A Taste of Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

A Taste of Scottsdale: Beyond Southwestern Cuisine

By Marla Cimini

Global Living – Issue 7 | June/July/August 2013

In recent years, Scottsdale, Arizona has evolved into a true U.S. foodie destination. With hundreds of restaurants springing up, all featuring an array of creative and innovative menu offerings, this town is full of flavorful surprises at every turn.

In fact, Scottsdale celebrates food annually at their culinary festival every April. Attracting enthusiasts from near and far for a variety of events throughout several days, the festival hosts activities like the ‘Great Arizona Picnic’ that features specialties from just about every restaurant in town. Attendees can also enjoy special wine tastings, and exclusive chef tasting dinners at select bistros, cafes and restaurants throughout the area.

Although one would have to pack up and permanently move to Scottsdale to experience all of the various eating establishments worth trying, it’s still exciting to visit and explore a few of the diverse culinary offerings. Some restaurants are outstanding, with talented chefs dedicated to producing increasingly rave-worthy fare – from Southwestern cuisine and beyond.

Elements at the Sanctuary Resort

Elements, an award-winning establishment situated a few miles from downtown, offers farm-fresh American cuisine with an Asian flair that perfectly complements the dramatic views of its Camelback mountain locale.

Executive Chef Beau MacMillan’s attention to detail has brought the restaurant critical acclaim, as this Iron Chef (and Food Network Star) creates innovative fare that draws crowds from many places to sample his organic menu that focuses on sustainability. A few favorite menu items include: ahi tuna tower (with avocado, shoyo onions and roasted peppers); lobster pork dumplings; double bone pork chop (shishito peppers, garlic chips and lime molasses glaze); and quinoa and eggplant fritters.

Located in the exquisite Sanctuary resort and spa, with its private casitas nestled in the mountains, Elements’ al fresco dining and stellar five-star service is an ideal match for a tranquil desert sunset meal. And a dinner at Elements is a perfect ending to a day spent enjoying the resort’s equally impressive spa.

Adjacent to Elements restaurant is the Jade bar, a gorgeous patio area complete with cozy couches and a blazing fire pit on chilly evenings. With amicable bartenders who take pride in their professionally-crafted cocktails, Jade provides a relaxing atmosphere for travelers and locals who appreciate a libation made with meticulous care. In addition to its impressive wine list, some homemade cocktail standouts include the Grapefruit Basil, Blueberry Tarragon Sour, and Eastern Raspberry Sidecar – all made with fresh juices, of course. On my recent visit, the bar patrons were involved in a fun and lively debate about the importance of the shape of ice cubes in certain mixed drinks…now that’s a group who is serious about their cocktails.

Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale

Just a few miles away in the heart of Old Town, the W Scottsdale offers a hip, urban escape with stunningly designed rooms and suites. Glamorous and chic, this hotel’s Sushi Roku restaurant is a cavernous spectacle of modern, high design, offering a sublime sushi experience, with an authentic Japanese menu created to impress foodies of all kinds.

While Sushi Roku is a stylish, ‘see and be seen’ experience, and the ambient rock music provided a great mix of tempo and tone while dining, the friendly service and sumptuous dishes were the stars of the show, with the menu featuring the highest quality sushi and sashimi, prime steaks, specialty appetizers, and an extensive selection of hot entrees. The freshest ingredients are flown in daily, creating a menu that includes signature specialties like the Colorado lamb chops marinated in soy garlic, or spicy jumbo pan-fried shrimp. The full-service bar features a large selection of hot and cold sakes, special Asian martinis, and an extensive wine list.

In addition to standard sushi, and a wide assortment of creative sushi rolls, the menu features tempting offerings. Delicate and delightful, the tuna sashimi carpaccio, along with the octopus sashimi (Kyoto style) are fan favorites. Other popular menu items include the Chilean seabass with truffle miso glaze and premium wagyu Japanese beef ‘Toban-yaki.’

With a spacious sushi bar situated in the center of the restaurant, guests can view the professional sushi-making artistry, as all orders are freshly prepared. To experience the best of Sushi Roko, the restaurant also offers a signature ‘Omakase’ dinner, a multi-course artistic presentation of rolls, sashimi and other favorites created by the skilled chefs.

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