FINE DINING REVIEWS
SR RATED RESTAURANTS & DINING ESTABLISHMENTS
Ocean Club - April 28th, 2021:
Mastro's Ocean Club is another of the fine dining establishments by Mastro's. Ocean Club is located in the heart of N. Scottsdale (Kierleand Commons to be exact). You'll get the upscale feel the minute you step through the doors. The ambiance is luxurious and rich for certain. On any given evening the bar is a place to see and be seen with all the pretty people out-and-about! Ocean Club promises great food and a good times weather your on a date or out with family and friends!
Ocean Club is not unlike many of the steakhouses scattered throughout the Scottsdale area. They offer the finest of steaks, seafood, and so much more. The dining/bar experience began with an extremely attentive wait staff who seem to pride themselves on exceptional service - and that they did!
I started the experience with my signature cocktail; a perfectly mixed tequila cocktail consisting of a refreshing blanco tequila (Casa Amigos is one of my favorites, and moderately priced) with a splash of soda, muddled jalapeno, and a squeeze of lime, served on the rocks with a perfectly salted rim. Ocean Club's bartender did a splendid job with this cocktail and I was very pleased!
I kicked-off my dining experience started with an order of Sauteed Sea Scallops and I was glad I did. These babies were succulent and filled with all the flavor you'd expect! They were fabulous and definitely come with my recommendation. Along with the Scallops I tried the Seared Bigeye Tuna and this too was simply amazing!
For my main course I selected two entrees. First, the Petite 6oz. Fillet, which as expected was absolutely perfect, cooked medium and served on a 500 degree plate! Fabulous - juicy and flavorful! In addition to my filet, I selected the Blackened Swordfish, and much to my surprise was one of the best I've ever tasted! By the way, I'm a connoisseur of Swordfish and this little guy did not disappoint, melt-in-your-mouth perfect with just the right amount of blackening so as not to overtake the flavor of the fish! Both the Fillet and the Swordfish were cooked to perfection and far exceeded any expectations I may have had prior. For the sides I selected the Brussels Sprouts, which off the charts, excellent (you must add the bacon to these little delights)! I also that made these suckers taste absolutely heavenly!
Mastro's Ocean Club is definitely a cut above, offering a fairly expansive menu with many of your favorites. Sit at the bar of a cozy table in the dining room or patio. You're guaranteed a wonderful experience of sights, sounds and most importantly flavors! The food at Ocean Club was flavorful and quite satisfying, which is what you'd expect at a restaurant of this caliber (bring your checkbook, Ocean Club is definitely on the pricey side) . Ocean Club is fine dining in Scottsdale and is one of my top recommendations! The exceptional fare, tasty cocktails and rich ambiance makes Ocean Club a top pick of Scottsdale Road, and highly recommended.
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies! Mastro's Ocean Club - IT'S HOT!
Bourbon & Bones Restaurant - March 10th, 2021:
Bourbon & Bones combines two of my favorite things (Bourbon & Steak). With their bourbon/whiskey list surpassing 500 options, the bourbon/whiskey connoisseur is certain to find his/her happy place! I know I did. The atmosphere is upscale with a twist of rustic, it's open and airy and very comfortable. The bar is a place to see and be seen. GOOD TIMES are to be had at Bourbon & Bones, and it's located smack-dab in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale!
Bourbon & Bones will undoubtedly make our "TOP 10" list this year as it is a top choice in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. I'm not going to lie here, the host/hostess could probably been a little friendlier upon arrival. That said, after being seated at a very comfortable table, my sumptuous experience began with a friendly greeting from my expert waiter, Clint (yes, as in Eastwood). Clint was a professional through and through, which helped contribute to my exceptional meal/experience!
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again; "to begin an amazing meal, you must start with an amazing bourbon" and Bourbon & Bones definitely fits the bill. As has been the case so many times prior, I requested the Weller Antique 107. It is a wonderful choice, a wheated bourbon with an exceptional, smooth taste with a lovely burnt orange color, and as usual, I was not disappointed!
