZ 85377

Nov 09, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Review: Little Rangoon - Scottsdale

I wanted to give another updated review of Little Rangoon. I have probably eaten there 6 times since my previous post, and like it every bit as much after multiple visits.

I have eaten most every dish on the menu, and confirm that the dishes that are a little off the normal path, are where this place really shines. I still find the ginger and green tea salads unbelievably unique and wonderful. I also have recently fell in love with the dal curry, which is unlike an Indian Dal, in that it has a smoother texture, and is creamier. The curries have well balanced flavors, and just the right spiciness (we usually go with 3 out of 4).

I have taken many friends there, and they are all impressed with the ambiance of the place, and the overall quality of the food. My buddy today mentioned he had been looking for Singapore Noodles for a while, and this was the best he has had since he moved from New York.

This place is very much a Mom and Pop shop. The owner and his wife have always taken the time to stop at our table and chat for a while (just get either of them talking about Burma, and they really get excited). They have always thanked us for coming in, which means a lot. It makes me feel good about supporting their business.

Right now, they are running a special, of 30% off everything on the dinner menu (including drinks). I thought their prices were really low before, but with this discount, it makes it a downright steal. It is easy to get out of there for around $30 per couple (with an App, 2 entrees, and a glass of house wine each). That makes for a cheap date for adventurous eaters.

Bottom line, I can't say enough positive things about this place. The room itself is nice, clean, and actually a bit upscale (not divey at all). The owner and wife are pleasant, and provide excellent service. The food is high quality with reasonably large portions. Most important, the recipes offer unique tastes, that make taking a little culinary adventure easy. This is one of the unsung gems of our city, and hopefully more people will discover it.

Little Rangoon
7000 E Shea Blvd Ste 1580, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Nov 04, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Good & Plenty Sacrilege!

I have to agree with everyone. Bought these at the dollar store (I am the kind of person who will always try something new, just for something different).

These things were vile. Tried the different flavors and quickly threw them out. These could have been kind of fun, and unique flavors, but turned out to be one of the worst things I have ever had the displeasure of putting in my mouth.

I would also mention that I recently bought some "Good and Fruity", which were reformulated from their original recipe (which was a hardish candy shell around a gel center). They were now just like jelly beans, which isn't unique or different at all - fail. I will buy jelly beans if that is what I am interested in.

Luckily Good and Plenty are still made in their original formula. At least they didn't mess with the true classic.

Nov 04, 2009
Booger in Features

reasonable priced & interesting eats in Phoenix

Have to throw in my recommendations.

One is Postino, which is a wine bar that serves sandwiches, salads, and wonderful bruscheta. Parking is terrible there, so just Valet. It is a really wonderful place, pretty hip and cool. Food is quite reasonable, but if you dig into the wine, the bill can add up (unless you are there early in the day - when all glasses at $5/per). This is the go to place for us, we take all our out of town guests there, and have always had great times there.

For something ethnic, and completely different, try Little Rangoon. It is a Mom and Pop place serving food from Burma. I have been there multiple times, and each time have had something unique, and like nothing I have ever eaten before (try the green tea salad for instance). I am always amazed how cheap it is (usually around $30 per couple, with apps, a glass of wine, and enough food leftover for lunch the next day). It is not a dive - but has a nice upscale atmosphere, in a nice Scottsdale shopping plaza. I can't say enough great things about this place, and think this is one of our unsung gems in the valley. Plus, right now, they are offering %30 of your entire bill (alcohol included) - I thought it was an amazing value before the additional discount.

Chino Bandido is something unique to Phoenix, and is a dive (in the best sense of the word). Mix between Chinese, Jamaican, Mexican, and Japanese. You will not leave hungry. it is quick service.

Postino Winebar
3939 E Campbell Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Little Rangoon
7000 E Shea Blvd Ste 1580, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Oct 29, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Review Redux: Binkley's Restaurant (Cave Creek, AZ)

NOCA is 5 minutes from Biltmore (if not closer). You could even walk there (if you were feeling ambitious). Biltmore is in a great location, you will have tons of options.

