Tilapia crusted in walnuts, coconut, and sun-dried tomato. Mixed veggies drizzled with raw-honey strawberry tahini. Mac 'n' cheese. And it's all organic. Fontana D' Amore Organic Bistro delivers three meals a day to clients' doors, each of which uses natural ingredients tailored to raw, vegan, and gluten-free diets. The nutrient-dense menu has plenty of flexibility for clients to customize their meals. Gluten- and diary-free menus can be whipped up by tinkering with milk and sweetener options, which include raw honey, maple syrup, and gratuitous compliments. Owner Rino Soriano developed the innovative menu "because [he feels] it's important for people who desire fun, delicious and healthful food to have options," he told Arizona Central. The bistro's environmental vision doesn’t stop with organic cuisine, but permeates through to the business's core operations, down even to the natural cleaning products that keep its kitchen pristine. And as for all that cuisine, staff members pack each delectable meal in biodegradable paper and plastic products for takeout.
Executive chef and manager Devin Walsh builds relationships with quality farms throughout Arizona and the West Coast to craft elegant dishes on Calistro's DC Ranch Crossing and Hilton Village menus with the freshest ingredients available. Terrines of mixed vegetables or beets crown grains or salads of crisp lettuce, and elaborate sauces such as cabernet-tarragon jus and red-wine-and-black-truffle gastriques drizzle across duck confit or cuts of grass-fed meats. Behind the bar, house-infused spirits shake with slices of fruit or sparkling sodas, and taps unleash foamy rivulets of seasonal and local beers. Cream-and-rust-colored walls soften the dining rooms’ warm, intimate lighting, casting fire-like glimmers across the hardwood floors and polished tables. The sounds of a busy line and scent of fresh food emanate from the open kitchen, and shelves behind the bar hold liquors in boxes designed to look like framed pictures or Prohibition Wanted posters.
At Remington's Restaurant, the bacon-wrapped filet mignon isn't just grilled to order—it's grilled over mesquite coals, whose smoke imbues the meat with extra flavor. The same coals cook the New Zealand rack of lamb, as well as tender pork chops glazed in prickly pear barbecue sauce. The steakhouse serves fresh seafood, too. Cedar planks salmon are painted in a maple mustard glaze, and broiled lobster can be used for games of Pin the Tail On the Crustacean out on the patio. Many of these meals are scored by live music. Local nightclub pianist Rags Allen often plays, as does old-fashioned crooner Guy Pennachio.
Taberna Mexicana's chefs guide customers toward palate-pleasing enlightenment with fresh, made-from-scratch menu items, hand-rolled tortillas, and fine, artisanal tequilas. During the tequila tasting, customers can sip three shots of traditional tequilas served together to complement each other (up to a $16 value). Crafted according to traditional small-batch practices and laws established by the United States postmaster general, the blanco, reposado, and añejo tequilas provide tasters with distinct flavors from family-owned brands such as Siete Leguas, El Tesoro, or Partida. As tasters anticipate the next chapter in their tequila adventure, they can nibble on a serving of chef Padilla's pumpkin-seed- and queso-añejo-topped guacamole and handcrafted chips (a $10 value).
Forget artwork. The focal point of Roka Akor’s dining room is the robata grill, a multi-tiered, oak charcoal–fueled contraption that leaves prime ribeye, glazed pork ribs, and Madagascar prawns precisely blistered on the outside and moist and tender within. This approach lets the inherent flavors of the top-quality ingredients take center stage, and accordingly, executive chef Ce Bian takes a considered, minimalistic approach to many dishes, plating even hot entrees with the elegance one generally expects of sushi.
Of course, there is sushi, too—Bon Appetit voted Roka Akor one of the top 10 sushi spots in the U.S. in 2009. Fresh fish is flown in daily for nigiri, sashimi, and a concise selection of maki, most filled simply with seafood (or wagyu beef, in one case) and perhaps some avocado and an element of spice.
In striking counterpoint to the fire of the robata grill and the oceanic flavors of the sushi, the bar gets attention with ice. Specifically, glass-sized icebergs, carved by hand from enormous, crystal-clear blocks frozen, like popsicles for the children of billionaires, from purified water in an airtight environment over days. These maintain the purity of Roka Akor's signature shochu tonics, a mellower take on the vodka cocktail. Harking back to the semi-medicinal tradition of ancient Japanese shochu-making, mixolgists start with a base of house-infused shochu (perhaps flavored with blood orange or mango and chili) and add macerated fruits and spices such as plum, ginseng, and pine needle.