Best Seasonal Cuisine - 2009
There are actually two ways to experience the seasons at Quiessence. The first is simply to appreciate the setting itself — situated at the far end of the Farm at South Mountain, the restaurant is surrounded by lush trees and vegetation that provide so much of the relaxing ambiance here, no matter what time of year it is. And if you can snag a table outside on a glorious Arizona evening, even better. But "seasonal" is also at the heart of executive chef Greg LaPrad's daily menu, an ever-changing lineup that reflects what's fresh from local farms and purveyors (including Maya's Farm, right outside). That means you can count on ramps and fava beans in the springtime, locally grown squash in the fall. Besides the of-the-moment entrees, you can also expect excellent housemade salumi, an impressive list of artisanal cheeses, and mouthwatering desserts that are just as seasonally inspired as the savory stuff. Dinner at Quiessence is worthy of special occasions. We're pretty much always in the mood, no matter the season.