Bistro 44 anchors its dinner menu with stomach-delighting salads, sandwiches, and meaty entrees that earned the establishment Tucson Lifestyle Magazine's Silver Award for Best Bistro in 2011. Hearty greens freshen the evening dining scene, including an Asian-inspired ahi tuna salad that pairs seared rare fish with greens, carrots, wontons, and sesame-ginger dressing ($16.99). A clutch of three fish tacos clutches avocado, salsa fresca, sautéed onions, and cabbage in a tortilla with cilantro-lime sauce. Diners can opt for the pork tenderloin with fingerling potatoes ($16.50) or fortify the body for a grueling Die Hard marathon with the pepper-bacon-wrapped filet, an 8-ounce slab of certified Angus beef paired with cabernet-veal glace and garlic au gratin potatoes ($26.99). A robust kids' menu enumerates entree combinations for petite tastes, such as grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and a drink ($4.95).
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.
Dante's Fire takes its name from the tale of a fiery inferno, but for Tucson foodies, a trip to the restaurant could be downright heavenly. "This is a small plate lover's paradise," wrote one 10Best contributor of the spot's mostly tapas-style menu. Creative flavor pairings shine in dishes such as chilled corn bisque with preserved tomatoes, crab salad, and basil oil, and the charcuterie plate, which features drunken apricots and house-made bread alongside artisanal meats and cheeses. Chef Ken Foy rounds out the menu with heartier entrees such as brie-topped burgers and truffled chicken marsala.
The cocktail list here is similarly creative. Drink options range from the Tamarind Tiger, made with jalapeño tequila, tamarind syrup, and Averna, to a refreshing martini topped with cucumber foam. For a memorable dessert, try the Foie Pops Deux—an unusual treat made with chocolate streusel, Fireball-vanilla mangoes, coffee reduction, and local honey from the most avant garde beehive in town.
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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As co-owner Chris Yap told Tucson Weekly in 2006, "We want to establish Malaysian cuisine as world-class, affordable cuisine." To introduce diners to the gustatory mélange of Malaysian culture, which includes influences from southeastern Asia, India, and China, the chefs rely on generations-old family recipes. Coconut cream, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and spicy shrimp paste lend these recipes their distinctly pan-regional flavors, appearing in fiery curries as well as savory orders of lemak. Brimming with meats such as beef, scallops, or salmon, the generously portioned dishes are served family style, which allows them to better feed small groups of diners or wind-up chattering teeth. The atmosphere in which diners enjoy this globally inspired fare features mellifluous background music and dim lighting, an aesthetic unity that makes the ambiance elegant and comfortable.