There’s no need these days to go wandering around looking for good eats. After all, we all have smartphones, so we can simply input ‘restaurants near me’ and let our GPS and a search engine do the rest. There was a time when, if you were out and about in a city and you wanted, say, to find a Chinese restaurant nearby, it was a whole lot tougher. You’d have to triangulate between a Yellow Pages book (if you were lucky enough to find one in a phone booth somewhere), a city A-to-Z map, and your ‘Mark I eyeball’.
Progress has indeed made it easier for us (thanks to Phoenix SEO) to eat out, so let’s see which of these great restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona, are near you. What we’ve done, cleverly, is to pick out a quartet of classy joints that are spread out across downtown Phoenix. So if you’re in the city’s central area, one of the following will be in your quadrant (you can also check our similar list on restaurants in downtown Phoenix):
Trendy, farm-fresh, and locally sourced, Gertrude’s has a gorgeous-sounding menu. When we looked at the seasonal specials we did a double-take, misreading the ingredients of their green chili hummus (tepary beans, quark, pickled chayote, and crackers) to include ‘pickled coyote’, which made us sit up and pay attention. The menu is greener than a 16-year-old naval recruit, with Anasazi beans, achiote, arugula, and something called ‘agave quark’ salad dressing, which might have been invented by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig.
For main courses, the hipster theme continues, with a ‘crop rotation risotto’ featuring ‘rotating grains’ (how do they get them to do that??). For those looking to tear up a bit of flesh, there’s an eight-ounce flatiron steak, or you can sink your canines into bison tenderloin.
Gertrude’s selection of cocktails, wine, and craft beer make picking a designated driver a must, though there’s a good chance that whoever pulls the short straw might cave in and announce they’ll pay for a minivan taxi.
Okay, it seems that restaurants are now hot on serving ‘American comfort food’ and offering ‘libations’ instead of ‘beverages’. Let’s avoid the temptation to heap ridicule upon them for their pretensions, and take a look at what food’s on offer at Beckett’s Table.
In case you’re wondering, the 12th-century English cleric murdered at the altar in 1170 spelled his name with just one ‘t’. So you can discount the thought that the famously self-denying Archbishop of Canterbury has come back to Earth and opened a hot eatery in Phoenix with an extensive wine list.
Beckett’s Table groans with dishes that’ll generate major shifts in your blood sugar levels. ‘Noble toast’, for example, combines ricotta cheese made in-house with figs and roasted mushrooms. Among chef/proprietor Justin Beckett’s main dishes are pork osso bucco and cast-iron petite chicken, the latter with a ‘bacon-biscuit’ stuffing. Where they get cast-iron chickens that look good in a little black cocktail dress is anyone’s guess. Yummy.
Durant’s has been supplying Phoenix diners with broiled steaks and the trimmings for 65 years, with no sign of anyone getting bored yet. T-bones here come in sizes of up to 16 ounces. It’s a place where you can eat sautéed calf’s liver with bacon and onions.
Since everyone in American seems to be looking for ‘comfort food’ in these Trumpian times, you couldn’t do much worse than seek solace at Durant’s.
The Duce’s name seems to be either
A variation on Il Duce (a.k.a. Benito Mussolini) with the definite article translated into English to avoid confusion among patrons, or A misspelling of The Deuce, (a.k.a. New York’s 42nd Street and the geographic subject of the hit HBO series which has just finished its first season) Whichever is the case is no concern whatsoever of the punters who rock up at this industrial-chic warehouse-style eatery. In fact, though it has an awesome menu, who cares? The place has a boxing ring and sells R&R Surplus clothing! Their FAQs include ‘How the heck do I make reservations?’ and ‘Can I bring cupcakes?’ to which the answer is ‘No, we’ll make them for ya’.
With its off-kilter 1960s typefaces and coolio website, this really is a retro hangout for Boomers and a young crowd that likes to ‘partay’. Again, who gives a stuff about the food when they’ve a wicked range of craft beers including Papago orange blossom.