Friday, November 8, 2013

Phoenix City Grille; A Review

By Leah Bieszczad

Srirachi- honey glazed baby back ribs with toasted sesame seeds, Oaxacan Chile- Maple Brined Pork with roasted butternut squash and croissant bread pudding bites with a whiskey lime sauce. I start with the food frankly, because when the food isn’t good, the rest is moot. Luckily, when I tasted the new fall menu for the Phoenix City Grille, I knew immediately that I had waited too long give this place a try

I recently had an opportunity to sample portions of the new menu, tour the renovated restaurant and visit with the soft spoken, but gracious and impassioned owner Sheldon. Sheldon and I spoke at length about his history in the restaurant business, his passion for sourcing his ingredients as local as possible and the expansion of the neighborhood. The surrounding area has grown so much that parking had become an issue; so Phoenix City Grille added additional parking behind the restaurant with beautiful iron work marking the back entrance.

 In conjunction with the updates to the structure, the front of the house had numerous rejuvenations as well, including a new wine wall, artwork and bar top. Luckily it kept the welcoming, neighborhood tavern vibe the regulars have come to love. With food sourced from McClendon's, Black Mesa Ranch, Schreiner's Sausage, and MJ Bakery, Phoenix City Grille provides us locavores one more great option.

Our meal started with a beautiful spread of assorted cheeses, bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with cotija cheese, homemade hummus, and a variety of salsa and fresh corn tortillas chips. All were tasty and the perfect start to a meal, but the highlights were the Srirachi- honey glazed baby back ribs with toasted sesame seeds and the kale yogurt spread. The ribs had a kick of heat and a smoky taste that was so good they were still being discussed during dessert. I am still unclear on how the kale yogurt spread would be used on the everyday menu, but frankly I don’t care. I would eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon. It was unique, refreshing and addicting.

We also sampled the Oaxacan Chile- Maple Brined Pork with roasted butternut squash, Shreiner’s smoked Andouille sausage and pickled red cabbage; all drizzled with a natural cider reduction. This melding of flavors is what I consider relish of fall. I ate every bite. The pickled cabbage was bright, tart and savory and went really well with the meat.

The last two tastes were of the braised short ribs (a main course on the new menu) and the eggplant. The short ribs were served with horseradish mashed potatoes, smoked bacon- cabernet sauce, crispy parsnips and roasted baby carrots; it was good but not a preferred menu choice of mine.

What I did love was the panko crusted organic eggplant with jalapeno jam, arugula, Fresno Chile relish and Black Mesa goat cheese. The crispy, saltiness of the panko crust melded with the meatiness of the eggplant, sweetness of the jalapeno jam and the creamy Black Mesa goat cheese. Top all this with a balsamic reduction and it was heavenly. This dish alone will guarantee my return.

We ended our tasting with the croissant bread pudding bites laden with a whiskey lime sauce and adorned with caramel. Many restaurants, outside the Big Easy, serve bread pudding but few actually are successful at it. Phoenix City Grille is one of the few. The bread pudding was rich, moist, and decadent and there is a small chance I stole an additional bite or two from my neighbor’s plate when she looked away.

If you are not smart enough to be a regular at Phoenix City Grille or if it's that place you always meant to try but haven't, I would recommend you make your way there. The fall menu is delicious; the atmosphere is welcoming, the food presentation is elegant and please say hello to Sheldon for me.

Phoenix City Grille
5816 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
phone: 602-266-3001

No comments:

Post a Comment