Best Upscale Mexican Restaurant - 2010
A lot of hearts were broken when La Hacienda, the iconic fine-dining spot at the Fairmont, closed in 2008. But in January, the grand dame returned to the Valley scene looking refreshed and ready for another turn in the spotlight. This time, the restaurant has acclaimed executive chef Richard Sandoval — a Mexico City native who's famous for his modern Mexican cuisine, with more than a dozen eateries around the world — as well as chef de cuisine Forest Hamrick, who was with the restaurant when it previously earned the elite AAA Four Diamond award for three years running. They've crafted a menu that interprets traditional dishes for a sophisticated contemporary palate. Here, the classic red snapper dish, Huachinango a la Veracruzana, comes with smoked bacon fufu and tomato olive caper sauce, while crispy corn sopes topped with carnitas are embellished with black bean puree, Napa cabbage, and pickled onion.