Welcome to The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.
Up next, the smoked prime rib at Texaz Grill.
34: Smoked Prime Rib at Texaz
Despite any personal thoughts on country music, honky-tonk décor, or the Lone Star State in general, just having a seat anywhere in Texaz Grill is an essential part of visiting or residing in the Valley. And the quintessential menu item? The Smoked Prime Rib.
Found on the dinner menu (available daily from 4 to 10 p.m.), the Texaz rib roast is smoked over pecan, and cut to order on the premises from USDA, aged beef. You’ll see not a speck of tenderizer or seasoning on that cut, as Texaz only uses a sprinkle of kosher salt. The prime rib is served with horseradish and smoky au jus, plus choice of salad or cole slaw, the housemade mashed potatoes under thick, white gravy or the Texaz fries, and buttermilk biscuits, wheat rolls, and butter. A regular cut will run you $23, and the Mulligan is $28.
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The atmosphere at Texaz is a thrill to describe. It opened in 1985, and it doesn’t look like much has changed – in a good way. It’s covered wall to wall in framed photos of diners and cowboy-culture hot shots. A Luckenbach City Limit sign hangs above the bar (staffed with fantastic bartenders), while a Nolan Ryan poster is tacked to the ceiling of the ladies room. Baseball caps, neon Shiner Bock and other beer signs, license plates, and hilarious old bumper stickers cover every other bit of exposed surface.
But don’t cross this dish off your bucket list until it’s plated in front of you, because as the menu states, “We only cook so much of it so we may run out ... Sorry.”
The Essentials so far:
50: Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore.
49: "Dragon" Dumpling Burger at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
48: Dizzy Fig Empanada at Republica Empanada.
47: Linguine Carbonara at Avanti.
46: The Food Court at Mercado de los Cielos.
45: Chicken Feta Salad at George’s Kitchen.
44: Spinach & Cheese Chimi Burro at Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant.
43: Dinner at Rustler's Rooste.
42: Gyro Omelet at Mel's Diner.
41: Zipps Wings at Zipps Sports Grill.
40: Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.
39: Asian Nachos at Moto.
38: Olive Oil Tasting at Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill.
37: Baby Back Ribs at Don & Charlie's.
36: Limoncello at Cibo.
35: Chili Salt Chicken Wings at Asian Café Express