Hunger in the Night: I got a call from a reader who doesn't get off work until well after 9 p.m. His problem: finding dinner somewhere besides a fast-food drive-through or coffee shop. "Everything's closed up by 10 during the week," he complained. "Can you find something for me?"
It hasn't been easy. Scores of calls produced only a handful of restaurants that serve dinner up to at least 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Okay, pal, here's a nonexhaustive list. But make sure you call and double-check closing times before you go. Restaurants change their hours about as frequently as they change their daily specials.
Blue Burrito Grille, 3118 East Camelback, 955-9596. A pretty spot featuring tasty, heart-smart Mexican fare. Cheap, too, if you lay off the alcohol. Check out the blue corn enchiladas.
Goldie's Neighborhood Sports Cafe, 10135 East Via Linda, Scottsdale, 451-6269. A sports bar with terrific food? It sounds about as likely as the Cardinals in the playoffs. But Goldie's is good enough to frequent even with the televisions turned off. Try the steak sandwich on homemade focaccia.
Eddie's Grill, 4747 North Seventh Street, 241-1188. One of the city's smartest-looking restaurants, run by one of the more inventive chefs. The seared sirloin steak, encased in mashed potato and two cheeses, will easily see you through 'til breakfast.
Salt Cellar, 550 North Hayden, Scottsdale, 947-1963. If you've got a late-night urge to go fishing, drop your line here. The seafood is fresh, and expertly prepared.
Euro Cafe, 1111 South Longmore, Mesa, 962-4224. Late-night eats in Mesa? Where folks eat lunch at 11 a.m., dinner at 4, and breakfast before they go to bed? No, you're not dreaming--you're at Euro Cafe. Massive piles of wonderful Greek/Italian food. If you'd like leftovers for the next few days, order the calzone. Planet Hollywood, 2402 East Camelback (Biltmore Fashion Park), 954-7827. Keep your eyes off the gaping tourists and third-rate movie schlock so you won't lose your appetite. Then order something simple, like a burger or a salad, that the kitchen can't do too much damage to.
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El Chorro Lodge, 5550 East Lincoln, Paradise Valley, 948-5170. The kitchen stays open until 10:45 p.m., not 11, but the food is good enough to make me overlook the 15-minute difference. The steaks are prime, and the fish right out of the sea. Don't bother with dessert--just ask for another basket of the famous sticky buns.
Durant's, 2611 North Central, 264-5967. A Phoenix institution, this has been the place to make late-night deals over bourbon, steak and caesar salad for more than 40 years. (At least it used to be, until management recently started fiddling with the menu.) A good spot to unwind after a long day.
Orbit Cafe, Central and Camelback (Uptown Plaza), 265-2354. A coffee house turned dinner and jazz cafe. Depending on your appetite, you can range from snacks and full meals to desserts and coffee.
Bamboo Club, 2596 East Camelback (Biltmore Fashion Park), 955-1288. Trendy Pan-Asian cooking in a trendy setting. The clever menu divides dishes into their mode of preparation: e.g., deep-fried, barbecued, noodled, steamed.--Howard Seftel