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Under the diverse umbrella of contemporary American cuisine, chef Chris Curtiss' frequently changing menu combines French, Italian, and even occasional Japanese-inspired dishes with finesse. Handmade pastas, luscious seasonal soups, and the flat iron steak are always good bets, and you won't find fresher seafood in Phoenix. It's no wonder this place was named a James Beard "Best New Restaurant" semifinalist just months after it opened.
Looking for something to put in your mouth this weekend? We've got you covered. Check out what's on our plate. See also: Memorial Day Weekend Canal Brews Cruise Chances are you don't have to go to... More »
Arizona Restaurant Week -- the Spring 2013 Edition -- begins Saturday, May 18 and ends Monday, May 27 (which is Memorial Day, when most of us will be grilling burgers and drinking beer at home . . . b... More »
This is part two of my interview with Ehren Litzenberger, executive chef at BLD in Chandler. If you missed part one, where Litzenberger dished about simplicity, chocolate-covered grasshoppers and his ... More »
When it comes to one-of-a-kind culinary adventures, venerable East Phoenix restaurants Crudo and Noca serve them up regularly. But at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, the two are teaming up to bring 32 luck... More »
DINERS BEWARE! The food and service has drastically declined
at this establishment. Last night we were eager to enjoy the
Seafood Risotto and the Pork Loin Dish that have stimulated so much
notoriety. Our party of three arrived promptly at 7:00, greeted
by the friendly hostess and taken to our well-groomed table.
We ordered our drinks, which promptly arrived and were
quite lovely and thirst quenching. Upon ordering the famous
pork dish from the menu, I was told by the waitress that they had substituted
a pork chop, but she assured me it was just as delicious. My
two companions ordered the Seafood Risotto, and as accompaniments,
added the sausage pizza and the simple salad. The waiter brought out
bread and we had to ask for butter or oil, which was brought
promptly. Our waitress brought BOTH appetizer
and salad at the same time. The salad was almost void of
dressing and there was very little sausage on the pizza. Our
second round of drinks arrived and good thing…..as unknowingly
we had a very long wait ahead of us. We then watched three tables be seated, eat
and leave and our food still hadn’t been served. We asked
our bus boy to find the waitress who had never come back
to the table to check on us. Well over an hour after we ordered
dinner, our waitress arrives with ONE plate of the risotto.
A few minutes later she comes back with ONE plate containing
my 3 inch thick pork chop and shortly after that she returns
with the last risotto dinner. We began eating and my daughter
discovered her dinner was very cold but served on a heated plate.
I didn’t want to bother our absent waitress, but I definitely needed
a sharper knife to cut through the thick, tough and dry pork chop. In
the end the waitress did not charge us for cold risotto dinner,
but she never apologized. The hero in all this is the bus boy,
who faithfully refilled our water glasses and bread. Still hungry
after the meager portions we devoured the yummy cotton candy
that comes with every meal. Walking out the door at
9:15 we wanted to warn the late comers, just arriving, to
stick with the drinks the cotton candy. Better yet, we should have said,
“Come back on a night when the manager/owner is here."
Because if a capable manager had been present he would have touched our table.
PS We never saw the complimentary amuse bouche or
any take home treat!
What happens when a food-obsessed restaurant fanatic teams up with an equally passionate young chef with an impressive résumé? You end up with Noca, one of the most highly anticipated restaurants of 2008. Without a doubt, Eliot Wexler is the city's most tireless gourmet, who not only became a regular at the best dining spots in town but worked a yearlong stint, unpaid, for acclaimed local chef Kevin Binkley — all to quench his thirst for culinary expertise. Wexler's plan to open a restaurant picked up speed when he recruited talented chef Chris Curtiss, who'd worked at some of San Francisco's top-rated restaurants with French Laundry alum Ron Siegel before coming to Phoenix and turning heads at downtown's now-defunct Circa 1900. Together, Wexler and Curtiss have assembled a staff of seasoned professionals to give their fledgling operation the kind of polish that most newbie restaurateurs would kill for, and they've sourced the best ingredients available, from Bob McClendon's organic produce to fresh seafood from the same supplier that Sea Saw's Nobuo Fukuda uses. That said, Noca's atmosphere is refreshingly unpretentious, and the ingredient-driven cuisine is far from fussy. In fact, it's playful at times, from the "caviar" of organic eggplant, served out of a caviar tin with warm blinis, to the "milk and cookies" dessert, featuring fresh chocolate chip cookies and a frothy malted vanilla shake. Ultra-fresh crudo dishes and luscious handmade pastas are not to be missed, while the juicy pork chop, paired with crispy, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, will make you smile from the first bite to the last. Even the Simple Supper, a wallet-friendly three-course tasting menu, is craveworthy. But really, it's no wonder Noca appeals to foodies — it's run by the biggest one of them all.
Sorry, Mom; even though we love your PB and J, every once in a while we get a hankerin' for a sack-lunch with a gourmet edge. In this case one from Noca, the stylish restaurant in Central Phoenix. Every Tuesday through Saturday afternoon, the restaurant turns into the fast-casual Nocawich, serving up a menu of six stellar sandwiches (plus a special), flavorful soups, and a few sides. Tuesday's feature is a patty melt, Wednesdays mean the delectable lobster roll is up for grabs, and other... More »
There's a trend that we're crazy about. All the cool kids are doing it, and it's where you can catch the best eats -- and the hottest gossip about the food world, which lately has us wishing we'd produced a reality show called The Real Chefs of Scottsdale.Late-night menus are being offered at a handful of local restaurants, and at some of the best ones, too. Usually called "Staff Menus," these late-night dinners often feature a single meal selected by the chef or the waiters, and... More »
The name Ingrid Bengis may not ring a bell for some, but for many of the nation's top restaurants -- like The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Le Bernardin in New York -- her company, Ingrid Bengis Seafood, sets the standard for the highest quality in fishy fare. Lucky for us, Noca, a modern American cuisine establishment in Central Phoenix, counts Ingrid Bengis among its suppliers. From tastings to simple suppers to featured dishes, Noca may not bill itself as a seafo... More »
The place with the best seafood in town doesn't bill itself as a seafood restaurant at all, but simply as a well-rounded contemporary American fine-dining spot with touches of international flair. No matter. Nobody else in these parts serves seafood from elite purveyor Ingrid Bengis (known for supplying Maine lobster and halibut to luminaries like Thomas Keller). Hungry for a buttery lobster roll? They dedicate every Wednesday at Noca to a gourmet version of the classic coastal nosh. Seafood... More »
Some restaurants take years to refine their food and service, but NOCA came sprinting out of the gates and hasn't looked back. In February, it was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by the James Beard Foundation. Now barely over a year old, it's still got strong buzz, thanks to the efforts of restaurateur Eliot Wexler and executive chef Chris Curtiss. While Wexler dotes on first-timers and regular customers alike, Curtiss dreams up dishes with the freshest ingredients he... More »
What happens when a food-obsessed restaurant fanatic teams up with an equally passionate young chef with an impressive résumé? You end up with Noca, one of the most highly anticipated restaurants of 2008. Without a doubt, Eliot Wexler is the city's most tireless gourmet, who not only became a regular at the best dining spots in town but worked a yearlong stint, unpaid, for acclaimed local chef Kevin Binkley -- all to quench his thirst for culinary expertise. Wexler's plan... More »
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