By Heather Hoch
By Eric Schaefer
By New Times
By Rachel Miller
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch and Lauren Saria
By Robrt L. Pela
By Heather Hoch
When Cork opened in Chandler in 2008, the concept was simple — fine dining, a small-plates menu, and a kick-ass wine list. (You could almost hear a collective cheer from food lovers in the Southeast Valley: "No more haulin' it to Scottsdale!") Three years later, the owners of Cork have a new restaurant in Chandler that, according to its website, promises to be "virtually everything" that Cork isn't.
BLD (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) was opened in March by Cork's Robert and Danielle Morris and executive chef Brian Peterson, all formerly of Lon's at the Hermosa in Paradise Valley. Located in The Shops at Pecos Ranch, a new-ish, upscale retail strip on the corner of Dobson and Germann roads, minutes away from the affluent subdivision Pecos Ranch, BLD has a particular guest in mind, but this "virtually everything" concept gets in its own way of single-focused success. From the atmosphere to the menu to the food, BLD's concept of being all things has produced a restaurant with an identity crisis.
1920 W. Germann Road
Chandler, AZ 85286
The restaurant's interior is upscale casual contemporary — bright, spacious, and bathed in an inviting palette of grays and creams with light wood and metal accents. An indoor-outdoor bar, with a polished concrete counter and a roll-up window, leads to a comfortable patio. The dining area features an abundance of booths, tables, and plastic-like chairs, which a server told me were made from recycled soda cans. (An environmentally conscious gesture, but one that's a bit brutal on the behind.) A closet-size glass enclosure sports wines and curing meats and sits kitty-corner from a white, wall-size art piece featuring cooking words playfully arranged in block type.
The atmosphere is pleasing, though the one intrusive flat-screen TV in the dining room and blackboards listing specials (visible to only a third of the restaurant) are confusing décor choices. At center stage is a high communal table, which, given the abundance of space in the restaurant, seems more a showpiece than a functional dining table. There's even a drive-thru (a drive-thru?) offering barista-made coffees, juices, and smoothies.
Upscale yet casual eatery, intimate neighborhood gathering place, or on-the-go coffee stop? Answer: all of the above. And then some.
Like the setting, the menus at BLD struggle to find an identity.
Each of the three — in addition to daily specials, side dish selections, and a build-your-own entrée section during dinner — offers a wide array of choices, mixing classic comfort foods with more upscale fare and even a few Southwestern selections. Breakfast items include fried chicken and bacon-studded waffles, crab cake Benedict, and green chile pork tostadas; lunch offers a prosciutto salad, grilled chicken and Brie sandwich, and an open-face meatloaf patty melt; and, at dinner, there's a seared ahi appetizer, along with entrées such as vegetable pasta primavera, a chef's burger, and beef tenderloin.
Unfortunately, the "B" in BLD did not get me off to a great start. The breakfast burrito, packed with braised short rib, scrambled eggs, French fries, avocado, roasted peppers, and pepper jack wrapped in a spinach tortilla was put together in a most peculiar way — meat in one half and everything else in the other. Deconstructing the burrito and mixing its ingredients on the plate proved the best way to tackle this dish. Even then, the short rib barely made itself known.
The saving grace of the open-face breakfast sandwich was the velvety, house-cured prosciutto, which I plucked from the top to savor on its own. The overseasoned focaccia bread very nearly stole the show from the pleasant taste of egg, Dijonaise, and fontina cheese. A decent cup of cappuccino washed it down.
While the eggs Benedict arrived cold and sans hollandaise (returning from the kitchen, it had been sauced, but, sadly, was even colder than before), the most disappointing breakfast dish was the fried chicken and bacon-studded waffles. One of the most expensive breakfast items on the menu ($13), it too arrived cold, amounting to little more than a boneless slab of bland chicken breast coated in a thin and equally tasteless breading alongside hardened waffle slices that tasted more store-bought than house-made.
Lunch mixed the strange with the satisfying, with a side of overseasoning. In the strange category, the green pork chile dip appetizer was too watery to be truly scoop-able. And the spinach tortilla it was served with was useless as a scoop. Once I figured out the dip was best approached with a fork, I found it thin and briny, not at all what I would expect from the classic Southwestern dish.
And my expectations of gooey, cheesy goodness on the grilled cheese of the day were dashed by warm chunks of mozzarella between barely toasted wheat bread. Still, it fared better than the fried chicken sandwich, which, unfortunately, featured breakfast's same tasteless breaded chunk of chicken — this time on a dry bun. Even the slices of sweet pickles on top couldn't save it.
Hits included the chef's burger, a rich and flavorful house-ground patty comprising filet mignon, short rib, and top sirloin, topped with Gruyère, spicy Russian sauce, and arugula, as well as two outstanding salads: the prosciutto and the smoked salmon Cobb. The former featured BLD's house-made prosciutto with sweet strawberries and melons, crunchy cashews, a deep-fried dollop of goat cheese, and a light poppy seed vinaigrette. The latter was a successful variation on the traditional Cobb — light yet filling, with smoked salmon, tomato, avocado, hard-boiled egg, bacon, and Ranch dressing.
Since this restaurant is mentioned on this disgusting racist lib rag you can bet your brown ass I will never spend my money there. That goes for any other business that appears on this racist website/publication. Fuck the new times.
Your review is spot on and good to see after the undeservedly positive "fluff" piece printed in Chow Bella a few weeks ago.
This place opened with promised but just can't seem to get it together and get it right. Food is inconsistent and mostly done poorly. Service has become abysmal. Living nearby we've given them several tries as it's the kind of place you WANT to like and want to see succeed but each time has been more and more of a disappointment and we've finally sworn off.
Given the many issues they have, and the fact they can't seem to get them right(really how many complaints and reviews about cold food do they need to try and figure out how to get the food out hot?) I don't think they'll be long for the world.
I want to like the place. Most of the food is really bad. But a few of the items are really good. I hope they figure it out.
Seeing as you spend most of you're time on this rag's website, I'm sure you have neither the time, nor money to spend at any establishment that doesn't cater to the $1 menu crowd. Good luck with the meth, maybe the government with subsidize your sterilization.We don't need any more of you in the gene pool.
You do realize that the restaurants featured in here aren't paid advertisements. As shitty as the New Times (and all of their affiliations such as the Westword) are they don't need permission from an establishment to publish anything about them. So boycotting restaurant based on the fact that they appeared in the New Times is just as closed minded and ignorant as the racists you claim run the publication.