The cartoon mice in Steven Spielberg's Pinky and the Brain want to take over the world. Valley restaurateur Deborah Knight wants to bring the world to us, in her restaurant Mosaic, opened this week in north Scottsdale's Troon neighborhood.
Knight, chef and owner, has crafted a menu that emphasizes "global delicacies" and wines spanning the planet, she says, set in an ambiance that reflects a "sophisticated, New Western" art gallery experience.
This means upscale, eclectic appetizers like five-spice roasted quail, nest of pea shoots and hibiscus-tea sauce, duck consommé with morel mushrooms and truffle dumplings, or smoked salmon and sturgeon in a woven cucumber blanket with pickled vegetables and wasabi cream.
Mosaic's is a short menu, but a substantial one, with entrees such as grilled rack of lamb with garam masala (dry-roasted Indian spices) and almond apricot couscous, plus a mixed grill of wild boar chop, roasted Muscovy duck and seared loin of venison with rhubarb chutney and barley timbale.
I'm particularly looking forward to sampling the salads, including cold grilled asparagus in harissa (red chile) vinaigrette, or Nicoise salad topped with rare seared tuna and anchovy lemon caper vinaigrette. And here's something the Valley can use: Mosaic offers a vegetarian tasting menu (fish and game tastings are available, too).
Another refreshing touch is the decor, showcasing the talents of our local artists on a rotating basis.
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It's taken almost a year to get Mosaic up and running, but it's got a built-in audience even during the typically slow dining-out summer months. Tucked next door to the Four Seasons Resort, the restaurant at Jomax and Alma School is virtually within walking distance for the hotel's affluent guests.
Knight's not a familiar name in the Valley, but she's got credentials. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, she trained at Scottsdale's former 8700 Restaurant, and the Miraval Health and Wellness Spa in Tucson. Other stints have included a position as sous-chef at Colorado's Zagat-award winning European Cafe, and a private catering business.
Just in case global food and wine isn't enough, Mosaic's got gimmicks. Guests are handed warm scented linen towels to "refresh," and tables include cameras to capture that special occasion.
Arriba Arriving: Arriba Mexican Grill has expanded from its original Camelback and 18th Street location. The tasty, New Mexican-style cantina is now at Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, and has opened at Pima and Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale.