Even if you've never heard of chef Michael O'Dowd, you've most certainly heard of Kai, the AAA five-diamond and Forbes Travel Guide five-star restaurant that O'Dowd, during his 10-year reign at the culinary destination, put on the map.
Now, following almost a year as executive chef at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown (a sister property of Kai), O'Dowd, partner Ed Leclere, and their newly formed company, Vivid Lifestyle Concepts, will take on a brand new challenge: Renegade by Mod in North Scottsdale.
Renegade by Mod (O'Dowds initials) is actually a re-launch/re-brand of Renegade Canteen (later Renegade Tap & Kitchen) in North Scottsdale, the former home of chefs Aaron May and, originally, James Beard Award winner Robert McGrath, who brought his notable Southwestern style to the restaurant when it opened it 2010.
Set to open at 5:30 p.m. this Friday, May 24, Renegade by Mod, located at 9343 East Shea Boulevard, has been called the "base camp, with more concepts to come" by O'Dowd. And from the sounds of it, the chef and first-time restaurateur 's first restaurant isn't holding back on the thrills.
"Eclectic doesn't quite cut it," says O'Dowd. "More like electric."
O'Dowd's menu, a selection of familiar dishes with unfamiliar twists, includes small plates like venison lollipops dusted with dry mole ($14) and a "Goblet of Greens with Wild Ramps and Candied Pecan Soil" ($10). Globally inspired entrees feature dishes such as smoked Korean short ribs ($27) and "Twisted Ramen Noodles Scented with Lobster Miso ($30), a dish O'Dowd creates with a lengthy list of ingredients such as foie gras, lobster knuckles, quail egg, and truffles.
For dessert, look for dishes like a bread pudding made with cherries, rosemary, bacon, and Irish Whiskey sauce ($8) and a moon pie with an RC Cola anglaise ($8).
The inventive food will be matched by an equally imaginative bar program. In addition, the remodeled space will include "tagged" walls by local artist Lalo Cota and a live music stage.
Reservations for Renegade by Mod's opening weekend are recommended.
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Renegade by Mod 9343 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale 480-614-9400 www.renegadescottsdale.com (not active at the time of this post)
Hours: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday
Here's the Menu: