Instead of frittering away quarters at the arcade like most boys his age, Dean Laplant began learning his trade at age 13 by working the grill at his parents' steak house. He went on to open his own steak house in Wisconsin at the young age of 28, and later moved to Chandler to start DC Steak House, where he channels his years of experience into effortlessly preparing a menu of fine steaks, seafood, and chops.
Dean's wife, Lori, adorned the dining-room walls of DC Steak House's 100-year-old building in vivid murals that depict the local area's rich history. These elegant murals, along with soft hanging lights and white tablecloths, create a dining atmosphere more comfortable than a sofa stuffed with cotton candy. Patrons exit the restaurant into Chandler's bustling downtown square filled with shops and home to a variety of seasonal festivals.
The chefs at Baja Joe's Mexican Cantina prepare seafood in the style of Sinaloa, a region of northwestern Mexico that flanks the Pacific Ocean. That coastal influence is especially evident in dishes such as the campechana especial?a medley of scallops, oysters, octopus, and shrimp served inside of a coconut shell?or whole red snapper, cooked with white wine, olives, and bay leaves and served by Poseidon at the end of a trident. Chefs also grill traditional Mexican combinations of carnitas, steak, and chicken, in addition to preparing veggie dishes. The cantina's 1,200-square-foot patio makes an ideal setting to sip a specialty margarita, such as the La Pinta, mixed with pomegranate-infused tequila, while their newly expanded 2,600-square-foot sports cantina boasts eleven flat-screen televisions, pool tables, darts, music, live music and karaoke nights, and more.
Lauded as "Tucson's most celebrated chef" by the New York Times, and the Best Chef in the Southwest by the James Beard Foundation, Chef Janos Wilder has been perfecting his craft for more than 40 years, as evidenced by the simple, elegant cuisine at his latest venture, DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails. After cooking his way through high school and college, Wilder's travels whisked him to the mountains of Colorado, where a three-year residency as a chef at a historic inn propelled him into a lifelong appreciation of locally sourced ingredients. Sojourning to Bordeaux, France in the early ?80s, Janos worked among Michelin Guide Award?winning chefs, where he learned firsthand about French cuisine and techniques.
Returning to the States on a mission to put to his French experiences to work, Janos landed in Tucson. Quickly realizing that the local gardens produced chilies, beans, and squash, he explored ingredients such as prickly-pear cacti, mesquite flour, and Wily Coyotes native to the Southwest landscape. In 1983, his first restaurant, Janos, opened its doors, and there, Wilder pioneered a menu that fused southwestern ingredients with classic French dishes. Today, DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails employs some of those same techniques, drawing from other regions such as Asia to craft fish tacos drizzled with r?moulade, dark-chocolate-and-jalape?o ice-cream sundaes, and a host of imaginative cocktails.
Hailed by Phoenix magazine, among others, for its "mix of whimsy, talent, kitchen smarts and great service," Jax Kitchen concocts upscale comfort fare that blends the familiar with the sophisticated. The eatery?s seasonal dishes, featuring favorite foods of the owners and head chef Virginia Wooters, dress up new york strip steak with sunny-side quail eggs and load sea-scallop chowder with poblano peppers and house-made cornbread croutons. Inside the dining area, soft lighting illuminates each bite, and brick archways form the entrance to an outdoor patio area where patrons can sip cocktails and wines and inhale uninhibited amounts of oxygen.
Remaining true to its name, Eclectic Cafe introduces taste buds to an array of fresh offerings from both contemporary American and Mexican cuisines. Chefs sizzle up double havarti cheeseburgers and albacore melts alongside international dishes such as sonoran black-bean torta and the carne asada tostada. They offer gluten-free options, as well as catering services to accommodate those hosting special events or congressional summits in their home or office.
Natasha, the chef behind Kalina, prepares European and Russian specialties following recipes passed down through her family. Miniature sandwiches; sumptuous, bite-size appetizers; and elegant desserts share table space during Russian high tea. Later in the day, diners convene in the eatery's newly expanded, warmly lit dining room to savor entrees such as Siberian-style lamb dumplings and beef stroganoff. Sip cups of fragrant organic tea or bring your own bottle of wine to the BYOB eatery.
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