jasonaz's Profile

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Sweet Potato Fries - Phoenix

Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert serves excellent sweet potato fries. They are sweet, but not too much so, great texture, and have just the right amount of coarse salt. They come with a tasty pineapple serrano dipping sauce as well, which I really like. I just wish they offered a bit more of the sauce.

You can see a photo of the fries here: http://chowdownphoenix.com/joes-farm-...

Jul 18, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Best Onion Rings - Metro Phx

The Barbeque Company in Phoenix has the type of onion rings you're describing. If I remember correctly, I think they used red onions too, which I love. They are more stringy than ringy though, lol.

Jun 04, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Tempe, AZ Mini-Review: Khai Hoan

Khai Hoan is run by Justina's sister. I would say the primary resemblance is in the quality of the food and preparation, but outside of that, the sisters have taken very different approaches to their restaurants. Both are excellent.

May 26, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Going to be in Sierra Vista, AZ for 1 week. Any good eats?

I just went down to Agua Prieta (border town near Douglas) last month. Like you, we thought it would be a good idea to go down there for a bite to eat. We had a pretty bad experience all around, so I wouldn't recommend it. If you want to read about the place we ate at, you can see my review at: http://chowdownphoenix.com/la-hacienda/

There are also several reviews on Bisbee eats that may interest you. I had really good experiences at both Santiago's and The Bisbee Grille in Bisbee. That's not a far drive from where you're going.

May 25, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Dooby's Grill Cafe - Mesa, AZ (w/ photos!)

In my opinion, there is no excuse for the wait, nor should there be. By design, the owner runs his restaurant a certain way, targeted at a certain crowd, and his attitude is "take it or leave it." As a result, the people that are looking for efficient service end up not coming back, and the people who like to make a night of it end up being regulars. A friend of ours knows the owner pretty well, and he told her that he's got too much business now as a result of a recent write-up (not sure if it was AZ Republic or who), and he actually seemed to be upset by it, lol. He isn't interested in growing the business into something it wasn't meant to be.

I really enjoy the food at Dooby's. I also value the opportunity to go to a restaurant where you don't feel any pressure to free up your table after you eat; where you're welcome to stay as long as you wish. That's worth something. As fast-paced as our culture is, it's refreshing to actually relax in a restaurant and enjoy a good meal and good company. That said, I completely understand the frustration with Dooby's, and it's good that we're discussing it so that people will be better informed about what they're getting into before they decide to go.

May 24, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Cyclo (PHX)

It's amazing to me how everyone keeps raving about their green beans. I never thought green beans could be that exciting, but apparently they are at Cyclo. I'll have to give them a try.

May 21, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Lunch suggestions in Mesa @ McDowell & Higley

I've heard very good feedback on Red, White, & Brew on McDowell and Power. They have an interesting menu and do have a handpicked wine list:

http://www.rwbaz.com/menu.asp

I'm planning to review them in the near future.

May 20, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Cyclo (PHX)

You're right, they do have some Pad Thai on the menu; it's a bit of a fusion at Cyclo. I like your idea about taking first-timers to Cyclo before introducing them to full-on, authentic Vietnamese.

May 19, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Cyclo (PHX)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Cyclo is a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Chandler that offers a westernized version of the cuisine along with a pleasant, modern atmosphere. In case you’re curious about the name, a “cyclo” is a three-wheeled, Vietnamese version of a rickshaw.

We arrived early on a Friday, around 5pm, which was perfect timing, because a line began building outside soon after we arrived.

We started with an order of Spring Rolls ($4). They came with grilled pork, shrimp, and a peanut sauce. Everything was delightfully fresh. I think the BBQ Pork Spring Rolls at Saigon Pho were slightly better, but these were very good.