Oct 28, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Lunch in north central Phoenix

(Regarding Viet Kitchen) I have been there twice (in a week). I found it very good. Fresh ingredients, and helpful staff. I found the portions a bit small, and the prices a bit high. The environment is actually very nice.

I am a Vietnamese food lover, so very excited about this place. They are just getting started, so I wanted to give them a little bit to get into a groove before I posted a more thorough review.

I did enjoy each of the dishes I have tried so far for what it is worth.

Oct 27, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

We recently had a wonderful meal at J&G, when we were lucky to hit it during the Arizona Restaurant Week promotion. I had heard a lot of great things about this place, so it was on my short list of places to try.

We arrived on time, and our table was ready. The space is beautiful. It was hip, and steakhouse-like (dark woods, and big plush booths). Our hostess seated us at a 4 top (there were 2 of us) in the far corner of the restaurant. I wasn’t thrilled with the table, but the wife was happy to be out of the hustle and bustle (we were both tired from a long day of kid chasing), so we didn’t request to be moved. The restaurant is focused on their view over the hotel grounds, and the valley. It is a spectacular view, and most tables in the restaurant take advantage of it (our table did in fact have a view, it was just in a bit of an awkward location). In the future, I would probably request a table “on the window”, as this would probably improve the experience.

First thing I should mention is the service. The afternoon of our reservation day, I received a confirmation call from the restaurant. I always appreciate this, as it is nice to know they will be prepared for us. I requested a patio table, and was told that they don’t serve food there. The hostess was professional, and very pleasant. The rest of the service was excellent throughout our meal. Our waiter was attentive, and kept a perfect level of formality (not stiff, but not our friend either). Our meal was perfectly paced, and our drink glasses never went empty. Our waiter spent a lot of time with us, explaining the menu, and guiding us to make the best choices. They also presented us with the RW menu right away, and didn’t seem to treat us any differently for “dining with a discount”.

I started with a cocktail, as I knew that this was one of the specialties of the house. I got the “Hemingway Daiquiri”, which was excellently mixed (including small bits of crushed ice). It was strong, and really tasty. I stopped at one, but likely could have drank quite a few. I guess Hemingway knew how to drink, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that his namesake drink was tasty and strong.

As with our other RW meals, we got one of each selection on the menu, to ensure we could try everything. This is a good time in my review to comment on the quality of the options. J&G selected their “greatest hits” to best represent their restaurant. I think some other restaurants pick cheaper options, but I appreciate that J&G took this opportunity to showcase themselves in their best light.

The Caesar salad was great. It was light, lemony, and fresh. It was covered in shaved Parmesan, and was very large. The Steamed shrimp salad was really special (our waiter informed us that dish has been on Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s menu since his very first opening). It consisted of 4 very large shrimp, cooked perfectly, with accompaniments of micro greens, funny long mushrooms, avocado, and a great vinaigrette. I understand why this dish has stood the test of time, as all the ingredients worked so well together, and showcased their individual qualities. It was a really great appetizer.

The entrees arrived. The Steak frites was pretty good. The quality of the steak was good (and it was prepared just as we requested), and the fries perfectly prepared (they were somewhat pedestrian – but cooked perfectly – crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside). The highlight of our meal was the Salmon dish. It was the most perfectly cooked piece of fish I have ever had. It was simply prepared (there was very little seasoning, which allowed the quality of the fish to shine through). The side dish of creamed corn was spectacular. Good corn is in season right now, and easy to come by, so, Kudos to J&G for highlighting a great ingredient. Both of the entrees showcased great cooking, using high quality ingredients.

Of the 2 deserts we had, the standout was the Apple Tart. It consisted of a baked apple ring, on top of a delicate pastry. The apple was a perfect consistency, with a strong caramel cinnamon flavor. This dish is another of their specialties, and I understand why. The molten lava cake was good, and rich, but nothing spectacular. We make this a lot at home, so the novelty of this desert has worn off for us. Both deserts came with ice cream, which was fine, if not spectacular.

