The Name Game

"Big Ass" spreads far and wide

Roaring Fork chef Robert McGrath is offering his help to other local restaurateurs. Concerned that his competition appears to be challenged in their ability to name things, he says he's willing to give assistance in baby monikers. Should parents find themselves stumped upon the birth of their child, McGrath says he's happy to share the names of his own children.

The tongue-in-cheek offer comes from copycat tactics in the industry, including two restaurants (Soho and Al Dente's, both of Scottsdale) who have added McGrath's legendary "Big Ass" burger to their menus. Though the B.A. isn't copyrighted, that's a pretty distinctive name to repeat.

And recently, McGrath says, someone walked into his Scottsdale eatery with a menu from Casino Arizona's Cholla, listing "Campfire Salmon," another of his signature dishes.

Lifting successful dishes is nothing new among restaurants, but usually, such specific names are left alone.

"I guess it's flattery," McGrath tells me. "I get a giggle out of it. It's pathetic, but still funny."

For the record, McGrath's Big Ass burger is a 12-ounce beast capped with green chiles, longhorn colby cheese and smoked bacon with a side of fries for just $6. It's available during happy hour at the bar only (Mondays through Saturdays, 4 to 7 p.m.). That Campfire Salmon is a tasty fillet with grilled asparagus and roasted beets.

Look for the restaurant in its new location in the Finova Building, on Scottsdale Road just north of Goldwater.

Spud Dud: Sometimes, I just have to wonder what marketing departments are thinking. I got a big box in the mail the other day from a company called Alexia, promoting some fancy new line of potatoes. Included was a foil bag, looking to be a sample of the product.

It sat on my desk for a few days, until I finally dug through the materials. There, in big bold letters on the product sheet, was "Brighten up Your Freezer Section!" Oops. I grabbed the bag and, in big bold letters, it read, "Keep Frozen." Not good.

Except when I ripped open the bag, out plopped a fake potato -- lifelike, but crafted of foam Nerf-style rubber and stamped with the company logo. Creepy, and if the toy represents what this prefab dish tastes like, I'm not buying.

My dog Santiago loved it, by the way. By the time he finished it, this once whole spud was hash browns.

 
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