My dining experience started with a dozen Oysters on the half shell; half east-coast and half west-coast. They were fabulous and I would highly recommend them. Along with the oysters I opted for an order of the Pork Belly. This little dish was off the charts amazing as it was glazed with a tasty Thai Chili Glaze which was nothing short of fantastic and another recommended item for certain.
For the main course, at Clint's recommendation, I selected the Wagyu Steak (butcher's cut), cooked medium (perfect). This piece of meat was absolutely extraordinary as it was juicy, and packed with flavor! In addition to the steak, I selected the Seared Ahi Tuna, which also exploded with flavor and more than satisfied. Both the Wagyu and the Ahi Tuna were cooked to perfection and far exceeded my expectations. For my side I opted for the Brussels Sprouts, which may very well have been the best I've ever eaten. I'm certain it was the bourbon glaze that made these suckers taste absolutely heavenly!
Now for dessert! If you didn't already know it, I'm a sweet-a-holic, so as wonderful as all that came before, it was now time for the grand finale. With so many choices, It was difficult selecting a favorite. But, in the end, the Bourbon Butter Cake was the one that won me over. WOW, this thing was euphoric and made me remember what true love is! The Bourbon Butter Cake is, a MUST TRY! Trust me on this one. . .
Bourbon & Bones offers one of the most impressive and expansive selections of bourbon/whiskey anywhere in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. If the bourbon isn't enough to win you over, the food certainly will. The food, from appetizer to dessert made for one of my more enjoyable meals of 2021 (that's saying a lot). Bourbon & Bones is fine dining in the valley and is a definite recommendation from me to you! From my waiter (Clint) to the bourbon selection, to the absolutely exceptional fare, Bourbon & Bones is a top pick of Scottsdale Road and comes highly recommended.
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies! Bourbon & Bones - IT'S HOT!
Binkley's Restaurant - February 5th, 2021:
We are elated to provide our subscribers and visitors truly unique dining choices in and around the Scottsdale area, and Binkley's Restaurant, located in central Phoenix, is another exceptional dining experience waiting to be enjoyed! If your desire is out-of-the-ordinary dining, prepare yourself to be dazzled! Binkley's is an exceptional dining experience, with the emphasis on "Exceptional Experience." If this piques your interest you'll want to read on.
Binkley's Restaurant is not only a top pick in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area but it is an experience that's so out of the ordinary you may think you're dreaming! My dining excursion began with a look over the 19 course offering, that's right, I said 19 course!
First, no dining experience is complete unless an adequate (unfortunately, we're often forced to settle for adequate) staff is on-hand to serve. Well, you'll be happy to know, the Binkley's wait staff was so much more than adequate! Not only did they do a great job of tending to my needs, each one of them (of which there were at least five) provided expert knowledge of each of the 19 courses, while paring them perfectly with wonderful wine and/or cocktail selections. What makes Binkley's so unique is that every person in the place is there with the sole purpose of answering questions and enhancing the dining experience. Wow, now that's different!
Next, I'll detail my "total dining experience." With 19 courses I've got a lot to cover so buckle-up, here we go!
Here's the menue Chef Binkley prepared the eveing of my visit:
Green Apple Sparkling Cocktail - with ginger beer and prosecco - both tasty and refreshing.
Buttered Radishes (sourced locally) with whipped butter - these radishes were not your ordinary radishes as they had a very unique, mild radish flavor.
Sweet & Sour Charred Octopus - definitely one of my favorites of the evening as it was prepared to perfection. Charred on the outside with a glaze that can only be described as heavenly.
Soup & Sandwich - a butternut squash and cinnamon cappuccino with a pecan and apple butter cream slider on the side. The presentation was exemplary as it was served on a small platter with the soup in a small cappuccino cup! So tasty the perfect prelude of things to come.