I ordered the Beef Capriccio ($6) without realizing what it really was. It sounded great: beef with Vietnamese coriander, pineapple, and sesame crisps. Unbeknownst to me, the beef is served raw. I guess there has to be a first time for everything, so I gave it a go. I imagined it would taste bad and I’d get deathly ill. Fortunately, I was wrong on both accounts. There wasn’t any pineapple on the dish (perhaps they ran out), but it did come with lime wedges. I squeezed the lime over the beef, mixed it up with all the garnishes and took a bite. It had a mild, fresh flavor, and was extremely tender. It’s not something I would order again, but it was a good one-time experience. According to our Vietnamese friend, Joe, who was with us, this was the one truly authentic Vietnamese dish on the menu.

The dish came with a side of sesame rice crisps. I wasn’t too crazy about the taste of them, although they offered a good complementary texture for the beef.

My wife decided on the Saigon Rice Vermicelli ($10), which is grilled marinated beef, pork, shrimp, and egg roll served over a bed of light and fluffy rice vermicelli. My wife loves meat, so this was the perfect dish for her. She loved the combination of flavors. The dish came with a small bowl of fish sauce, but Joe said it was really tamed down from the authentic version.

Cyclo definitely caters to the western palate. There weren’t any Vietnamese patrons when we went; whereas, at Saigon Pho, nearly everyone there was Vietnamese. Both of these Chandler restaurants offer excellent food. If you want cheap and authentic and you aren’t concerned with atmosphere, go to Saigon Pho. On the other hand, if you want appealing atmosphere and an Americanized version of Vietnamese cuisine, head on down to Cyclo…and get there early to beat the rush!

Interesting fact: Cyclo is the sister restaurant to Khai Hoan in Tempe (yet another quality Vietnamese restaurant that I plan to review at some point).

1919 W. Chandler Blvd.
Chandler, AZ 85224
hours: Tue-Sat 11-3 (lunch), Tue-Thu 5-9 and Fri-Sat 5-10 (dinner); closed Sunday and Monday
phone: (480) 963-4490
email: cyclo@qwest.com

Mouthwatering photos and many more reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 19, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Corleone's (Tempe, AZ)

If that's the case, that's the perfect excuse to go back to Flancers. I will give it another try.

May 14, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Copper Kettle (Tempe, AZ)

Rating: ★ ½

I’ve heard good things about Copper Kettle in Tempe, which serves a mixture of Indian, Pakistani, and Afghani food. This is a difficult review for me to write, because I know there are people that love the place; however, I had a bad experience, and I have to provide an objective account of that .

When we entered the restaurant, there were no employees in sight. After a short wait, we grabbed menus from the counter and decided we should just seat ourselves. We waited another 10 minutes and still no one came out to greet us. Finally, Hiran went into the kitchen to tell them we were ready to order. An expressionless lady came out and stood behind the counter. We realized that she wasn’t going to come to our table so we walked up to the counter and ordered. We returned to our table, and after a while we realized that the drinks were self-serve. We just wanted some water, but she hadn’t bothered to mention that we should help ourselves.

Our food arrived after a moderate wait. The dishes looked quite appetizing. I had Chicken Boti Sultani ($6), which is basically a tandoori chicken kabob. The cuts of chicken breast were much larger than I’ve ever seen on a kabob. I found that they were very difficult to cut into for two reasons. One was that I wasn’t given a knife. We walked around looking for a knife, but were unable to locate one. We finally asked the lady, and she begrudgingly brought me one. The other reason was that the chicken was raw in the center. I didn’t even bother complaining at this point, I just cut off the cooked portions that I could salvage. The cooked parts were very tasty. I could tell the kabob would have been enjoyable if it were cooked properly. My meal also came with fresh nan bread, which I love. It was a little too burnt in spots, but I didn’t mind as I like burnt stuff. The yogurt dipping sauce was good as well.

My wife got the Chicken Tandoori Tikka ($6). This is a typical thigh/leg tandoori plate served with nan. She enjoyed her meal, and didn’t have any issues with the preparation. She enjoyed the dish, and her only complaint was that the chicken was a bit dry. She really liked the onions that were served on the side. They had been soaked in a vinegary sauce, which gave them a nice, acidy bite.

