In 2009, Richard and Isabelle Horvath took what would be a fateful trip from their native France to Scottsdale, Arizona. But despite falling in love with the city’s seemingly endless supply of sunshine, they felt something was missing: an authentic creperie. So, they returned to France, quit their jobs, moved to Scottsdale, and opened exactly the type of authentic, French eatery they had in mind. Inside their cozy creperie—made all the cozier with wooden, farm-style dining tables and walls bedecked with dinner plates—they fill organic buckwheat-flour crepes with savory fillings, such as roast chicken, herbed fingerling potatoes, sautéed scallops, and shaved ham. Dessert crepes sate sweeter cravings––the half & half crepe combines nutella and orange syrup, while the chef's special exotic crepe blends toasted coconut, dark chocolate, and bananas into an island-inspired treat that has been known to make eaters spontaneously sprout leis around their necks. Besides crepes, diners can find a taste of Paris in sandwiches built upon fresh, French baguettes, salads topped with warm chevre, and a modest selection of French wines.
Executive chef Sunil Kumar's healthy twists on Indian dishes earned Bombay Spice Grill the Best Food award at the 2009 Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Across the restaurant's Phoenix and Chicago locations, olive oil, instead of traditional ghee or butter, creates a heart-healthy base for vegan versions of curry, vindaloo, and other classic Indian sauces. Kitchen maestros top build-your-own entrees with these sauces, mingling rice or quinoa with vegetables, chicken, tofu, and beef. To compliment these dishes, Bombay Spice serves wine and beer from around the world by the bottle, glass, or bathtub.
At Naya Mediterranean Cuisine, Chef Tony Hamati creates exquisite dishes using the freshest of local ingredients. Diners feast on elegantly plated dishes, including pan-seared salmon, lamb chops, filet mignon, seared scallops, and chicken marsal in a chic setting complete with a bar whose options span floor-to-ceiling and patio seating.
At Remington's Restaurant, the filet mignon isn't just grilled to order?it's grilled over mesquite coals, whose smoke imbues the meat with extra flavor. The restaurant serves seafood, too. Scottish salmon, poached lobster, blue-corn crusted shrimp, and crab cakes accompany mixed vegetables, toasted cobb salads, muscovy duck, and free-range half chicken. Many of these meals are scored by live music. Local nightclub pianist Rags Allen often plays, along with other well-known jazz artists.
Cocina connoisseurs will adore Taberna Mexicana for its dinner menu of from-scratch dishes in hand-rolled tortillas, its palate-pleasing cocktails, and its attractive, vibrant interior. After earning his spatula-stripes as sous chef to James Beard Award winner Nancy Oakes in San Francisco, executive chef Alex Padilla came to Arizona to craft Mexican dishes that hit stomachs below the border. Soup groupies can slurp the sopa de albóndigas, a spicy chicken broth teeming with chicken meatballs, tomatillos, and jalapeños ($7). The callos de acha, a ceviche of lightly marinated scallops buddied up with fresh passion fruit and truffle salt, sates sea-chow cravings ($12), while scallop, pork belly, and sea urchin aioli join forces in the callos cochinos tacos ($16). Those suffering from a frozen tongue after eating an ice sculpture of Vladimir Putin can warm up with the ultra-spicy shrimpfest camarones a la diabla ($24).
Daniel Correa grew up in Mexico City watching his mother and grandmother cook meals on the grill. He loved to watch them work, feeling that it added a more personal touch to the food he ate. When designing Fogon Mexican Eatery, he wanted his customers to feel the same way. So, he installed custom grill stations throughout the restaurant. From them, chefs cook in front of guests the very recipes Correa?s mother and grandmother first created many years ago. Grilled chicken breast, shrimp, mahi mahi, zucchini, and onions travel from grill to plate, topped with housemade sauces crafted with local and imported Mexican chilies, then wrapped in a burrito or tucked into a taco.
Just as Correa decorated his menu with traditional Mexican cuisine, so too has Fogon been filled with the works of authentic Mexican artisans. A hand-painted mural depicting a woman gathering calla lilies is crafted with oven-fired talavera tiles, themselves made in Mexico. Out on the patio, a modern fire pit and a step-pyramidal fountain battle for top honors like a flame-spitting dragon wrestling a water-gurgling ziggurat.