Overall, our meal was a wonderful experience. It is hard to beat the ambiance of the Phonecian, and the restaurant itself feels upscale. The experience from start to finish was top notch. All the food highlighted simple preparations of high quality ingredients.

One last comment, looking at the regular menu, the prices aren’t exorbitant (for instance the Steak Frites entree is $18). While a meal could add up quickly, it would be possible to eat here on a budget (if you are careful with your selections). We absolutely loved J&G, and will likely be back for another meal.

J&G Steakhouse
6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Sep 29, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

We had our first (of 2 – next up J&G) Restaurant Week meals last night at BLT Steak. It was wonderful.

Our meal started with a complimentary Champagne cocktail. It was placed in front of us as soon as we sat down (heleny – maybe they thought you looked too young to drink, which is why they didn’t do this for you ;-) ). It was interesting, basically sparkling wine, with sugar, and bitters maybe. It was a nice touch, not wonderful, but certainly nothing to complain about, since it was complimentary.

Next up was the amuse bouche. It was a small turine of chicken liver pate. I am not a fan of liver usually, but absolutely loved this dish. Everyone at the table was in agreement that it was wonderful, and we all basically fought over who would get to lick the bowl clean.

The next suprise were the Gorgonzola Popovers (which I should have known about). This is the signature item at BLT, and has won raves from previous diners. They are huge, very light bread puffs, with a perfect balance of cheese funk. After finishing the popovers, and liver app, we all agreed that we were already full, and could probably leave happy now.

Of course, our meal hadn’t even begun. We ordered one of each off the menu, to ensure we could taste everything. I ordered a glass of Gruet Sparkling wine (one of my favorites, and props to BLT for supporting regional purveyors).

The highlight of our first course was definitely the soup. It was basically a squash soup, with crab, and the most amazing sweet cinnamon croutons. All the tastes in the soup complimented each other, and the portion of crab was generous. The tomato/onion salad was pretty good, but maybe a little pedestrian. In this dish the quality of the ingredients really stood out – they used heirloom tomatoes (the skins were dotted, and different colors), and a nice balance of oil, and other ingredients. It was a nice dish (but I would probably opt for the soup if given a choice, as it was much more special).

The standout for our main course was the fish. It was a whole Sole, butterflied, and cooked to perfection. The fish had a wonderful salty crust, and perfectly tender meat. It was cooked to perfection, and among some of the best fish I have had anywhere. The steak was also good. The quality of the meat was clear, and the mushrooms that were presented with it in the cast iron skillet were amazing (and I am usually not a fungus fan).

The sides that came with the entrees were nothing special. The fingerling potatoes dish had more onions than potatoes, and the carrots were fairly pedestrian. Again, they weren’t bad dishes, just nothing special. If I had it to do over, I think I would have supplemented the meal with some other sides from the regular menu.

Deserts were a minor letdown. The peanut butter mouse was super rich, and overwhelmed the rest of the tastes of the dish (namely chocolate, and banana from the ice cream). I thought the consistency was fine (and the crunchies they put on top added a good texture). The berry cheesecake was fine, but nothing special. We all wondered if they used goat cheese to make the cake, as it had a little bit of a funky taste (in a good way), and a very soft texture. We asked the waiter, and he said it was just regular cream cheese.

My final comment would be about the service. It was stellar, and indicative of what we would expect if we were paying full price. They changed out the silverware with each course, paced our meal properly, and most importantly, offered us the RW menu right away, with no attempt to upsell. From the moment we walked in (the hostesses accommodated our request for an outside table), to the time we left (everyone thanked us for coming in), they treated us well.

Overall, I was very happy with this meal, and thought it was a wonderful value (actually a steal, as our final tally was $69 and I had a glass of wine).

Sep 24, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

It is indeed too bad that Quiessence didn't participate. They do certain price fixe menu's throughout the year (we went to a Valentines day thing), so they are able to make it work on certain occasions.