Hiran got the Chicken Sindhi Biryani ($6). Hiran thought the meal was so-so. He’s Sri-Lankan, so he’s a pretty tough judge of Indian food. I tried a bite of his basmati rice, since my plate didn’t have any, and it was good. I rather wish the plates would have come with a bit of basmati and nan.

There is no excuse in the food industry for serving undercooked meat, especially chicken. There’s also no excuse for such poor service. It was the worst service that I can recall in recent memory. I don’t know if I just caught them on a bad day, or if the management is always this bad, but based on my experience I can’t recommend eating at the Copper Kettle. On the other hand, I could tell that if they had better staff running the place, and if they were more careful in their preparation, that this could make for an enjoyable meal.

Note: I should also mention that this location doesn’t win any points for atmosphere. It’s in a small, run-down commercial center just east of ASU. They do have another location in Mesa on Guadalupe and Dobson, which I would like to try someday. Perhaps it is better managed.

1050 E. Terrace Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85202
phone: (480) 894-1276
hours: 11-10 daily
email: copperkettle@aol.com

Savory photos and more reviews can be found at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 12, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Corleone's (Tempe, AZ)

Yeah, they have three locations, and are about to open one or two more. The south Philly guy told me they would be opening a Gilbert location around mid-year, so we'll see if that happens. The possibility excites me, but then I think back to all my good experiences with Philly joints, and they all had an expert running the grill. If they make it a huge chain, I don't think they can maintain the quality experience.

Flancer's is a good restaurant, but their Philly is light years from being authentic. When I tried it a few years ago, they used thick slices of beef, the wrong type of bread, and provolone or mozzarella cheese. That's just wrong. The only other place I know that's authentic is in Chandler, and it's called Philly's Famous. I believe it's off of Alma School and Ray.

Of course, it's all about what you're looking for. It doesn't have to be authentic to taste good. I just happen to be in love with authentic cheese steaks, so that's what I look for. :)

May 11, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Corleone's (Tempe, AZ)

Yes, the fries are likely the pre-fab frozen kind. I thought to mention them in the review, but the whole reason to go to Corleone's is for an authentic cheese steak. Now that I think of it, I've actually never been to a Philly steak place that didn't use frozen fries. Usually all of the good joints are "fast food" grills like Corleone's. It was that way in SoCal too.

May 11, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Corleone's (Tempe, AZ)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

One of my favorite things to eat is an authentic Philly cheese steak. The problem is finding one. Corleone’s in downtown Tempe is one of the few places in the east valley that makes a good Philly.

Corleone’s Philly Original comes wit’ whiz and grilled onions. I don’t like whiz, and you don’t have to eat whiz for it to be an authentic sandwich. American, provolone, and cheese whiz are all generally accepted as authentic cheeses. For me though, white American cheese is the only way to go, so that’s the what I went with, a whole Philly Original wit’ American ($8). They use a quality, thinly sliced rib eye. I was a little let down that they didn’t brown the meat up a little better. I wish they would have camelized the onions a bit more as well. Usually, they cook everything perfectly, but on this day, the owner wasn’t around, and the kids running the shop were some real jokers (the “cook” was playing drums on the grill with a couple metal spatulas; that was more than slightly annoying). The bread was very fresh, and quite similar to the Amoroso roll that is typical of an authentic Philly cheese steak. The cheese was very good, but there wasn’t very much of it. As expensive as the sandwich already is, I’ve decided I’ll just have to pay extra for double cheese from now on. If you like cheese, I suggest you do the same.

Pops got a whole Bada Bing ($8). It’s a chicken sandwich with bbq sauce, american cheese, and grilled onions. I tried a bite, and it was pretty good. I especially liked the chicken, which was a very thinly sliced breast (unusual to have breast meat sliced that way). The bbq sauce, which they say is homemade, wasn’t anything special, but who would expect a Philly steak place to make a good bbq sauce?

