Don't stampede, folks. But Ocotillo Restaurant and Bar is opening for dinner service for the first time tonight, Thursday, November 19. In addition to debuting the new dinner menu, the evening will include a performance from Flamenco Por La Vida from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and live music from DJ Sean Watson from 8:30 p.m. to close.
Owner/co-chef Walter Sterling says the dinner menu is "slightly different" from what diners already may have experienced at lunch. There's a whole pasta section (as opposed to the two pasta entrées on the lunch menu) that includes six dishes featuring extruded pastas. Dishes include house bucatini with tomato, chile flakes, garlic, basil, and Parmesan and lumache (that's a shell-shaped pasta) with squash, goat cheese, winter greens, and sage.
The menu also expands the selection of entrées and larger plates. There's a crispy whole fish with lemongrass, red curry, and shaved papaya; wood-fired beef ribs with mole espresso barbecue sauce; and Asian chicken dumplings with shitake broth, rice noodles, and ginger. Sterling says diners can also expect more desserts, and the restaurant's selection of seasonal vegetables will be available at both lunch and dinner.
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(Speaking of seasonal, you may notice a few changes to the salad section of the menu both at dinner and lunch as we head into the cool growing season, Sterling says.)
The restaurant, which opened about six weeks ago, occupies a sprawling complex on the southeast corner of Third and Flower streets in Central Phoenix. In addition to the Ocotillo dining room, there's O To-Go (a coffee bar), a beer garden/outdoor bar, and a large lawn with a stage and outdoor seating. Until now, Ocotillo has been open for lunch and weekend brunch only.
Sterling also says tonight's event will be a sort of kick-off for a weekly event with DJ Sean Watson. Moving forward, you'll be able to catch the DJ every Thursday night spinning new music at the restaurant.