Temps are finally dipping below 100 in the valley, more people are venturing out while abiding by current COVID protocols, and restaurants are seeing a much-needed uptick in business. In fact, I have found that on a weekend, if I don’t have a reservation, I cannot get into some of my favorites. But, good news…there are a few notable, new restaurants in Phoenix to check out should you find yourself shut out from your neighborhood favorite. xoM
The Mick Brasserie
The Mick Brasserie is a “modern interpretation of a French Brasserie” in the Scottsdale neighborhood of McCormick Ranch. The Mick uses locally-sourced produce to create French-inspired small plates combining bistrot classics such as Beef Tartar, Escargots Parmentier and Chicken Liver Mousse, with globally-influenced dishes such as Pork Belly Bahn Mi Sliders and Chicken Confit Carnitas Tostadas. Owners John Krause and Chef Bret Menke researched and tasted over 1,000 wines and beers to develop The Mick’s extensive drink menu, resulting in a 50 wines-by-the-glass menu. This means guests can try notable and hard-to-find wines without having to make a full bottle investment. I have not been yet, but, wow, they had me at 50 wines-by-the-glass menu. Added bonus now that the weather is getting cooler: The Mick has a dog-friendly patio, which is key for new restaurants in Phoenix this year. You will find me there with my petit chien sipping on un ver du vin blanc.
9719 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, www.themickaz.com.
Is it just me, or does it seem as if diners are flocking to concepts serving Mediterranean cuisine? Is Beet Hummus the new Kale Caesar? Flint by Baltaire opened last fall in the Esplanade (see my post here), and these next two concepts, and Francine and Stratta Kitchen, are the latest to follow the trend among new restaurants in Phoenix. Francine is the Arizona outpost of California’s Farmhouse restaurant by Laurent Halasz of the wildly popular – and one of my faves – Fig & Olive (get the cookbook here). Located in the “luxury wing” of Scottsdale Fashion Square near Nobu and Ocean 44, Francine is named for Halasz’s mother, and features classics from the Mediterranean, specifically France, like Grilled Octopus, Salad Niçoise, Salmon Carpaccio, Grilled Branzino and Canard (Duck) à la Provençal. Francine is another restaurant I have yet to visit, but the photos of the 5,000 square-foot space are stunning, and they have just started a new weekend brunch menu that has my name written all over it. Allons-y!
4710 N Goldwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, www.francinerestaurant.com.
James Beard Award winning Chef Alex Stratta has opened Stratta Kitchen near Hayden Road and Via de Ventura in the old Melting Pot space, which closed after 22 years of business. Yes, out with the fondue and in with a health-centric Mediterranean-focused restaurant offering dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options. The menu of Stratta Kitchen is inspired by Chef Stratta’s health challenges with colon cancer and a 100-pound weight loss. When I had lunch at the beautiful, bright and airy location, I ordered a Little Gem Salad, a late summer Gazpacho, and mung bean Grain Bowl. Everything was delicious and I love the fact that Stratta is an order-at-the-counter casual concept that also has a nice wine selection. Grab some friends and discover one of AZ’s newest gems. Chef Stratta is a total culinary rockstar…for foodie newbies, he was the executive chef of what was one of the greatest all-time AZ restaurants, Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort, then of the Renoir restaurant at The Mirage in Vegas, before he opening his own restaurant at the Wynn called Alex, which closed in 2011.
8260 N Hayden Rd Suite A102, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, www.strattakitchen.com.
Lylo Swim Club at ARRIVE Hotel
Lylo Swim Club is a sleek poolside bar and restaurant at the newly opened 79-room ARRIVE Hotel at Camelback and 4th Avenue. Lylo, apparently an English slang word for “pool float,” offers a playful all-day menu of Japanese/Hawaiian bites paired with inventive cocktails designed by acclaimed cocktail guru, Ross Simon, of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals. Open 7-days a week in an intimate and lush pool setting that actually succeeds in disguising the noise and traffic off Camelback, Lylo is a refreshing escape within the city that is delightfully far enough away from the bachelorette party trappings of Old Town Scottsdale.
400 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013, www.lylophx.com.
Postino’s Wine Café
Out of all new restaurants popping in Phoenix this year, this might just be the most well-loved (and well-known). Postino’s Wine Café has opened its 7th valley location in South Tempe on the NW corner of Rural and Warner roads in the former Tempe Public Market Café building. The large indoor-outdoor space is filled with mid-century modern touches found in local vintage stores, skateboarding murals and a very cool 1960’s cigarette machine that was once used in the TV series Mad Men. Postino’s continues to serve up its popular menu of salads, sandwiches and bruschetta, along with more than 30 wines by the glass and noteworthy Arizona craft brews. The weekend brunch menu is sure to please with $5 mimosas, and $5 wines by the glass and pitchers or beer until 5 pm.
8749 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284, www.postinowinecafe.com.