Corleone’s can be exceptional, but apparently only when the owner is around. I hope he’s there when you go, because he’s a riot. He’s from south Philly, and he’s got the accent and one-liners to prove it. I always find myself busting up laughing when I talk to him. If he’s not there, you could be in for a mediocre experience. Speaking of which, if I had another one, I would be tempted to lower my rating due to inconsistency.

Cool fact: on Tuesdays starting at 4pm they have a buy one sandwich get one of equal or lesser value free deal.

411 S. Mill Ave. #102
Tempe, AZ 85281
phone: (480) 966-8558
fax: (480) 966-2357
hours: M-W 11-10, Thu-Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11-5pm

Mouthwatering photos and many more reviews can be found at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 10, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Cornish Pasty Co. (Tempe, AZ)

I think it's great news too, but aren't you a little surprised that they didn't decide to open a new location a little farther away from the current one so they could expose themselves to a wholly new market?

May 10, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Cornish Pasty Co. (Tempe, AZ)

Hi Ziggylu,

That's a wonderful idea about bringing them home. I believe I read a review on azcentral or newtimes that mentioned CPC will par cook them for you so you can just pop them in the oven for a bit to finish them off when you're ready. That would make for a quick and delicious dinner at home, or even for a party.

May 09, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Cornish Pasty Co. (Tempe, AZ)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

The single greatest thing the English ever contributed to humankind can be found just a couple blocks from ASU in Tempe: pasties! Pasties (pahs-tees) are pastries that were originally made for miners in Cornwall, England in the 1700’s so they could take food underground for long periods of time without it spoiling. They were originally filled with a simple mixture of minced meat, potato, and onion. Nearly three hundred years later, at the Cornish Pasty Co., you can get them filled with anything from Greek chicken to veggie tikka masala.

Arman and I headed down there for lunch last week. I’d had their typical Irish and English versions (bangers and mash and the shepherd’s pie) before, and this time I wanted to try something more unusual. I ordered the Carne Adovada Pasty ($7), which is simmered pork in New Mexican red chili stew with Mexican rice, hatch chiles, and cheddar, all wrapped in a pastry. How can that not be delicious?! As good as it sounded on the menu, it actually surpassed my expectations. The large chunks of pork were so tender, you could easily cut them with a fork. The mixture of the chili, rice, and cheese was just right. As always, the pastry crust was excellent. Don’t let the chiles scare you away from this meal, it was only mildly spicy.

The service was exceptionally slow this day, and they were nice enough to give us a complementary dessert, the Strawberry Pavlova (normally $5). It has a hard meringue shell on the bottom, with whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top. It was supposed to be finished with a raspberry sauce, but apparently they had run out. It was kind of hard to eat. The meringue was really hard, yet super light, so when I cut off the first bite, I had to really press down hard with my fork and it ended up flying off the plate, into my chest, and then onto the floor. The dramatic sequence was entertaining to the foursome sitting next to us. I was a little more careful with the next attempt, and I eventually got the technique down. I’d never had a hard meringue like that, so it was very different for me, and I rather liked it. It didn’t have a lot of flavor, but it had an interesting texture, and went well with the strawberries and cream.

Cornish Pasty Co. has a very interesting menu, with plenty of different, enticing pasties to keep you coming back. I’ve only had three so far, and there are many more that I’d love to go back and try. Have a look at their online menu, and see if it doesn’t have a pasty with your name written all over it.

Note: They have a nice selection of Euro draft beer ($4-$7) as well as 18 kinds of bottled beer ($2-$7).

960 West University
(NE corner of University & Hardy, facing Hardy)
phone: (480) 894-6261
hours: M-Thu 11-10, F-Sat 11-12 (midnight), Sun 12-8

Mouthwatering photos and more reviews can be found at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 08, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Arlecchino Gelateria (Phoenix, AZ)

There weren't many people there when we went yesterday. Perhaps the best time to go is while everyone is eating lunch? We were there at about 12:30.

I'm happy that the secret is out. The Spangaro's are wonderful people, and they deserve to be well rewarded for their efforts. I hope their business becomes a raging success.

