Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails is the downtown restaurant Phoenix has been waiting for: a true urban gathering place of dusky lights and reclaimed wood, alive with the sounds of cocktail shakers and colloquy, perfumed with smoky ham, fried quail, and fresh-baked brick-oven bread.

Opened in June, the restaurant's contemporary trappings — located on the second floor of the new Hotel Palomar at CityScape — may be decidedly city-sleek, but Blue Hound chef Stephen Jones isn't above mixing his versions of corn dogs, tater tots, and Mexican pozole in with the Hamachi crudo and duck confit flatbread. A blending of sophistication and familiarity, Jones' contemporary American and local-ingredient-driven menu is one that Blue Hound's guests, from the traveling business set to downtown denizens, can enjoy equally.

Most of Jones' dishes are hits. The ones that aren't simply fall below the culinary bar of originality the chef has set for himself (and his diners). And given that most of them are available as small plates or in two sizes, sharing is a smart way to explore the offerings, contrast and compare, and find a new favorite or two.

The “Tucson” Seafood Chowda is a heaping pile of ghost chiles, mussels, clams and bacon, bathing in a
tomato broth.
Evie Carpenter
The “Tucson” Seafood Chowda is a heaping pile of ghost chiles, mussels, clams and bacon, bathing in a tomato broth.
The KFQ Bobwhite Quail and the "Tuscon" Seafood Chowda a just two examples off of Blue Hound's new fall
menu.
Evie Carpenter
The KFQ Bobwhite Quail and the "Tuscon" Seafood Chowda a just two examples off of Blue Hound's new fall menu.
Blue Hound's Pot Pie mixes root vegetables, 'shrooms and swiss chard in a thick gravy and is topped with a
fluffy biscuit.
Evie Carpenter
Blue Hound's Pot Pie mixes root vegetables, 'shrooms and swiss chard in a thick gravy and is topped with a fluffy biscuit.
The Whiskey Richard, made with Elijah Craig 12 yr bourbon, Ramazzotti, blackberry pepper gastrique, sage,
egg and sarsaparilla, is one of the drinks from Blue Hound's whickey pull-out menu for the fall.
Evie Carpenter
The Whiskey Richard, made with Elijah Craig 12 yr bourbon, Ramazzotti, blackberry pepper gastrique, sage, egg and sarsaparilla, is one of the drinks from Blue Hound's whickey pull-out menu for the fall.
Billy Bob's #5 is made with Bulleit Rye, Kronen Swedish Punsch, guava, allspice and overproof rum lit in an
inside-out lime.
Evie Carpenter
Billy Bob's #5 is made with Bulleit Rye, Kronen Swedish Punsch, guava, allspice and overproof rum lit in an inside-out lime.
A blue hound statue watches over guests as they enjoy their dinner and drinks.
Evie Carpenter
A blue hound statue watches over guests as they enjoy their dinner and drinks.

Location Info

Map

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

2 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Central Phoenix

Details

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
2 East Jefferson Street
602-258-0231
www.bluehoundkitchen.com
Hours: Breakfast, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily; lunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily; dinner, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Tater tots: $6/$10
Bob’s Indian red peaches: $10
Grilled rainbow trout: $16/$26
Ancho chile braised pork neck: $17

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See the Complete Slideshow: Inside Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails in Downtown Phoenix

For openers, there is a tiny iron kettle filled with lightly fried, delicately crispy tater tots heavy with the flavor of smoked bacon and served with a lively French onion dip.

Hickman's Farm deviled eggs, said to be a six- to eight-hour process involving freezing then flash-frying the eggs to over-medium prior to applying a second eggy, mousse-like mixture on top, were, sadly, less interesting than their technique. Barely there brioche and stated flavors of smoked ham and Dijon fell woefully short, making these deviled eggs simply average. And although not listed as a starter, the crunchy street tacos (listed in the "Sea & Ocean" entrée category), stuffed with a bright bay scallop ceviche and topped with pickled red onions and cilantro, make for a sharable refresher before the main course.

Salads are as fresh as they are inventive. In one instance, Jones starts with dressing on the bottom. On top of the Thousand Island, a small garden of watercress and arugula tops generous, juicy slices of heirloom tomatoes and onions that are smoked, dipped in batter, and fried to a pleasing crunch. And red Indian peaches from McClendon's Select never tasted so scrumptious as they did when roasted and diced with delicately sweet Marcona almonds, creamy and soft fromage blanc, spicy pepper cress, and a drizzling of honey.

When it comes to the flatbreads, the one Jones tops with duck confit, pickled kumquats, roasted onions, Gruyère, and arugula is the most original. Featuring golden-tinged, crispy bread spread out over its wooden serving paddle, this unique mix of flavors — slightly sweet, succulent, and gently spiced — easily satisfies a hungry table.

Jones' version of the Mexican stew pozole may be, for now, the best dish on the menu. A heady, sweet-and-smoky concoction, the tender Ancho chile braised pork neck, cabbage, hominy, avocado, and pickled red onion topped with a fried egg and toasted bread (for soppin') arrived at the table nestled in a jet-black iron pan. The grilled rainbow trout, tender and mild with a crispy skin, however, comes dangerously close to matching the pozole — especially topped with sweet corn and atop a wonderful basil sauce. More inventive but just as tasty is the Kentucky-fried quail. Soaked overnight in buttermilk, it's fried to a golden, satisfying crunch and set atop foie gras-kissed cornbread over a thick pool of red beans and sausage gravy that's as good as red beans and sausage gravy gets.

Unless it is the lusciously creamy chocolate crème brûlée with a glistening top of crispy sugar served with housemade pecan sandies, desserts lack the overall proficiency and flavor power of the rest of the menu. In lieu of a dry caramelized upside-down cake or a lemon blueberry cheesecake (with little blueberry and less lemon), one might fare better with an after-dinner drink instead.

Which brings us to the cocktails portion of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. The novella-size booklet — loaded with Prohibition-era classics, signature creations, tequilas, and enough bourbons, scotches, and gins to fill a few liquor cabinets — may be more than what you'd care to page through, but the end result is worth it. And because the barkeeps, like the servers, are as knowledgeable as they are friendly, asking for a little help certainly couldn't hurt. My "Summer of Shandies..." made with Hanger One, lime, simple syrup, fresh cucumbers, and Coors Light, made for a refreshing drink and a perfect send-off to the season.

Then there is the downtown. Our downtown. And Blue Hound seems to have been built to make the most of it. Amid a bustling, low-lit bar of wood and mirrors one can feel its energy, floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining area give way to a view of its buildings, and an outdoor patio is the perfect spot for taking in its nighttime air.

It's a perfect match of city scene meets city restaurant. And in downtown Phoenix, that's worth raising a glass.

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2 comments
loosecannonsbluesban
loosecannonsbluesban

Do they have live music?  I'd love to get my band's promo materials to them!

voiceplaces
voiceplaces

@JuxtaPalate An awesome spot. Well deserved. Did you see the community reviews Blue Hound has on Voice Places so far? http://t.co/eAQEcgr6

 
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