Second Helpings

What's New: The Valley's restaurant boom shows no sign of slowing down. Here's a run-down of some of the places that have opened over the past few months:

* Tequila Grill (4363 North 75th Street, Scottsdale, 480-941-1800). Run by veterans of Sam's Cafe, this place features Southwestern fare. Look for wood-fired pizzas, pastas and entrees like roasted ancho pork tenderloin. Main-dish prices hover between $15 and $22. I hear the room looks pretty striking.

* Central Bistro (5202 North Central, 602-234-2768). The chef used to work at the Fish Market, so it's no surprise that seafood dominates the menu. Crab-stuffed mussels, crab cakes and ceviche are among the appetizers. Entrees include grilled trout, pan-fried orange roughy and king crab legs.

* Tal's (13610 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-348-0086). The Israeli-born chef, who used to work at Un-Bacio, calls his cuisine "Med-Italian." That means appetizers like spanakopitas, eggplant rollatini and sauteed portabella mushrooms. Entrees feature veal saltimbocca, beef kebabs and swordfish Livornese. The BYOB policy is another attraction.

* Copper Kettle Kabobs, Balti and Tandoori Grill (1941 West Guadalupe, Mesa, 480-456-4365). I've heard some good things about the cuisine here, which covers a region that stretches through Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. Look for some unusual dishes served in--what else?--copper kettles.

* Cafestia (1940 East Camelback, 602-265-2990). The owners of next-door Greekfest have been promising to open this Greek coffee house for years now. It looks like it may finally happen. I'm eager to get my mouth around the galaktoboureko, one of the seven pastry wonders of the world.

* Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (14205 South 50th Street, Ahwatukee Foothills Center, 480-598-1300). The latest link in this Colorado-based chain hits the Valley just in time for the beer-drinking season. Microbrewed ales and stouts wash down traditional pub grub--pizzas, sandwiches, fish and chips, pasta and steak. Homemade desserts look intriguing, especially the New York cheesecake made with stout.

* Seasons Rotisserie & Grill (10050 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-443-1300). This mini-chain, with branches in Durango, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, has several celebrity investors, including Suns center Luc Longley. Expect the seasonal menu to carry entrees like Australian lamb sirloin, double-cut pork rib and spit-roasted chicken.

What's Almost New: Che Bella, which moved in and out of the old Oscar Taylor spot at Biltmore Fashion Park, is up and running once again at the mall. This time, though, it's sandwiched between Christopher Gross and RoxSand, in the storefront that used to house Nola's. The kitchen sends out pizza, pasta, risotto and grilled meats and fish.

And Pinon Grill, at the Regal McCormick Ranch, has abandoned its Southwestern roots. The new chef seems to favor seafood with a Pacific Rim touch, like sea bass in a champagne ginger sauce and salmon in a lemongrass tamarind broth.

--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at hseftel@newtimes.com or New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,

 
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