BYO CPA

Ocean Club requires deep dip into wallet

I've just hired a CPA and am quite optimistic about the future. He promises he can make my money management — both dollars I've got — a breeze. I came in seeking advice on how to wrangle a major investment: not buying a house, but eating dinner out in north Scottsdale.

What are we, Rockefellers? It's thrilling to see the thundering rush of topnotch restaurants that have opened in the Valley over the past year. But at some point, someone needs to put the brakes on exploding menu prices.

Our newest gem, just opened at Kierland Commons, is the Ocean Club, an operation from the Mastro Restaurant Group (Mastro's, Drinkwater's City Hall). The concept is fresh seafood flown in daily, complemented by prime steak and chops. The dishes have me drooling. The cost has me quivering.

A lobster cocktail appetizer for $21.95. A swordfish chop for $34.95. Jumbo lobster tail for $46.95. A side dish of creamed corn or potatoes au gratin for $7.95. Eek.

While I've got little doubt we're getting our money's worth for Ocean Club's premium ingredients, I don't think I can use the excuse of missing a mortgage payment because I really, really had to have a meal of crab cakes (appetizer, $19.95), tomato, mozzarella and asparagus salad ($9.95), Alaska red king crab ($54.95) and wild mushroom risotto ($7.95).

For those with more money than I have, Ocean Club promises a good time. Mastro proudly boasts that it is the only operation in America to offer bone-in fish steaks, served as swordfish or ahi. The bone offers much fuller flavor, yet brings major expense to the restaurant.

A 200- to 400-pound swordfish contains only two chops; a 200-pound yellowfin tuna produces just one bone-in fillet. Ocean Club even has its own on-site fish cutting room. Now that's rich.

Fox hunt: Mondo's is gone; Fox Sports Grill has opened. The new club/restaurant at Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard was packed with the pretty people when I stopped in just one day after its debut. Already, it looks like it'll have longer staying power than the boring, big-box Mondo's the dining public tried once or twice, then stayed away.

What's the draw? Killer cosmos, and a fun menu of things like filet mignon chili, cider cured smoked double pork chops, goat cheese stuffed pesto chicken, and grilled carrot cake.

The place is guy heaven, too, with a huge bar including live Fox sports broadcasts, cigar lounge, billiards room, and an outdoor putting green.

 
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