Chow Bella

After Many Delays, Matt Carter Opens The House in Old Town

See also: Chef Matt Carter to Open New Restaurant in Scottsdale See also: Here's the Lineup for This Year's Dine Out With the Chef's Event

After weeks of delay, Matt Carter, Terry Ellisor and Brian Raab quietly opened The House at 6936 E. Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale on Wednesday night. The partners had planned to open the restaurant -- housed in a charming 1929 bungalow said to be the second oldest house in Scottsdale -- earlier in the summer, but they had issues with the city over the interior sprinklers, installed in case of fire.

Carter says the place still has a number of minor logistical issues to be resolved, but the city and the fire marshall have signed off on everything, and now they're up and running.

Monday and Tuesday nights were devoted to trial runs with friends and family. Thursday night, without any media coverage whatsoever, The House did 90 covers.

When I walked around late yesterday afternoon, the place was swarming with staff getting ready for service. The interior conjures a classy, 19th Century bordello -- with maybe a hint of European bistro -- thanks to flocked wallpaper, crystal chandeliers and lots of mirrors.

Past the French doors along the west wall lies a charming patio outfitted with a massive brick fireplace and shaded by a huge old tree. According to Carter, the story goes that the tree was planted 70+ years ago, after the family who lived there used it as a Christmas tree. True or not, it's a great story and a great tree. We're all going to want to spend time here.

Meanwhile, the menu, which Carter describes as "American with European touches" reads like a dream. Here are just a few menu offerings to whet your appetite:

Salads include:

Kale salad, miso peppercorn dressing, grilled lemon ($8)

Appetizers include:

Blue Point oysters, charred peach chili mignonette (6 for $15)

Domestic Salumis ($6 each, $16 per tasting)

Main Dishes include:

Duck confit, foie gras agnolotti, hazelnut, grilled butternut squash ($20)

Lamb Bolognese, buttered linguine, mint, lemon mascarpone ($22)

Spiced pork sausage, smoked Gouda mashed potatoes, dried plum ($19) Shared Plates include:

Char-grilled Berkshire pork belly, kimchee, udon noodle, fried egg ($9)

House-cured ham, caramelized sweet onion, pickle creme fraiche

House brisket and biscuit, chili jam, white cheddar ($8)

Shrimp and grits, smoked pork, ham glaze, charred onions ($12)

Family-style dishes include:

Whole-roasted Jidori chicken, charcoal potatoes, sherried cream ($48)

Sides include:

Basil and Brie Smashed Fingerling Potatoes ($6)

Grilled broccoli carbonara, pancetta, egg, black pepper ($6)

Shaved pork belly, fried rice, kimchee, creme fraiche ($8)

It skews Southern to me, but really, there's a little bit of everything here, an American melting pot, you might say, and it ALL sounds good. Carter says the staff just calls the food "WMW," which means, "Whatever Matt Wants." Works for me. Whatever Matt wants, I want too.

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Nikki Buchanan