As of last week, west Phoenix has a new destination for Native American fare, including fry bread, Native tacos, red chile with beef, and green chile with pork. Located at 1395 North 19th Avenue, Au-Authm Kitchen is a solid neighborhood find for those craving quick bites on the west side.
The restaurant comes from chef Christian Movassaghi. After spending 14 years as the chef of Arizona Room Patio Grill at Casino Arizona, Movassaghi opened the restaurant in part to showcase foods he enjoys as a member of the Salt River Tribe. The restaurant, however, offers a mix of cultural influences and indigenous foods.
“I grew up watching my grandmother cook cabbage stew and recipes with tepary beans," Movassaghi says. "This influenced my cooking style.”
Movassaghi started cooking when he was 15 years old. As a child, he loved the comic strip Garfield, about a lasagna-loving cat. He decided to make his version of lasagna, and hasn’t stopped pursuing his culinary pursuits since. He later attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute and Le Cordon Bleu, and decided to open Au-Authm Kitchen in 2015, after a trip to the emergency room for migraines. During the visit, Movassaghi learned he had Stage IV brain cancer. Three surgeries and several treatments later, the chef committed to fulfilling his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant.
The food is worthy of a try. Vegetarian Native tacos feature fry bread topped with pinto beans, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes. And for those craving a heartier meal, the red chili beef with fry bread will leave you feeling satisfied. After all the savory fare, go sweet with the plain popover with sugar and honey. Movassaghi doesn’t compromise on quality — the fry bread, for example, is made fresh daily — despite the fact that dishes come together quickly. It's affordable, too; items start at $2, and you can eat an entire meal for under $10.
In the next several weeks, Movassaghi will expand his menu to offer his Native American staples and celebrate his other culinary roots. The menu will include pastas and pizzas in addition to fry bread. Catering is also available.
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1395 North 19th Avenue
Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Saturday