With pages full of flavors traditional to Mexico City, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Cozumel, the menu at Haciendas Mexican Grill is like an atlas of Mexican cuisine. Guests can taste the classic Mayan influence on the nation’s dishes with the cochinita pibil, a cut of pork that slowly marinates in a stew of achiote, orange juice, and banana leaves, or revel in the country's knack for sauces with the dark-brown dressing of the pollo con mole. The chefs also take slight liberties with the dishes, infusing the chocolate fondue with ancho chiles and transforming the humble hamburger with oaxaca cheese and chipotle mayo. To honor Mexico's extensive coastlines, the chefs drench jumbo prawns, stuffed salmon filets, and lobster ravioli in spicy cream sauces.
Outside the dining room, guests can experience Mexican culture with specialty margaritas, tap and bottled beers, and other libations in the restaurant’s three bars. Like an interstellar pub crawl, each bar features a different atmosphere: one sports a scenic view of the mountains, another buzzes with a row of LED TVs, and an outside patio grants fresh air and warm sun ideal for a round of icy beverages.
As they stroll along the green, undulating grounds of the Marriott's Wildfire Golf Club, guests watch as a fire pit slowly comes into view. White sand golf hazards slope along the grassy surface, and rows of palm trees sway. Then, they arrive at their destination: Meritage Steakhouse. Inside, spotted cowhides cover chairs beneath cream-and-burgundy ceilings high enough to allow room for a black-tie food fight. Expansive windows complement meals with natural sunlight and landscape views.
All of this is the setting for the restaurant's main draw: steaks. Filet or porterhouse, dressed with b?arnaise or white truffle butter, paired with lobster tail or scallops, the steaks are filled with a soft textured tenderness that only comes from using the best aged, marbled cuts. Meritage operates on an organic, sustainable philosophy, and partners with a largely local community of farmers, fisheries, and artisans. All of the steaks hail from just two ranches?one in California and one in Colorado?that pride themselves on their cattle's vegetarian diets.
Though he worked as a chef in Europe and on the East Coast, Cafe at Desert Ridge owner Mario Kuja embraced the flavors and flair of Southwestern cuisine upon moving to Arizona. Guided by his 22 years of culinary experience, he infuses many of his dishes with classic Southwestern spices, including the Sonoran burrito and the Southwest chicken salad. However, like a rare pottery collector or a mom who's obsessed with cleaning everything in the world, he doesn't neglect American and European dishes. Mario prepares these in the form of burgers, Mediterranean paninis, and meatball pappardelle.
When Tryst Cafe opened in December 2010, Phoenix Magazine took notice, putting it on their Best New Restaurants list. Part of what got their attention?and what continues to draw in customers?is the restaurant's inventive menu. Their dishes, made with organic, local, and natural foods, range from roasted beet salads to barbecue bacon burgers to cornish hen with a cornbread grit cake, and many can be modified to be gluten- and kryptonite-free. Guests can take a bit of an adventure by ordering from the supplementary Tryst Around the World menu, which focuses on a different geographic region each month, or by grabbing a table on an outdoor patio soundtracked by world music.
Harold's Corral gussies up mealtime with an eclectic menu of western-inspired eats, two full bars, patio seating, and live entertainment. Round up hungry herds for dinner with dishes of chicken, fried to a golden finish and side-kicked by yellow-bellied mashed potatoes ($9.99 for 4 pieces, $15.99 for 8 pieces). Southwestern penne pasta ($14.99) brings new meaning to spaghetti westerns with poblano cream sauce and Cajun chicken. Barbecue barons smoke slabs of ribs and brisket ($11.99–$24.99) on-site daily, crafting nuanced flavors with mesquite wood chips. Dig into classic Mexican dishes such as the chicken enchiladas ($9.99), or light off meat-based fireworks with a juicy light show of burgers, strip steaks, and a grand finale of the Meatball Bomber ($8.99), dripping with sauce, cheese, and glory.
Despite its cozy size, the dining room at Sakura Sushi and Steakhouse has five different places where patrons can feast. Seats are lined in front of the regular bar, whose tenders pour cold Japanese brews, as well as the sushi bar. There, Sakura's expert sushi chefs handcraft 25 specialty rolls, including the Rain Forest, an intricate assembly of crabmeat, red snapper, salmon, and tuna all drizzled with ponzu sauce.
Elsewhere, diners gather in the main dining room, on an outdoor patio, or around one of Sakura's iron teppanyaki grills. Each of the latter is manned by a teppan chef, who sears everything from scallops to filet mignon while dazzling diners by tossing shrimps into their mouths and starting fires with his mind.