When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Morning Squeeze Location: 4233 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Open: Five days. Eats: American breakfast and lunch. Price: $11 to $30 per person.
It's a beautiful morning for opening weekend at Morning Squeeze, Scottsdale's newest breakfast and lunch spot (formerly Jimmy Woo's) from the Old Town Group, the restaurant team behind Stingray Sushi, Geisha A-Go-Go, and El Santo Restaurant + Patio Bar. The Scottsdale scene has arrived in force to pack the place proper: Men in Ferrari jackets, high-heeled women sporting Louis Vuitton handbags, and small dogs sporting even smaller Louis Vuitton bags and Ferrari jackets (that last part is made up: the bag and the jacket, not the dog, but a cute image, right?)
"We're getting our asses handed to us today," I overheard a manager say.
It was true.
Getting a cup of brewed coffee meant a wait time of around 20 minutes, breakfast or lunch dishes were taking around an hour. This, after diners at the bar, on the open patio with a street view, and inside the sprawling dining area with its lime green leatherettes, bright colors, and touches of flora, selected their meals from jumbo-sized menus listing almost 100 familiar breakfast and lunch items (not including drinks, smoothies, and five meals for dogs). Aloof servers seemed a bit irritated with the idea of service.
The payoff for the wait was well-prepared, but mediocre fare in regard to flavor.
A Mexican Breakfast Burrito ($9) featuring a mix of scrambled eggs, hash browns, black beans, and barely there chorizo, cheese, and salsa fresca inside a decent tortilla was topped with a sweet and tangy (too tangy) green sauce that couldn't elevate it's average taste. A side of country potatoes, lightly seasoned and mixed with bell peppers, came close to feeling like an afterthought.
You've probably had better chicken fried steak and eggs in the Valley. Although the gravy on Morning Squeeze's version ($12 w/ biscuits, $10 without) was very good -- not too thin and with a nice undertone of pepper -- its wimpy, thin wedges of dry breaded steak (albeit with a good coating) and cold biscuits made for a rather lackluster plate for an a.m. dish most known for its heartiness.
With its chaotic opening weekend behind it, perhaps Morning Squeeze will get some time to access its dishes and level of customer service. I'm curious to come back and try more.
Morning Squeeze 4233 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 480-945-4669 www.MorningSqueeze.com
Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday