At Scottsdale’s Posh, Your Dinner Is Improvised

Feeling adventurous? Then get yourself to Posh, a contemporary American restaurant in Scottsdale where I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I mean that literally. Posh calls its food "improvisational cuisine," so even though you can specify your cravings, you won't know exactly what dishes you're getting until they arrive at the table as part of a multi-course tasting menu. Clearly, this place is trying to attract open-minded foodies, but even if you have dietary restrictions — say, an allergy or an aversion to certain ingredients — the folks at Posh are not only willing, they're eager to feed you a customized meal.

Personally, I liked the randomness of Posh. If I could've wished for anything, it would've been for the kitchen to throw something really exotic and cutting-edge my way. And maybe one day, the restaurant will be able to accommodate geeks like me. That said, I really enjoyed the food for what it was — well-prepared, fresh, seasonal American, served in a series of small courses.

Chef's choice at Posh: (clockwise, from top) foie gras torchon brûlée with plum-apricot confit; fennel panna cotta with chive and hazelnut; and shrimp chorizo with avocado and red curry.
Jackie Mercandetti
Chef's choice at Posh: (clockwise, from top) foie gras torchon brûlée with plum-apricot confit; fennel panna cotta with chive and hazelnut; and shrimp chorizo with avocado and red curry.

Location Info


Posh Improvisational Cuisine

7167 E. Rancho Vista Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Category: Restaurant > Contemporary

Region: Central Scottsdale


Four-course tasting menu: $45
Each additional course: $10
480-663-POSH (7674)
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.
7167 East Rancho Vista Drive, Scottsdale

This place is the brainchild of chef-owner Joshua Hebert, a sleeper talent who was a chef at Tarbell's, North, and Tokyo's ritzy Miyako Hotel before becoming a partner at Dual Contemporary American Cuisine in Gilbert. In 2007, right around the time that Dual was generating enough buzz to lure Phoenicians to the far East Valley, the restaurant closed. Posh opened this past New Year's Eve.

Hebert's tasting-menu-only concept is ambitious but not a complete surprise, given his background. He offered improvisational tasting menus at Dual and, of course, his stint in Japan acquainted him with omakase dining, in which you entrust the sushi chef with orchestrating your entire meal.

And just like a sushi bar, the restaurant features a smooth, 30-seat counter where customers can hang out and watch everything going on in the open kitchen. Actually, you can get a glimpse from just about any table in the airy dining room, which is surrounded by windows. The cool gray and black décor is brightened by an uplit wood panel running underneath the counter, as well as taut orange fabric panels that give punches of color to the high ceilings.

Instead of a traditional menu, customers get a personal checklist to fill out. You begin by indicating how many courses you want (starting with a flat $45 for four courses, with each additional course another $10) and whether you'd like wine pairings. There's a rundown of the day's featured meats and seafood, so you can mark whether something strikes your fancy or specifically doesn't appeal to you. You can also note how you like your meat cooked, whether you'll eat raw meat or fish, whether you want an all-vegetarian meal, and any other details.

It's easiest, of course, to just check "chef's choice." That's what I did, with the hope that Hebert would make something wonderful with the best ingredients available. I figured that if he's going to call it "improvisational cuisine," then I shouldn't give the chef any reason to hold back.

I know, this sounds either really fun or really annoying. And that's the thing about this concept that I worry about. How many people want to dine this way, or have the time for it? Among those who do, how many will return again and again? Actually, forget about wanting. In the midst of a recession, how about affording?

Some of the finest restaurants in town — Binkley's and Sea Saw, in particular — are famous for their luxurious tasting menus, but even those places still have a set menu of à la carte items, with signature dishes that you might come to love and crave and come back for. So splurge on Kevin Binkley's full tasting menu when you can, and then plan a return visit just for another taste of his seared foie gras.

At Posh, a beautiful piece of pan-seared escolar was the most delightful thing I ate, the kind of dish I would definitely order again if it were part of a regular menu. The fish was perfectly succulent, resting on a scoop of creamed spinach, with several peeled, marinated cherry tomatoes and drops of basil oil surrounding it. In between bites of the luscious spinach and buttery fish, I'd pop a tomato in my mouth and smile at the bright burst of basil-tinged sweetness.

Seafood must be Hebert's thing, because loup de mer, served on top of risotto with caramelized onions, was another fine piece of fish, and a chilled endive and watercress salad was filled with delicate chunks of fresh octopus.

Rich, fork-tender short ribs were also outstanding. On the side, there was a heap of roasted fingerlings tossed with sautéed spinach. Moist seared duck breast, teamed with root vegetable hash and lightly spiced orange gastrique, had a satisfying, wintry taste, while roasted kangaroo, served with red wine demi and roasted red beet, was as comforting as roast beef.

Juicy grilled rib eye was presented simply, with fresh, bright-green broccolini. And velvety foie gras, served cool, with citrus coulis and a glittery ball of spun sugar, was simultaneously decadent and unexpectedly light.

Shrimp curry soup was a weak link. I liked the spicy flavor and the pineapple salsa that accompanied it, but the consistency was nearly watery, and the soup was merely warm. I suspect the bowl hadn't been heated in the first place because it was cold to the touch.

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I dined on the 5 course meal, which I find is an insult to the American concept of value. I will give the Chef Kudos for taste, the food is well done. The restaurant has a Hip-Uber-chic feel when you enter, which is welcoming. Posh is presented as a new experience in dining; I say save your money and take art lessons. It took hours to painfully toggle through 2.5 ounces of protein and 1/8 cup soup. We should acknowledge the Chef has a great idea as he laughs his way to the bank. He is also helping the fast food industry as one will feel compelled to stop for a Big Mac after a night at Posh. I would take your $75.00 per person investment and enjoy two nights of great food at La Grande Orange a restaurant that offers great food and value.


I will certainly give it a try. Good luck Josh, I hope Posh is a roaring success!