Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Distrito Scottsdale: High Energy; Modern Mexican

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Distrito Scottsdale: High Energy; Modern Mexican

This past weekend some friends and I dined at Distrito, located in the Saguaro Hotel, in downtown Scottsdale. Distrito goes beyond the classics and offers a more modern Mexican menu and one of the largest selections of tequila in the area.

The menu which is divided into three sections features some delicious sharing plates, a bunch of small starter options and some really innovative entrees.  In other words lots of choices to customize your meal.

Before I go any further describing our meal....I wanted to tell you that I had the pleasure that night of meeting one of the most personable chefs; Iron Chef Jose Garces.  In town for the Scottsdale Culinary festival Chef Garces was nice enough to stop by our table and chat for a few.  Definitely an honor.

We bonded instantly over Philadelphia and talked about the differences between the Distrito there and the one here in Scottsdale. We also discussed the recent changes in the Scottsdale location's decor; something that I hear has been quite controversial amongst it's loyal customers.  Garces told me it had been to kitschy and didn't fit well with the Scottsdale crowd like it does with the hipsters at Philadelphia's University City location. 

We talked a bit more about the new menu and how it took months to develop and then he had to run to his next event...but not before pausing to take a photo with me.

Now let's get back to the food. We ordered a bowl of the guacamole and crab meat (a $5 addition that I thought was well worth the money) to enjoy while we mulled over the drink menu.

Distrito is very proud of their mezcal selection, as they should be, and many of their cocktails feature various ones. Like the Mezcal Mule, which I ordered. A spin on the traditional Moscow Mule this one is made with Ilegal Joven instead of vodka. If you want to taste something really different I would suggest ordering the Fresas Ahumadas which is a blend of basil and balsamic syrup, fresh strawberries and Los Nahuales Joven.

There were so many things on the menu we all wanted to try and so many recommendations from our waiter (the staff truly love the food here) that we decided to do a bit of sampling. First up was the  Albondigas, not traditional as it's more of a thick sauce, but absolutely delicious with a nice little kick.

Next we got the Pulpa Al Carbon, this Spanish grilled octopus and it's accompanying caper Bearnaise was a hit with the group.

But my personal favorite was the wood oven quail with pistachio spuma and shaved figs. Nicely done.

From the large plate options we chose the Chile Relleno, stuffed with quinoa, kale, black beans and queso oaxaca and the pan roasted duck breast with squash puree and mole negro. Both winners.

As I mentioned above Distrito takes pride in their Mezcal so of course no dinner there would be complete without a Mezcal tasting.  I'll be honest I don't know much about Mezcal other than they tend to be much smokier than tequila and are made the old school way which is baked in the ground. Yet it was still interesting to do the tasting and learn about the differences between each one.

Distrito is a high energy restaurant, did I mention they have a DJ, that serves Mexican food with a twist.  The staff are well versed in both the food and drink and seem to enjoy sharing that knowledge with you. I had a great evening and look forward to a return visit.

Distrito Restaurant
4000 N Drinkwater Blvd  Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 970-4444

1 comment:

  1. How awesome that you got to see Chef Garces as well :) I have to visit the Distrito here in Philly soon - his resto. Amada is one of my absolute faves.