What's New: Sometimes it seems like no one has had an original restaurant idea in the Valley since the Hohokam fished ahi tuna out of the Salt River and brushed on a teriyaki glaze.
I don't know what to think of Edward's, but no one can accuse this new place of serving the same old stuff everyone else is.
Let the press release speak for itself: Edward's "is the only African American-owned upscale restaurant in the Valley serving exquisite Southern U.S.A. and Northern Italian cuisine."
Yes, you've read right. Edward's menu includes Southern dishes like gumbo, Cajun chicken, barbecued ribs, crab cakes and catfish, along with sides of collard greens, candied yams and macaroni and cheese. It also includes Northern Italian dishes like carpaccio, shrimp scampi, linguini with clam sauce and veal piccata.
Dessert? Naturally, there's sweet potato pie. And, just as naturally, there's tiramisu.
If it's successful, you can be sure it won't be long before other restaurateurs try their own variation on this theme. No doubt someone will figure that if a Southern American/Northern Italian menu works, then so should a Northern American/Southern Italian menu. There'll be Boston clam chowder, Yankee pot roast, Chicago pizza, Philadelphia cheesesteaks and walleye from the Great Lakes. There'll also be spaghetti and meatballs, frutti di mare, lasagna and sausage and peppers.
Edward's is at 9619 North Hayden in Scottsdale, in Mountain View Plaza. Call 480-922-3567.
Over at Mary Elaine's, the fine-dining restaurant at the Phoenician, new chef James Boyce's menu is in place. (You'll recall he recently took over for George Mahaffey, who took over for Alessandro Stratta.) I'd call it French-accented Mediterranean. I'd also call it pricey.
Look for appetizers like cream of lobster soup ($19), foie gras with caramelized kumquats and lavender syrup ($29) and honey-glazed quail with sweet pea risotto and sweetbreads ($23).
Main dishes include pan-seared John Dory ($37), mesquite-grilled breast of squab ($37), veal chop ($38) and rack of lamb Niçoise ($43).
There's also a six-course, $110 chef's menu. It starts off with braised Maine lobster, then moves on to foie gras. The fish course is soft-shell crab, while the meat course features beef tenderloin. Then there's a cheese course, followed by dessert: nougat glace with candied grapefruit and Tahitian vanilla sauce. (I've had this dessert--it's stunning.)
And if you're still $55 under your credit-card limit, the sommelier will pour three-ounce glasses of wine matched to each course.
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For reservations call 480-941-8200.
This Bird Won't Fly: About a decade ago, far-seeing entrepreneurs believed that emu, an ostrichlike bird with half the fat of beef, was the animal protein of the future. They set up hundreds of emu ranches, anticipating meat-case riches.
It hasn't happened. Showcase, a specialty food trade magazine, reports that breeding birds that once sold for $6,000 a pair now go for as little as $60.
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