Binchotan Seared Confit Sweet Onion - prepared with persommon, chervil, and a pomegranate vinegrette. The combination of the Bichotan charcoal and the Confit cooking method produced a flavor sensation that cannot be described with mere words. Packed with abundant flavor - love the Sweet Onion!
Steelhead Tartare Taco - the fish was prepared with chive, and lime aioli. Definitely not your average taco but as I came to expect, packed with flavor!
Smoked Gougere - with aged Comte fondue. This light puff pastry was only about the side of a quarter, but more than a mouthful of flavor.
Bacon & Egg Vol-au-Vent - a paprika egg yolk and bacon. Bacon is never a bad idea and this little delight did not disappoint. The presentation was again memorable as the puff pastry acted as a small container (Vol-au-Vent) for the egg yolk and bacon. Remember, I mentioned the "experience" in my opening - well, here is just one of many fine examples of that.
Cider Glazed Andouille Sausage - with green onion. Wow, as a meat lover, I don't know if I've ever tasted a piece of sausage with this much flavor. This was another of my favorites - I'm certain it was the cider glaze that put this little sausage delight over the top, and at the top of my favorites list!
Time for a little break as I'm just getting to the half way point of my extraordinary experience. . .
Snacks - not your average snacks by any stretch of the imagination. This trove of snacks included a caviar with creme fraiche on a salt and vinegar huckelberry gold potato chip. The buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt combination created an interesting and memorable flavor atop the potato chip. Even if you're not a fan of caviar, you must try this. I think it just might change your mind. This course was also served with a selection of flavorful pickles, thinly sliced ham, and pineapple.
Orange Shot - this amazing beverage (navel & blood orange) was presented in shot-sized flutes, topped table-side with a delightful citrus bubble. I was instructed to pop the bubble with my nose and shoot it down. Again, what an experience!
I was having a great deal of fun as, interacting with the staff and more imporantly the meal, and the best part of it all, there was much more to come!
Nantucket Bay Scallops - this dish, with a pronounced Asian flare, was prepared with tangerine, avacado, myoga (Japanese ginger), quince, gochugaru (to add a little spicy kick), ponzu, and lemon oil. This was yet another one of my favorites. As the saying goes; so much flavor and so little time. Well at least I think that's how the saying goes!
Black Truffle Tuna - served with water chestnuts, celery, and a black truffle pear vinaigrette. This piece of rare, sushi grade tuna was an explosion of flavor in my mouth and definitely another one at the top of my favorite list!
POG Soda - a passion fruit tripical juice drink, refreshing, and laden with flavor.
Seared Foie Gras - some may not be big Foie Gras fans, of which I am one. That said, this Foie Gras was absolutely delightful. So much flavor and the sugar rush peach pepper jelly served atop a brioche toast combined not only the unique flavors of the Foie Gras but the texture of the toast. I'm now a fan!
Deep Fried Pork Belly - I know I sound like a broken record, but the pork belly served with a mustard caramel and coleslaw sorbet is just another example of the creativity and master chef techniques of Chef Binkley. You'll absolutely love it.
Duck Breast au Poivre - if you've never tried duck or didn't like duck previously, you'll like this dish, and if you already like duck, you'll fall in love all over again. The duck was served with a cherry chimichurri and accompanied by several Brussels sprouts. Definitely a must-have on your visit to Binkley's.
Meyer Lemon Infusion - a combination of lavender, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, hibiscus, fennel, anise, coriander and lime. This beverage was presented in a two-chamber simmering pot (I'm sure that's not the technical term for it but you get the idea) which consisted of two glass spheres (one atop the other). The flame beneath the lower chamber, after reaching boiling point (212 degrees for those keeping track), ascended into the upper glass sphere where the scolding water mixed with the combination of ingredients making a magnificent concoction. When the flame was removed, the hot liquid descended back into the lower chamber/sphere creating an amazing tea-like after dinner alixir. A+ for both presentation and flavor. This has to be a signature for Binkley's.
Now for the grand finale!
