AZ Restaurant Week

/ written by Mike Passalacqua

Restaurant week—special menus, worthy causes, an excuse to eat out, as if you needed one. Metro Phoenix, fast becoming a foodie destination, features a slate of well over 100 eateries to choose from during this event. Coincidentally, the Bigfish team likes to eat and drink, and we happen to be opinionated on the topic. Several of us contributed our thoughts on restaurants you might be interested in…bon appetit!

 

Joe Pizzimenti  Beckett’s Table, Phoenix

One of my top go-to neighborhood choices, Beckett’s is family-owned and unpretentious despite offering  sophisticated, rotating, seasonal fare and one impressive wine list. Equally impressive is how friendly and knowledgeable the servers are. For casual yet fine dining, a lively yet totally relaxed atmosphere, and possibly a cocktail or two to wash it all down—chef Justin Beckett has a winning formula.

  

Jamie Williams  |  Ajo Al’s Mexican Café, Phoenix AZ

They have great chips and salsa and killer Albondigas soup! The Albondigas soup, in case you are unaware, is a Mexican meatball soup. With a thin broth and lots of veggies. Very spicy! If you’re not into soup, try the enchilada combo plate, or the fajitas. Always have left overs and the staff and service is great!

 

Lenny Passalacqua  |  Nook Kitchen, Phoenix AZ

Whenever I’m in fashionable Arcadia, I make an effort to dine at Nook Kitchen in the Gaslight Square Plaza on Indian School. It’s family friendly early, once bedtime nears a few hipsters drift in and the place starts to sport a vibe. If you don’t like vibes, go elsewhere. You can drop some coin on fairly sophisticated ‘cuisine,’ there, or do what I do: get a wood-fired pizza and a side of their sautéed haricot verts. Haricot verts are green beans, Man—do I have to tell you everything? Also, I drink wine or whatnot when I visit the Nook. It calms my nerves.

 

Alyssa Anduiza  |  The White Chocolate Grill, Phoenix AZ

I love spinach and artichoke dip and this restaurant makes my favorite one. As the name suggests, their desserts are amazing – I really like the bread pudding (sounds lame, but it’s not). As far as main courses, their rotisserie chicken is delicious. You can order it on its own, but they use it in several of their other dishes like the chicken crepes. For salad, I highly recommend the Filet Mignon Cobb Salad.

 

Amber Chutich  |  Barrio Queen, Scottsdale AZ

This place sits right in Old Town near some great shopping. It has a small patio that is perfect for people watching. 2 of my favorite menu items are their Barrio Guacamole and their Jalapeno Margarita! They prepare the guacamole table-side which adds an entertainment aspect to the meal. The addition of pomegranate seeds to the already fresh and tasty guac  mix was a delicious surprise. As for the jalapeno margarita … man oh man! They use a top shelf tequila and infuse it with fresh jalapenos in house. They add agave nectar and fresh lime juice which balances all that heat. It is light, refreshing and spicy! I would recommend this place for happy hour, date night or even just a place to relax on a nice summer Saturday.

 

Sebastian CA  |  Fogo de Chão, Phoenix AZ

If you’re looking for a torrent of endless, ­cooked-to-order meat, then Fogo de Chão is your place. This Brazilian Steakhouse offers a decent variety of cuts served straight to your table. The whole meat-centered experience comes packaged within a nifty bit of theater: Servers in Portuguese costume sway from table to table delivering orders, after being summoned via a table card. Once you’re done, flip the card and they stop swinging around your table. My favorite cut: Picanha (the prime part of top sirloin). Of course, they offer other sirloin cuts, tenderloin, ribeye, sausages, and chicken as well. Their key lime pie was delicious, if somehow you save room for dessert.