Christmas Carumba

Owners can't spell, but man, can they cook

The "big plates" proved gratifying, but lacked the wow factor of the smaller ones. I was a fan of the spicy, sweet habanero-braised ribs, which were much better than ribs I'd consumed recently at Bobby-Q, for instance. And though the grilled pork chop was dry, the lively chimichurri sauce that topped it was of great consolation, as were the butternut squash seeds tossed over the meat. I liked the pairing of hominy with the honey-roasted chicken, even if the "five chili sauce" in the dish was absent any bite. The seared salmon and seared tuna made for fairly conservative entrees, though the spinach and tomato risotto next to the salmon was as off the hook figuratively as the salmon was literally.

Carumba humbug: Lemons was hoping for a bad meal for Xmas, but received a sumptuous Latin spread instead.
Jackie Mercandetti
Carumba humbug: Lemons was hoping for a bad meal for Xmas, but received a sumptuous Latin spread instead.

Location Info

Map

Cafe Carumba!

7303 E. Indian School Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Category: Restaurant > Latin American

Region: Central Scottsdale

Details

Scottsdale burger: $8
Street corn: $6
Tuna ceviche: $12
Habanero-braised ribs: $15

480-947-8777. »web link.
Hours: Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Lunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily; Dinner, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

7303 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale

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I'd return to Carumba for the Scottsdale burger alone, an early contender for the Best Burger of 2006: a half-pound of sirloin on a soft bun with Brie, pancetta, and a huge whole portobella cap, the size of a baby Frisbee. No disappointment over the vanilla flan or the rum-heavy, caramelized bananas, yet Carumba could stake its rep on that burger and not do too badly. Hell's bells, I've neglected the atmosphere, so stuck on the food I've been. Does that tell you something? Don't worry, it's chic and vaguely Latin American. Go, eat and drink. Pretend Carumba's a present from someone, whether that someone be Santa or Satan.

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