Best Destination Dining - 2010
What makes Kai such a standout? Let us count the ways. First, there's the beautiful resort setting, with dining-room views overlooking both the pool and a vast stretch of desert. Servers address you by name, bring you chilled or warmed flatware depending on the course, deliver dishes in unison, and are well-schooled on the finer points of sophisticated cuisine. It's a good thing they're so knowledgeable and attentive, because even the most obsessive gourmet will find something unusual here to talk about, whether it's the provenance of the extra virgin olive oil (Kai's signature blend from Queen Creek), or the use of exquisite desert delicacies such as cholla buds, scarlet runner beans, and saguaro seeds. Executive chef Michael O'Dowd creates unique, regionally inspired dishes that are unlike anything else in the state; poached arctic char with fennel pesto, and grilled tenderloin of buffalo with smoked corn puree are two specialties that should put Kai on everyone's epicurean map.