We're working up our appetites for our huge Best of Phoenix issue, out September 30, with daily servings of Chow Bella's 100 Favorite Dishes from across the Valley -- in no particular order.
Visit our sister blog, Jackalope Ranch, for a companion series on 100 Creatives who make Phoenix a little more interesting for all of us. We'll be posting the next 4 picks leading up to this week's issue.
Number 5: Tuna tartare at BLT Steak
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In the same way that BLT Steak starts off dinner with chicken liver pate and hot, fragrant Gruyere popovers -- unusual for any restaurant -- this dish is an example of how chef Laurent Tourondel's swanky temple to high-end meat at Camelback Inn distinguishes itself from the stereotypical steakhouse. Rather than sticking to tradition, the kitchen serves an elegant tuna tartare with Asian flair.
Sashimi-grade bits of ruby-colored tuna are packed into a cube atop a foundation of ripe avocado -- both have a luxurious, silky texture that makes each bite practically melt on your tongue. But there's also perky soy-lime dressing to add just enough salt and acid to bring balance to the dish. A dash of sesame seeds give it a nutty component as well.
Tuna tartare itself might not be unusual, but at this stylish, cosmopolitan steakhouse, it becomes something memorable.