Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gladly, the new American restaurant from Chef Bernie Kantak, Andrew Fritz, and mixologist Richie Moe (Citizen Public House), opened last Saturday, making it the latest of several anticipated restaurant openings in the Valley this year.
With five of the best restaurants of 2013 (so far) making my list last week, and several more still to come, which ones are Valley chefs most excited about? I asked a few of them and this is what they had to say.
Chef James Fox, Bootleggers
I have to start off by saying that one of my favorite restaurants in the Valley is The Parlor. That said, I'm excited for chef Jared Porter's modern noodle and dumpling house [Clever Koi] to open. I have been saying for the last few years that I hope the concept of Asian comfort food will gain speed in our culinary landscape.
Chef Matt Taylor, Market Street Kitchen
I was really happy when I heard my dear friend Gio Osso was opening Virtú. He's very talented and I love his cooking -- not to mention he's an awesome dude and the biggest Van Halen fan I know.
Jeff Kraus Chef and Owner, Crepé Bar
The Gladly, simply because the gang from Citizen Public House -- especially Andrew [Fritz] and his crew -- are spot on for creating great experiences, and the Clever Koi from the brilliant Jared Porter and Joe Abslor. Also, something in Tempe that has life and is near Crêpe Bar. This area is starving for more flavor.
Chef Taylor Domet, North, Kierland Commons
I can't wait for our new Fox restaurant The Henry [the casual American restaurant opening this fall under the Fox Restaurant Concepts headquarters on Camelback Road and 44th Street] to open up. It'll be our first boutique since The Arrogant Butcher, and it's going to be the hottest spot in town!
Aaron Eckburg, Owner, Go Lb. Salt
Southern Rail is definitely at the top of the list for me. Chef Beckett has done a great job with Beckett's Table and the concept of elevated Southern comfort food in such an historic location would get just about anyone's juices flowing.
Chef Chris Nicosia, Sassi
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, so Portillo's could not open fast enough when we heard that they were coming to the Valley. A few of us at Sassi actually had a rolling countdown going.
Chef Massimo De Francesca, Taggia at FireSky Resort & Spa, Kimpton Hotel
Bink's Midtown has been on my list of places to visit simply because of chef Binkley's great reputation. He's the most innovative chef in the Valley.
Chef Chris Knouse, The Wigwam
Slanted Rice Bistro hopefully opening in November in the Hilton Village on Scottsdale road. I enjoy Rice Paper and Saigon Kitchen which are two restaurants by the same family. Slanted Rice is going to be like a combination of both.
Jon Lane Owner, O.H.S.O.
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I'm going with a brewery: Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. Haven't seen their food or heard what they're doing, but the beer is gonna be out if this world!
Michael O'Dowd, Chef and Owner, Renegade by MOD
Fork & Torque because it's mine and I can't wait for you all to come out to enjoy it!