The credit begins with Douglas Rodriguez, celebrity chef from back East, and father of the unique cuisine now known as Nuevo Latino. He's the big name behind Latin-influenced Deseo. But the award goes to Deseo's actual chef de cuisine, Mark Dow, who is flawlessly crafting Rodriguez's recipes and bringing brand-new excitement to the Valley's dining scene.

We rarely see arepas locally, and never like this, the Cuban corn cakes lavish with raw quail egg, caviar and crème fraîche. We've never had such spectacular ceviche, either, such as a "rainbow" presentation of sashimi-grade slabs of layered halibut and salmon, and of ahi with red and green chiles in a brilliant marinade of soy sauce, citrus juices, red onions and cilantro. And there's true genius behind a clever plate of plantain-crusted halibut, pan-seared with sliced banana, sautéed spinach, bacon and cherry tomatoes.

Deseo is Spanish for "desire." With a ravishing menu like this, there's no question we do.

Readers' Choice: Bar Nun

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