Flash Frozen Banana Split - A small, flash frozen slice of banana coated in a chocolate sauce, topped with a combination of strawberry and vanilla ice-cream pellets (a la Dippin'Dots). The servers delivered this sweet treat to the table in grand fashion, as they poured liquid nitrogen into small sterling vases creating a vanilla fog which engrossed the entire table. Wow, what a finish! By the way, it was packed with all the decadent flavors you would expect in a classic banana split but presented in a way I've never experienced before. Bravo Chef Binkley, bravo!
I've now completed all 19 courses and I'm in a total state of incredulity, having just experienced one of my best meals ever! This meal was without doubt one of the most unique dining experiences I've ever encountered, anywhere, anytime. Coupled with truly exquisite food and expert service, I'd say it was a meal I won't soon forget. Unfortunately, when I got up from the table and made my way to the exit, I felt as if I had lost a best friend. . . Even more reason to go back again soon!
While this was a truly unique dining experience, a more than two hour spectacle, it comes at a price. Be prepared, as you will probably drop at least $225/person, and you absolutely must make a reservation as seating is limited. That said, It's well worth the price of admission and I highly recommend Binkley's Restaurant!
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies! Binkley's Restaurant - IT'S HOT!
Steak 44 Restaurant - January 28th, 2021:
Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again, Scottsdale/Phoenix has some of the best restaurants in the country! If your desire is fine dining with a flare, you'll want to read what's to come. . .
Steak 44 is without a doubt a top pick in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and will undoubtedly make our "TOP 10" list for 2021. This wonderful dining experience began with a friendly greeting from the Steak 44 hostess, and it just got better from there. After being seated in a cozy booth with a view of the trendy, upscale bar area, the staff began their "first class" service for what would turn out to be a truly memorable dining experience. Special thanks to Joshua for his impeccable service and General Manager Rob for insuring my experience was the best it could be!
They say that to begin an amazing meal, you must start with an amazing bourbon (well at least I say that). The waiter suggested a unique and amazing Weller Antique 107, and I must say, it was like drinking from the fountain of youth, and drink I did!
My dining experience started with an order of the Kaluga Royal Amber Caviar and it was exactly what I expected, a taste explosion from the first bite - excellent and was as wonderful as I have ever tasted. Next, I opted for the traditional Caesar salad which was good but if I had to find one weakness in this truly amazing meal it would be the Caesar salad. I rate the Caesar salad as average. Joshua (my wonderful waiter) suggested the Stone Crab Claws, which I've always found to be a delectable addition to any meal. My gold standard for comparison is that of the famous Joe's Stone Crabs, of Miami Beach, FL. While these stone crabs were luscious and I very much enjoyed them, they were difficult to get into and definitely not Joe's Stone Crabs. Nonetheless, I would recommend them to any seafood lover.
For the main course! At Joshua's recommendation, I selected the Wagyu Filet (butcher's cut), cooked medium (perfect). Let me tell you, this filet was nothing short of the best filet I've ever tasted! It was succulent, juicy, and flavorful with every bite! It was cooked to perfection and served on a 500 degree plate. Truly a cut of heaven. For my sides I opted for the traditional Whipped Potatoes and an order of the Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with sea salt and crispy bacon) both of which were out of this world and highly recommended. Served with dinner was an absolutely magnificent bottle of Biondi-Santi, vintage 2012. This red proved to be the perfect pairing for what was the perfect filet, and I could not think of better wine to compliment this meal.
For my after dinner drinking pleasure a bottle of the Dom Perignon Rose, vintage 2006, was in order and it made me a truly happy man! While the Dom Perignon was a little pricey, it was well worth it!
What culinary experience would be complete without something from the dessert menu? Answer: NONE. That said, I selected the Beignets, which are served warm and displayed on a silver tree (stand). They were indeed tasty and the perfect ending to the nearly perfect meal.