May 06, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: The Farmhouse - Gilbert, Az

I think the atmosphere is a big part of the experience at The Farmhouse. Breakfast just tastes better in a little old building like that with character. I am always pleased with the food, but I am no where near as crazy about it as my wife. She would go there every weekend if she could, lol. I find their daily specials to be consistently well prepared, as well as a decent value. You generally have to get there earlier for those though, because they always run out at some point.

May 06, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Arlecchino Gelateria (Phoenix, AZ)

I guarantee you the pomegranate at Gelato 64 doesn't taste anything like the Valentino at Arlecchino.

Here's the link to the New Times article again: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2007-0...

May 06, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Dooby's Grill Cafe - Mesa, AZ (w/ photos!)

Hi Seth,

I really enjoy Dooby's. It's not often that you get the chance to sit Indian-style on a little pillow with your sandals off in a restaurant, lol. I really appreciate that part of it. The service can be slow, but people go there for a social experience. They want you to come in and stay for two or three hours if you like. They are very laid back, obviously, and now that the place is getting popular, people are coming in wanting a quick dining experience and that's just not what Dooby's is about.

I do think the food is quite good. I have had the Chicken Schwarma there, and I loved it. I also love their lentil soup.

May 06, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Arlecchino Gelateria (Phoenix, AZ)

Yep, pomegranate, and it was amazingly good. I've never tasted anything like it. It had something else mixed in with it too, you'll have to ask what it is when you go.

May 06, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Arlecchino Gelateria (Phoenix, AZ)

Rating: ★★★★★

As many of you know, Michele Laudig of the Phoenix New Times wrote an excellent article this week on Arlecchino Gelateria; it’s a must read. After reading the article myself, I immediately planned a visit to Arlecchino with my wife.

The shop is very quaint, with only a few stools to sit on and room for maybe ten people inside. The gelato immediately struck me as having a natural appearance. Other gelaterias that I’ve been to locally have really intense colors that look artificial. I ordered one of Arlecchino’s special creations, the Coppa Tre Cime ($9, above), which is chocolate, coffee, and pistachio gelato topped with roasted pine nuts, espresso, and shaved chocolate. It was purely a work of art in preparation and presentation. The chocolate and coffee gelatos had bold, exquisite flavors. The pistachio was more mild, but delicious nonetheless. The shaved chocolate, pine nuts, and espresso were all excellent quality. What a wonderful creation it was. The owner, Moreno, explained to me how he had used three different types of pistachios from Sicily, which he claims are the best that can be found. The chocolate is an elaborate mix of numerous types of premium dark chocolates, which is prepared daily by Moreno himself, as is every last bit of gelato at Arlecchino. In fact, his wife, Marina mentioned that her husband had not had a day off since they opened their shop nearly two years ago. Only he knows these precious recipes!

My wife got the Coppa Arlecchino ($7, above), which is three fruit flavors with Amarini Fabri, a wild cherry sauce. She chose Valentino, Mystico, and Cortina. The Valentino was a new creation of Moreno’s. It was pomegranate along with a couple other rare berries. It had an intense, tart flavor, but was well balanced with the sweetness. The wild cherry topping was extremely good. I didn’t get to try the other two flavors.

I’m no gelato aficionado, but I have visited various parts of Italy and tried some famous gelaterias there. I don’t know enough about gelato to say if Arlecchino’s is world-class or not, but it was easily the best gelato I’ve ever tasted. We’re very fortunate to have such a passionate chef preparing gelato for us here in the valley. Even though it’s a 30 minute drive, I will be returning regularly.

Note: The parking is a bit of a situation in this area. More than likely you’ll have to park on a side street and walk a little ways.

4410 N. 40th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85018
phone: (602) 955-2448
email: contact@arlecchinogelateria.com
hours: M-Thu 3-10, F-Sat 11:30 -10:30, Sun 11:30-10

View photos and read more Phoenix restaurant reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 05, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Review: Santiago's Mexican Restaurant (Bisbee, AZ)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I liked Santiago’s from the moment I walked inside. The restaurant is full of life with it’s rich mixture of colors and textures. We ordered a couple horchatas, and wow were they good. They kept refilling them for free too, which is unusual. All told, I downed four large glasses of horchata.

