Restaurant Update: New Valley restaurants are opening so fast I can hardly keep up. Here are some of the more interesting places I'm looking forward to visiting:
* Harris': That well-known San Francisco steak house is opening a branch near 32nd Street and Camelback. The stretch on Camelback between 22nd Street and 32nd Street may soon be known as Steak House Row: Ruth's Chris, Morton's of Chicago and now Harris'.
* Omaha Steakhouse: Add another steak house to the row. This place is going into the Embassy Suites, 26th Street and Camelback, next to Biltmore Fashion Park. The hotel has been looking for a signature restaurant for a number of years. Maybe Omaha Steakhouse will be it.
* Lantana Grill: It's at Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak, 7677 North 16th Street, in the space that used to house Beside the Pointe. Look for a Southwestern/Mediterranean-themed menu.
* European Bistro: Attention west-siders! This one sounds intriguing. Dishes from Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Russia, Denmark and Turkey. Among the promised specialties: Sir Gordon cream tomato soup (made with gin); a Bavarian sausage salad; and plukfisk, a Danish dish of steamed cod served with boiled potatoes. The address is 2530 West Camelback.
* Cowboy Ciao: I'm not making this up. The place describes itself as "a collision of Tex-Mex and Italian." Yikes. Can we look forward to lasagna fajitas, or maybe an eggplant Parmesan burrito? You can check it out at the intersection of Stetson and Sixth Avenue in Scottsdale.
* Tulupa: This new venture is set in one of the best restaurant venues in the Valley--the pedestrian-friendly mall by Scottsdale Center for the Arts. The chef comes from the Boulders, and is offering "eclectic American cuisine." That means steaks, vegetarian fare and pasta with chicken in a saffron sauce.
* La Madelaine: There's a smaller, quick-service version in Scottsdale's Fashion Square. This place, set in the old Hungry Hunter at 3102 East Camelback, promises "country-French cuisine." Hope it's as good as the late, lamented French Corner.
The Wright Stuff: All is not well at the swanky Arizona Biltmore resort.
For several months, management has been trolling for an executive chef to oversee the Biltmore's restaurants. In particular, the honchos have been desperately looking to fix up Wright's, the resort's high-end dining room that has been drifting in high-priced mediocrity ever since it replaced L'Orangerie a few years ago.
Their problems seemed to be over in early October, when management announced that Robert McGrath, a big-name, award-winning chef at the Phoenician's Windows on the Green, would be taking over.
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But the deal fell through, and the Biltmore is resuming its search. Meanwhile, Wright's continues drifting. If you do want to eat at the resort, you're much better off at its excellent casual restaurant, the Biltmore Patio & Grill.
Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,