By Heather Hoch
By Eric Schaefer
By New Times
By Rachel Miller
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch and Lauren Saria
By Robrt L. Pela
By Heather Hoch
The ~"special," a combination of veal and chicken medallions in a caper, lemon and artichoke-heart sauce, is exactly what you'd expect. I decide I'm just a sucker for capers and lemon. I hear those words and--like Pavlov's dogs--my mouth begins to water. I like it, but at $19.95, it's overpriced. In its defense, the meat is cooked to perfection.
The grilled sea scallops are a little more zesty. We get six or so of them served atop fiery watermelon and pineapple salsa in a ceramic scallop shell. What they lack in quantity they make up for with quality; I personally prefer tiny bay scallops, but these are fat and fleshy and tender. The combination of sweet-hot salsa and mollusks is brilliant.
Both entrø¡ees are accompanied by interesting vegetables. Attractive, buttery spaghetti squash, broccoli, baby beets and ripe tomatoes prove irresistible.
After this exhibition of eating, our waiter is not surprised when we tell him we wish to contemplate dessert. He wheels another cart to our table.
Funny, nothing looks too appealing to me. There is cheesecake with strawberry and raspberry sauce, a pecan-truffle tart, chopped fresh strawberries, kiwi, and papaya. (Whole berries are so much more attractive.) Sensing our ennui, our enterprising waiter tells us he can make us bananas Foster flambø¡e--but only for two people. Fine, we say. Go to it.
Now the bananas Foster cart rolls our way. Our waiter knows what he is doing: He tosses brown sugar, butter, bananas, fresh-squeezed orange and lemon, some creme de banana and white Bacardi rum into the pan in sequence. Twice he allows the pan to catch fire. Finally, the mixture is ladled over vanilla ice cream, and voiløça--dessert is served.
It takes mere seconds to consume. Yes, it's sweet and expensive ($6.00 per person, I learn--when the bill comes), but I love it.
More importantly, I love Remington's--though I don't love everything we sample. High school kids are smart these days. Remington's is a very romantic place. I know I feel a happy afterglow after dinner. I can't say how prom night climaxed, but I'd wager dinner here could turn any night into one enchanted evening.
I have one major problem with P.C.'s Cafe at Mountainside. I don't like its confining, high-tech look. In the nonsmoking section where we are seated, I feel closed off and isolated from the rest of the restaurant. For someone else, though, this may be the apotheosis of privacy.
How I feel about the food, however, is another matter entirely.
P.C. stands for Private Chef, a catering company owned and run by Elizabeth and Gregory Limbeck. P.C.'s Cafe is a show place for their culinary talents, an outgrowth of their successful catering business.
The menu, as at Remington's, offers classic American dishes. At first scan, I am disappointed. Then I notice a subtle, creative twist at work. Each dish has been played with or reinvented--modernized, if you will.
We start with two appetizers, Cajun rattlesnake and baked brie. This is my first experience with rattlesnake, but I like it. Served on a curled radicchio lettuce leaf with sour cream and tangy salsa, the meat is tinier than I expected: like little McRattler nuggets. Petal-shaped prickly pear pancakes accompany the snake meat, which is chewy and unidentifiable in flavor.
The baked whole mini brie is also very good. It's gooey and hot and topped with apple-raisin chutney and piøn¤ons. We slather it on round lahvosh crackers until we realize we'd better slow down. Our waitress packs up the rest of it for us to take home. Yum!
At P.C.'s, the dinner salad outshines the caesar salad. (Of course, this time I'm the one who orders the caesar.) The house strawberry vinaigrette is out of this world, though I'm suspicious of fruity dressings. Made with fresh strawberries, it's the perfect complement to a mixed green salad featuring leaf lettuce and radicchio. The caesar, in contrast, is just average.
But everything evens up when our entrø¡ees arrive. The petite prime rib is heavenly. A mixture of spinach, piøn¤ons, feta, rosemary, oregano and basil is stuffed in the center of a one-inch-thick slab of tender, pink roast beef. It will be hard to go back to horseradish sauce after this. Garlic potatoes are a nice accompaniment.
According to our menu, P.C.'s scampi pizza won a 1989 Scottsdale Culinary Festival award. It is easy to see why. Feta and Parmesan cheese top artichoke hearts and bay shrimp scampi in lobster sauce (can you believe this?) on a Parmesan cheese crust. That's a lot of cheese, but the subtle artichoke and shrimp flavors really come through. It's six slices of sheer artistry, but too rich to be consumed in one sitting. I opt to take half home for a delicious snack later.
Service is generally good. Our waitress is both informed and enthusiastic about P.C.'s offerings. Though visually overwhelming at first, we get used to her uniform: a confetti-splashed shirt with teal cummerbund.
(While we're on the topic of service, I don't normally pick on bus boys, but when you're sitting in an isolated booth, you notice things. P.C.'s aren't awful, they're simply untrained: One scuffs his feet; another points and says, "You done with that?" when asking to remove a plate. A little more supervision should remedy this situation.)