The chips and salsa were excellent. The salsa was extremely fresh and quite mild, which was good because you could really take big scoops of it with the chips. While we were enjoying our chips and horchata, we struck up some conversation with the staff, who were all very friendly. We learned that Santiago’s had only been in business for about a year and apparently all the previous occupants had been unsuccessful at this location. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with many businesses in Bisbee.

My wife’s order came out first. What a beauty! She got La Familia ($11), which is two Rocky Point fish tacos, and one Chilorio orange marinated beef taco with choice of two sides, in this case southwestern corn and rice. She loved the fish tacos, especially their wonderful, creamy sauce. She felt the fish tacos were far superior to the beef taco, which was a bit dry.

The waitress had recommended that I try the Enchilada Suiza ($11), so I followed her advice. The dish had three enchiladas with tomatillo sauce, onions, and Oaxacan cheese, served on a skillet. It’s not the type of dish I would typically order, but I thought I’d try something new. I’m really not big on tomatillo, with its sour taste, so I probably made a mistake in ordering it. Everything else about the dish was very good, it’s just a matter of personal taste with the sauce. I especially enjoyed the beans and corn. They were not your typical offering. The refried beans had a unique red chile flavor, and I believe they also mixed in some corn masa for added flavor and texture. It made for a distinct southwestern flavor, which I really enjoyed. The corn was prepared with diced up green chiles and onions, which gave it a southwestern flavor as well.

Even though we were stuffed at this point, my wife was craving sopapillas, and it turned out they serve them ($5), so we decided to gorge ourselves some more! The sopapillas were perfect. They were golden brown and piping hot with honey drizzled all over them and finished with a generous coating of powdered sugar. Mmm, mmm good.

We had a really good experience at Santiago’s. The food, the atmosphere, and the service were all memorable. I hope they stick around, because it’s one of the best places to eat in Bisbee.

1 Howell Ave.
Bisbee, AZ 85603
phone: (520) 432-1910
hours: 11-9 Sun-Thu, 11-10 Fri & Sat

View photos and read more Phoenix restaurant reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 04, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Tempe, AZ Mini-reviews: Med Fresh Grill and Phoenicia Cafe

I like Phoenicia Cafe. I especially like dining on the patio of the Tempe location--it's not all that comfortable, but it's got character. The Gilbert location is more modern looking, but the food is the same quality. I believe the owner actually works out of the Gilbert location more often than Tempe.

May 04, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: Olde Tymers Restaurant (Bisbee, AZ)

Rating: ★ ★

I had already been warned by one of the locals in Bisbee that Olde Tymers wasn’t very good, but it was late and many places were already closed, so we went against our better judgment and ate there anyway. They serve mostly Cajun and Mexican dishes. The place has a bit of a biker bar feel, but it’s pretty low-key. Families are certainly welcome. It was a Friday night when we went, and they had a little duo playing live jazz, albeit very amateur.

I ordered nachos ($6), but forgot to ask for ground beef. When the order came out, I was of course disappointed in myself as well as the waitress for not asking me if I wanted to add any meat. I don’t know if the beef would have helped any, because the nachos were pretty bad. The jalapenos, lettuce and tomatoes were all fresh, but the dish was very dry. What it was really missing was a bunch of creamy cheese poured all over it.

My wife got a grilled chicken sandwich with fries ($8). The sandwich looked really dry and bland. The fries were made from fresh-cut potatoes, which was good, but they weren’t hot and they lacked seasoning. She ate most of her food, but wasn’t at all excited about it.

The service was quite friendly, but when it came time to pay the bill, the waitress dropped the ball on us. It took at least 20 minutes for her to get our card charged so we could leave. I really didn’t mind the wait though, as we were chatting and listening to the music.