Steak 44 offers one of the most impressive selections of Prime steaks and chops anywhere in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, and is certainly considered one of the area's finest dining establishments. From start to finish I knew I was dining in one of the finest restaurants the valley has to offer - Steak 44 did not disappoint. With a professional staff, fine wine, top-shelf spirits, and most importantly exceptional cuisine, Steak 44 is a top pick of Scottsdale Road and comes highly recommended.
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies! Steak 44 - IT'S HOT!
Eddie V's Restaurant - December 18th, 2020:
I begin this review by saying this was my best total dining experience yet! Eddie V's Restaurant is definitely a top pick in the Scottsdale Quarter and all of Scottsdale for that matter. The "total dining experience" begins with Eddie V's warm, inviting and non-pretentious atmosphere (truly a cut above). Next, the staff is second-to-none from the moment you walk through the doors. The hostesses, wait staff and management ensured my dining experience would be unforgettable and they did not disappoint!
Now, let's get into the wonderful fare at Eddie V's. I began my culinary endeavor with a couple selections from the appetizer menu. First, the Lobster Tacos were fantastic, full of flavor, a little spice, and packed with lobster - a must try. Second, the Crab-Cake; the Crab-Cake was arguably the best we've ever had - yes, the best! If crab is what you crave, this one is packed with crab, packed with flavor and beyond belief. If you try nothing else, you must have the crab-cake. You will not be disappointed - guaranteed!
For the salad, the Warm Goat Cheese and Wild Mushroom salad was the perfect mix of soft, warm goat cheese and roasted mushrooms, atop a bed of arugula with a light cider vinaigrette - the perfect compliment to the appetizers and a prelude of what was yet to come.
For my entrees, the Surf & Turf and Chilean Sea Bass were recommended, and a wonderful recommendation they were. The filet was cooked to perfection, slightly charred on the outside with a warm pink center - seasoned to perfection, and so tender I could cut it with a fork! If that wasn't enough, the perfect filet was topped with two grilled colossal shrimp! Now if that doesn't get your mouth watering the Chilean Sea Bass certainly will. The Sea Bass was steamed, Hong Kong style, and served in a light soy broth - AMAZING flavor and literally melted in my mouth. Quick note: if you ever dine at a high-end restaurant and your selections aren't brought to the table on a hot dish/plate get up and walk out. They simply don't know what they're doing. Eddie V's does it right and they pay attention to every detail - every detail!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, let your server recommend a bottle of wine with which to enjoy your dining experience. Eddie V's offers one of the more impressive selections in Scottsdale and because the servers and management really know what they're doing, will recommend the perfect compliment to enjoy your steak or seafood. These folks really know what they're doing and their only focus is you.
To finish the perfect meal something sweet is always in order, and while I strongly considered the Bananas Foster Butter Cake, I opted for the selection of Fresh Seasonal Berries served with Fresh, Homemade Whipped Cream. Truly the perfect ending to the perfect meal. By the way, I observed the servers delivering the Bananas Foster Butter Cake to neighboring tables, and the presentation was awe inspiring as it is flaming table-side and filled the area with an aroma that made me want one to take home with me!
I realize you have many options, of some truly great restaurants in the Scottsdale area, but if you desire a second-to-none dining experience, Eddie V's is a must! I promise Petros, Eric, Richard and the rest of the staff at Eddie V's won't disappoint, and that's precisely why I give Eddie V's Restaurant, located in the Scottsdale Quarter my highest rating!
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies! Eddie V's - IT'S HOT!
Toca Madera Restaurant - December 10th, 2020:
Let's start this review by simply saying COOL! Toca Madera Restaurant is one of the more unique venues in all of Scottsdale. Toca is billed as a "modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine." I think that's code for awesome flavors. I had my meal served at the bar, as the bar happened to be the most lively area of the restaurant. It started with a couple of appetizers; traditional Guacamole with plantain chips. While the guacamole was wonderful and packed with the flavors you'd expect, I found the plantain chips to be a little lacking on flavor and a bit flat. I also ordered the Calamari Frito, which was served up nice and hot, and while it was very good, there was nothing that set it apart from any other calamari, but good nonetheless.