I think the most glaring omission to me is Elements.

At least Kai has some sort of participation with Ko'Sin.

Just because a restaurant doesn't have to participate (ala Binkley's) doesn't mean they shouldn't. RW is a great thing for the foodie community. I appreciate the restaurants that are participating, and establishing this event as something worthwhile.

Sep 21, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

emmaAmethyst I can't agree with you more. RW is a chance for an establishment to impress you enough that you will be willing to come back and order off the regular menu. The service and food should be at the same level as any other time of year.

I didn't have the same experience at Bourbon last year. They were extremely gracious, and happy to serve us from the special menu. My guess is you had an overwhelmed or snotty waiter - It doesn't excuse bad service, but I don't think it is the norm.

I think it is important to show the restaurant some respect, and check out the regular menu, and make an effort to understand what they are all about. They are offering a special deal to get people in to learn about their place, it is only right, that we give them the opportunity to educate us on everything. (We always request to look at the regular menu)

Sep 21, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Road Trip Review: Burger Bar - Las Vegas, NV (w/ photos!)

I had a better experience at Burger Bar than you did, but agree, that it wasn't an "amazing" meal.

Bourbon Steak at the Scottsdale Fairmont has started offering upscale Burgers in their Bar area. They are $16, which includes 5 toppings (or they have some pre-selected options if you prefer to go that way). We found the experience far superior to Burger Bar - and their side of Duck Fat fries ($5) are amazing. We thought the burgers were pretty awesome, and it is a cheaper way to experience Bourbon Steak (which is pretty pricey regularly).

So, if you are looking for an expensive burger option, you may want to try locally.

Sep 12, 2009
Booger in Las Vegas

Weekday lunch on 20th St. and Thomas?

Pane Bianco is really wonderful (and much more accessible than the Pizzeria you may have heard of with the similar name ;-) ).

The Caprese sandwich is heavenly. We usually split one of those, and one of whatever is the special of the day.

Pane Bianco
4404 N Central Ave Ste A, Phoenix, AZ 85012

Sep 09, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

Where to eat during Restaurant Week 2009? (PHX)

I am doing BLT and J&G. Interestingly, BLT includes a cocktail, which makes the meal even more of a value. J&G is on my short list of places to try out anyway, so this is a great opportunity.

Went to Bourbon Steak last year, and it was wonderful. It is super expensive otherwise, so this is a good chance to check it out. The food was delicious (regular size portions, and I agree with Poerz about the wonderful duck fat fries), and the service excellent. We have been back for burgers in the bar (and ordered the fries as a side - $5 which is an amazing value).

Also went to Roka Akor last year, which wasn't great. I felt like they were trying to up-sell us the whole time (to add supplemental courses to the meal), and thought our server looked down on us when we didn't take the bait (ie. "Look at the cheapo restaurant week folks"). I didn't find the special menu that great a deal (and quite frankly, haven't been back again after the snotty service).

NOCA offers a great deal every Sunday night (Simple Suppers), that is basically the same price, so I think I will skip them during restaurant week - although, it is a great restaurant, so if you are looking to experience a great meal, this is someplace that shouldn't be missed.

Sep 08, 2009
Booger in Phoenix

yasu, so so.

Too bad that some simple service missteps couldn't have been rectified in a better manner. Obviously, that is not a big place, so there is no excuse for the manager not knowing exactly what is going wrong. There is also no excuse for a sushi place to run out of Tuna (maybe a more obscure type of fish, but Tuna is pretty popular).

I don't know why these restaurants don't learn, fixing a bad situation quickly, and making an unhappy customer happy, is way easier than winning back the loyalty of a customer who has been disappointed. An unhappy customer will be vocal, and cost way more business in the long run than comping a meal will cost in the short term.

I like Yasu, but haven't been there in a while. I hope this experience was an anomaly, as I do like the place, and hope to get there soon.

Sep 04, 2009
Booger in Phoenix