Second Helpings

Steakout: Do you think this is still a cow town? Judging by the number of new steak restaurants that are opening, you'd be right. The only other place on earth where cows receive such reverential worship is India.

Three upscale steak houses are set to do business in Scottsdale, where the high-end demographics have restaurateurs drooling in anticipation.

Mastro's is at 8852 East Pinnacle Peak, at the intersection of Pima, on the northeast corner. It's run by the same folks who operate Marco Polo. Look for prime-grade beef and live entertainment.

Michael Monti's will operate just down the road, at 7500 East Pinnacle Peak. He's the same Monti behind Tempe's long-running La Casa Vieja. But this new place will be more up-market, though still casual. The kitchen, I'm told, will feature Angus beef. If this unit works out, look for two other branches to hit the Valley, possibly in Gilbert and on the west side, at Arrowhead.

And steak-maven Paul Fleming, who used to own the Valley's Ruth's Chris outlets, is coming to the Scottsdale Hilton next month with Fleming's Prime Steakhouse. As the name suggests, carnivores can expect top-of-the-line beef.

The big national chains aren't overlooking Scottsdale, either. Morton's of Chicago, which has been at 24th Street and Camelback for about three years, is forging another link--the 44th--in the chain. This one is at 15233 Kierland Boulevard, at Greenway Parkway.

Seeing Double: The economy is so good that several restaurants are opening second branches. The Marco Polo folks are doing Marco Polo Supper Club at 26th Street and Camelback, next to Hard Rock Cafe. The Original Pancake House is installed at the shopping complex on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Greenway Parkway. And C-Fu Gourmet, the wonderful Chandler Chinese restaurant, is about to begin operations on the southwest corner of 32nd Street and Lincoln.

Puttin' On the Ritz: Bistro 24, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel's snazzy restaurant, has gotten a menu makeover for 1999. The Gallic-themed fare looks intriguing. Among the new dishes: appetizers like oyster bisque with Guinness Stout; duck ravioli with mascarpone cheese; and lobster and potato gnocchi. New entrees include steamed halibut en papillote; roast duckling with foie gras and butternut squash puree; and beef Bourguignonne. Daily specials feature the likes of pot-au-feu on Thursday and bouillabaisse on Friday.

Prices are surprisingly reasonable, given the swanky location at the corner of 24th Street and Camelback. Most entrees are in the $17 to $22 range. And if you dine before 6:30 and purchase two entrees, management will give you a freebie bottle of house wine or two on-the-house desserts. For reservations, call 952-2424.

Meatless in Seattle: Attention, vegetarians! Ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere with nothing to eat? Those days are over. Just call (410) 366-8343 and order a copy of Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Natural Foods Restaurants in the U.S. and Canada($16). It has more than 2,000 listings.


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