When in Rome, or Mexico as it were, I had to try some of the classics. This meal's focus was on the ever-popular taco. Let me tell you, these tacos were off the charts great! I ordered both the Chicken Tinga and the Sea Bass Ensenada Tacos and was definitely not disappointed. Both were extremely flavorful and cooked to perfection, and with a little kick to boot. The sign of a great taco, is once you've finished, you want more! These tacos get my highest recommendation for certain as I definitely wanted more! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that dinner was served with an ice-cold Pacifico Beer with salted rim and lime - absolutely perfect to accompany the meal.
Following the meal, I ordered one of Toca's signature tequila cocktails. I think the bartender called this one the "Alma Del Sol" (which translates to soul of the sun) and it was heavenly. By the way, Toca offers one of the more impressive tequila selections I ever seen - truly a sight to behold and a treat for the taste buds!
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the truly unique vibe of Toca Madera; not only was it packed with the prettiest people in Scottsdale, but it is warm and cozy with warm fires burning throughout. The atmosphere definitely gets five stars as it was all brought to life with a thumping sound that gets your heart pumping!
At the end of the day, we all know it's the people that can either make or break a restaurant and Toca's people were terrific! One of the standouts was my bartender Keefer, who was fabulous - friendly, knowledgeable and a credit to the profession! If I had a younger sister I'd send right up to Keefer's bar!
I can pretty much guarantee you won't be disappointed with Toca Madera, from it's signiture tequila cocktails, flavorful tacos, and upbeat/electric atmosphere you simply can't go wrong. Make a night of it for a special date, a family affair or time with friends!
Scottsdale Road recommends Toca Madera and we give it four stars! Cheers! Bon Appetit my fellow foodies!
Mastro's Restaurant - November 25th, 2020:
What I love about Mastro's Restaurant of N. Scottsdale; I love a good steak, therefore I love Mastro's. It's a traditional, high-end steakhouse through and through. Mastro's is fine dining for certain with flavorful cuts of beef, tasty seafood and more. I had the petite filet (medium) and a lobster tail, both of which were heavenly and cooked to perfection. The side dishes are also amazing with the Gorgonzola Mack-N-Cheese one of my favorites which rounded out my meal.
The bar offers a comfortable atmosphere with quaint seating and a wonderful selection of libations. The bar staff definitely aims to please as they work hard to create a memorable experience. Mastro's is exactly what you would expect from a high-end steakhouse on all accounts including; food, dining experience, service/servers, atmosphere, wine list and cocktails.
With Mastro's is pretty much "what you see is what you get". When we say high-end steakhouse that's exactly what we mean. Be prepared to shell-out a few bucks for this meal as it will run you about $150 or more/person depending on your wine and drink selections.
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies!
The Americano Restaurant - November 13th, 2020:
What I love about The Americano Restaurant; it's one of SR's "go-to" spots in N. Scottsdale. It's got a hip vibe, a "pretty" crowd, good food, great cocktails and great service/servers. Channel at the front greets you with a smile to get your experience started (by the way she's great and quite friendly).
For my meal; I started off with the traditional Caesar Salad, which was adequate and average at best. For my entree I ordered the Agnello Fiorentini housemade Pasta and it was quite tasty. That said, it was unfortunately served lukewarm. In my book, that's a rookie mistake and for a restaurant of this caliber that should never happen.
I followed my meal with a true classic, the Tiramisu - and it certainly did not disappoint - it was excellent and I highly recommend it!
I really like The Americano for it's location, for the personal touch the General Manager and Sommelier add, and for the friendly staff. In particular, I like the bar staff as they usually always remember what I'm drinking and usually never forget my name. How great is that, CHEERS!
All in all, The Americano is a good restaurant and bar for all of the above-mentioned reasons but with all the top-notch dining available in Scottsdale, I'm going to rate it good/above average and give it two thumbs up.
Bon Appetit my fellow foodies!