There are only a handful of good restaurants in Bisbee, and Olde Tymers isn’t one of them. If, however, you just looking to grab a beer and listen to a little music, it might not be a bad choice.

202 Tombstone Canyon
Bisbee, AZ 85603
phone: (520) 432-7304

View photos and read more Phoenix restaurant reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

May 03, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Kartchner Caverns/Benson AZ outing

l just went to Kartchner last weekend--what a great experience! Regarding restaurants, I didn't see anything of interest in Benson or the surrounding area. If you are heading further down to Bisbee, I can offer some recommendations for that area.

May 02, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Mesa, AZ Mini-reviews: Asian Cafe Express and Grill El Quetzal

Very interesting, I had no idea we had a Guatemalan restaurant so close, I'm going to have to try them out in the near future.

I like your blog; keep up the good work. :)

May 01, 2007
jasonaz in Phoenix

Where to eat in Tucson?

In case you happen to be interested in Latino food other than Mexican, they have a little Cuban restaurant just south of the UofA football stadium called El Cubanito. It's a little hole-in-the-wall that doesn't look like much from the outside, but the food is very good.

May 01, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest

Review: The Bisbee Grille (Bisbee, AZ)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My wife and I went to the old Arizona mining town of Bisbee for her birthday last week. After our debacle at Agua Prieta, she suggested we go out for a nice dinner to get our little vacation back on track. Cafe Roka is the most revered restaurant in Bisbee, but they require reservations, so we went with option #2–The Bisbee Grille.

The interior of the restaurant is very attractive. They’ve used dark woods, brick, and copper as well as intimate lighting to create a warm setting that reflects Bisbee’s past. The two dining rooms are creatively divided with huge tempered glass plates that have etched photos of old Bisbee.

After we ordered, we were served a freshly baked loaf of wheat bread, which was a nice start to the meal. Shortly thereafter, they brought out my wife’s salad and my vegetable beef soup. The salad looked great. All the vegetables were crisp and had good color. My soup was awesome. It was hearty and so rich in flavor that it could only be enjoyed in small quantities. The small cup they gave me was the perfect amount. It was probably the best vegetable beef soup I’ve ever eaten.

Next came the main event. My wife ordered the Cowboy Steak ($20) which was a 10 oz. cut of ribeye served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. She really enjoyed the steak. She prefers this type of steak because it has more marbling, which gives it more flavor. I tried a bite and it was a little fatty for me, but I always prefer the leanest of cuts. It chewed quite easily though; it wasn’t tough. The vegetables were very good. They had been steamed and then lightly sauteed in butter. They were soft, but not soggy, and had a slightly sweet flavor.

I love creamy pasta dishes, so I had to try the Diablo Chipotle Pasta ($15). It was bowtie pasta with chicken breast, red and green sweet peppers, and onion, all smothered in a heavy chipotle cream sauce and topped generously with fresh romano cheese. It was oh so good, and oh so hot! It was one of those dishes that’s so good that you get lost in it and forget about everything else. It’s just you and the food. It turned out to be too hot for me though. I had gone through about 32 oz. of water and I was only halfway done with the dish. I started getting a tingling sensation in the back of my throat and I thought I was going to start coughing, so I threw in the towel; I had been defeated by the Diablo!

The service had been very good up to this point, but after the entrees were served our waiter went AWOL on us. It got to be a little frustrating. When we finally flagged him down, we ordered a Creme Brulee ($4) to cap things off. The presentation was straightforward, but it was very good. We probably should have ordered two, because we ended up fighting with our spoons for the last bit of custard.

Aside from the lack of service toward the end of the evening, it was a very good experience at The Bisbee Grille. I’ve read several other accounts of bad service here, so that seems to be their biggest downfall. Regardless, I look forward to visiting them again someday.

2 Copper Queen Plaza
Bisbee, AZ 85603
phone: (520) 432-6788
fax: (520) 432-7930
hours: 11-9 (closed Tuesdays)

View photos and read more Phoenix restaurant reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

Apr 30, 2007
jasonaz in Southwest