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There's no salvation in salads, either. A "border" blend dumps tired lettuce and flabby tortilla chips with clumps of Cheddar and jack cheeses, wet shredded chicken, jalapeños, green onion, black olives, green chile salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The result? A colorful but soggy mess.
And though entrees come with a choice of dinner salad or soup, don't bother requesting a side salad with your pizza or pasta. Our only choice, our server advises, is to shell out $5.75 for a full-size house salad, a gross throwaway of wilted lettuce, pale tomato, cucumbers, red onion, Cheddar and jack cheeses and croutons. If this cheese is fresh-grated and not scooped from a bag, I'd like proof.
Even worse is the laughable lettuce that comes as a side to Coach & Willie's burgers, sandwiches and flatbread wraps. Isn't the "wedge" trend dead yet? Surely these greens are POWs, rough chunks of iceberg faded brown on the edge, spoiled with the hint of being refrigerated with onions, and swimming in runny dressing. French fries -- the other optional side -- are barely better, shoestring and skin-on, but suffering from raw spud flavor.
412 S. Third St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Central Phoenix
Sausage and artichoke pizza: $9.25
Fettuccine Alfredo: $9.00
Turkey burger: $7.75
Italian Stallion: $8.00
Pear and amaretto pizza: $9.75
602-254-5272. Hours: Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
Coach & Willie's offers six burgers, and the basic meat passes muster. But if the kitchen is grinding its own turkey for the turkey burger -- as the menu states -- I'm demanding tableside preparation. This sandwich sure tastes prefab, with all the consistency and taste of wallboard. A massive, doughy roll adds nothing but gummy chew.
Pasty breads dampen already sorry flatbread wraps and sandwiches, too. A steak wrap pairs mealy filet mignon with mounds of sweet caramelized onions, nondescript cheese and slippery mushrooms in a runny bourbon and sour-mash whiskey sauce, all tucked in a bland, tortilla-like package.
And even the best bread couldn't rein in the Italian Stallion sandwich -- no less the stale, tough wheat roll that arrives on my plate. Where did the kitchen get this so-called mortadella, capicolla, pepperoni, prosciutto, mozzarella and provolone? I haven't seen meat this thick, so run through with fat and rind, and so weirdly orange, even in Third World countries. Condiments are a cacophony of red onion, sweet and hot peppers, Italian dressing (watery Thousand Island) and marinated olive relish, but even their clamor can't quiet the wailings of this hideous sandwich.
Coach & Willie's wants to be more than a sports bar, to look at the entrees offered, available both at lunch and dinner. Filet mignon with a béarnaise sauce for $21? Grilled shrimp and langostino, marinated in cilantro, lime, crushed red pepper sauce and tequila for $18? In a place where we can't even sit at a real table?
A meal starter of soup is no warm welcome. The signature soup is pure forgery of flavor. Is this Southwestern corn chowder, or glop straight from a can of sweet creamed corn? It's been tinkered with to no positive end, blended with a confetti of chiles and carrots, but no trace of the promised Cajun spices, bacon or heavy cream.
New York strip steak has been aged, I'll agree, but not in a certified manner. Leaving meat to sit until it's eventually ordered hardly qualifies. Ahi tuna, meanwhile, has been grilled past doneness, a dry, unhappy fish paired with a twice-baked potato lacking cheese but abundant with the consistency of Elmer's glue.
Even the worst places, it seems, manage to pull things together at dessert. Not so Coach & Willie's. A seriously overpriced roasted pear and amaretto pizza features just four dainty slices of pear on a too-thick sugar-cookie crust dolloped with vanilla ice cream -- and where are the sugared almonds?
Colangelo can recruit the biggest, brightest stars to head the Diamondbacks. He can work himself silly to promote the Valley's "Copper Square" as a destination area. But until there's food fit to eat here, the BOB experience is a bust.