The Roosevelt Tavern
So far, we haven't been feeling the so-called "gastropubs" that have shown up on the scene this year — they all seem like a trickle-down trend, inspired by something that blew up in other major cities (but not here) years ago. But you know what? The Roosevelt has been pretty much a gastropub all along, even though owner Matt Pool would never call it that. Technically, this place is a bar that serves food, not a straight-up restaurant. (You'll see what we mean if you attempt to dine here on a night when it's packed shoulder-to-shoulder and there's nowhere to sit.) But it's darn good if you do get to dig in. Gourmet hot dogs, an amazing hot pretzel with two kinds of mustard, homemade dips with chips, and wonderful tomato soup with a crispy grilled cheese — these all go well with the badass beers on the menu, but to be honest, we come here to eat even when drinking's not on the agenda.
Atlas Bistro
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
Honestly, the fact that you can bring your own wine (or buy some at the adjoining wine shop) is not the biggest reason to check out Atlas. We'd still love this place even if we were teetotalers, because chefs Joshua Riesner and Keenan Bosworth are cooking up some very impressive contemporary American cuisine here. The menu changes all the time, putting organic farmer Bob McClendon's heirloom vegetables to good use with exquisite ingredients such as Sonoma veal sweetbreads, buffalo, pheasant, and Australian lamb. Housemade charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, and scrumptious seasonal desserts prove that these guys put care into the smallest details. And if you do have a bottle of wine that you've been saving for just the right time, dinner at Atlas is all the special occasion you'll need.
Atlas Bistro
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
Honestly, the fact that you can bring your own wine (or buy some at the adjoining wine shop) is not the biggest reason to check out Atlas. We'd still love this place even if we were teetotalers, because chefs Joshua Riesner and Keenan Bosworth are cooking up some very impressive contemporary American cuisine here. The menu changes all the time, putting organic farmer Bob McClendon's heirloom vegetables to good use with exquisite ingredients such as Sonoma veal sweetbreads, buffalo, pheasant, and Australian lamb. Housemade charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, and scrumptious seasonal desserts prove that these guys put care into the smallest details. And if you do have a bottle of wine that you've been saving for just the right time, dinner at Atlas is all the special occasion you'll need.
Le Chalet
Is it the bubbling bowl of molten cheese delivered to the table with soft hunks of bread, perfect for sparking conversation and a little dinnertime fun? Could it be your waiter flipping booze bottles behind the bar when he's not regaling you with drool-worthy food descriptions? Or is it perhaps the old-school performance art of a cook dousing hunks of beef with whiskey and flambé-ing them tableside as meaty juices drip onto a platter of rice? It's probably all of the above that makes Le Chalet a hell of a fun place to dine. And did we mention that they have TV screens showing someone in your kitchen making your crepe? Yep, that adds to the experience, too.
Posh Improvisational Cuisine
Sit at the long, gleaming counter at Posh, check your likes and dislikes on the unorthodox menu of ingredients, and settle in for a leisurely meal that's custom-made just for you. It sounds a heck of a lot like an omakase meal at a sushi bar, but this is something else — contemporary American cuisine with French influences (brûléed foie gras torchon) as well as Asian touches (raw bluefin tuna served three ways). Of course, it comes as no surprise to find out that chef-owner Joshua Hebert has worked in Japan and has brought back an appreciation for the way sushi chefs personalize the dining experience for each customer. Hang out at Posh's counter and you won't just see Hebert at work. You'll also get to meet the man behind the food.
Postino Wine Cafe
What's the secret to success for this always-hoppin' winebar (which cloned itself last year, yet still has its mojo)? Somehow, the folks at Postino have found the sweet spot of style, service, and accessible food, whether you're talking a lively weekend brunch with friends, after-work vino and a bite, or a cozy, candlelit meal with a date. The selection of salads, bruschetta, cheeses, and sandwiches is simple but perfectly suited to go with one of the wines from the eclectic rotating menu; you can also buy by the bottle and take a little bit of the fun vibe home with you. Cheers to the good life at Postino.
The Parlor Pizzeria
Heather Hoch
Hitting the town with somebody new? Tasty eats like grilled asparagus with preserved lemon, delicious handmade pastas (we love the tagliatelle with speck, grilled radicchio, and pecorino crema), juicy burgers, and, of course, pizzas make this parlor a favorite for both lunch and dinner. Craft cocktails, beer, and wine keep conversation well lubricated, so to speak, and if it turns out that your date isn't all that interesting, there's plenty of fun people-watching in the dining room, outdoor patio, and bar area. You can't go wrong with The Parlor.
J&G Steakhouse
Courtesy of J&G Steakhouse
It doesn't matter whether it's a clear, starry night, a hazy pink sunset, or the middle of an electrical storm, there's no better place to dine and get an eyeful of the Valley than from J&G Steakhouse. Perched up at The Phoenician, facing south, celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's stylish steakhouse has vast city views that compete with the excellent steakhouse fare coming out of chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin's kitchen. While we prefer to get the deluxe treatment in the dining room, the views are just as good from the lounge, where you can order a burger and beer and get a taste of the J&G experience at a sweet price.
Modern Steak
Courtesy of Modern Steak
Steaks here are delicious, but there's more than meats, er, meets the eye at Modern Steak. We also adore the lovely, fresh salads, quirky eats like the foot-long Kobe beef hotdog, appealing seafood dishes such as miso-glazed Chilean sea bass with crispy oyster mushrooms, and desserts that aren't just an afterthought (a sampler of moist cupcakes, crowned with creamy frosting, is our favorite). What's more, the scene here is packed with tasty eye candy — just wading through the crowd to get to the bar makes for interesting people-watching, and the cleverly shaded patio makes dining right next to the Fashion Square parking lot seem genuinely desirable. Who'da thunk it?
Sick of typical dips? Scoop up something with a little snap from Sabeur Ruin, a.k.a. Dr. Hummus. A native of North Africa, Ruin regularly prescribes his chickpea concoctions as the cure-all for dull party fare. A secret family recipe handed down from his grandmother, the hummus comes in four flavors, including Original, Artichoke, Garlic, and as a nod to Ruin's adopted hometown of Phoenix, Spicy Jalapeño. Pair one of these with Dr. Hummus' homemade pita chips and you've got a healthful snack that is just what the doctor ordered.

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