BEST NEW AMERICAN CUISINE Phoenix 2004 - Ruby Beet Gourmet
Slow foodies go gaga over this Martha Stewart-esque eatery with its reliance on mostly organic produce and meat, its soft, fruity bread baked every day on the premises, and a menu that changes with the seasons. They swoon over the fried, panko-breaded olives stuffed with feta, or the warm peach and prosciutto salad tossed with baby arugula. And they're practically willing to give up their wallets for a bowl of house-made pasta or a pork chop from a pig lovingly raised in organic mud and spoon-fed heirloom veggies until it croaks from overindulgence. Okay, we admit, that part about the porker is a bit of an exaggeration, but Ruby Beet is the real deal when it comes to new American cuisine and slow food, which is why it wins kudos from us. All praise is due chef proprietor Karen Dawson, who's turned the elegant, picturesque Silva House in Heritage Square into ground zero for some innovative culinary fireworks. Now if we could only convince Ruby Beet to take in boarders, our retirement plans would be set.