Mark your calendar: Arizona Restaurant Week is just around the corner. The fall edition of the popular biannual event runs September 15-24.
During the 10-day promotion, restaurants from around the state will offer a three-course prix-fixe menu for $33 or $44 per person, excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity. In past years, more than 100 restaurants have participated in the event.
With so many restaurants offering deals — and a relatively short window of time to try them all — it can be hard to figure out where to book your table. Lucky for us, many of the participating restaurants in metro Phoenix have already released their Restaurant Week menus. We've scoured the lists to find the most intriguing options and best values. In no particular order, here are 10 of the most promising Arizona Restaurant Week menus.
One more thing: You can make a reservation for any of these restaurants on the Arizona Restaurant Week website.
ZuZu Restaurant at Hotel Valley Ho
ZuZu, the restaurant at the retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, seems to be flexing its culinary muscles with its Restaurant Week menu. The three-course feast starts with several intriguing appetizer options, including Blue Hill Bay mussels served in beer broth, and spicy 24-hour baked beans served with a watermelon rind salad. Entrees include Hokkaido scallops served with black garlic short rib tortellini; a mushroom and fennel goat cheese tart; and a filet steak with a black garlic risotto. For dessert, it's hard to decide what sounds better: the peanut butter cheesecake or the praline panna cotta. And for $33 per person, the pricing couldn't get any better.
Before Seventh Street in north-central Phoenix became the destination for every hot new restaurant in town, there was Fuego Bistro, a tiny Latin-inspired restaurant and bar tucked into the residential neighborhood just south of Bethany Home Road. It's long been popular among neighborhood folks for its ropa vieja and mojitos, and its Restaurant Week menu doubles as a kind of primer to the restaurant. At $33 per person, this is also one of better deals you'll find during Arizona Restaurant Week. The three-course meal includes a shareable appetizer sampler, your pick of entrees (options include the house paella, pernil asado, and the aforementioned ropa vieja, which is made with braised Angus beef), plus one of the kitchen's slightly whimsical yet delicious desserts. Banana burrito, anyone?
Restaurant Week restaurant options seem to dwindle the deeper you travel into the west side. One notable exception is Litchfield's, the seasonally driven, farm-to-table restaurant located at the historic Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. The restaurant is offering a prix-fixe menu of $44 per person, which includes starters like a cucumber gazpacho served with mint and almonds. There are three entrees to choose from, including duck with rattlesnake beans; Scottish salmon in a beurré blanc; and homemade fettuccine. Orange sorbet with mascarpone and candied orange sounds like a very good way to finish your meal.
Nobuo at Teeter House
As usual, there are few details about the $44 three-course menu that chef Nobuo Fukuda is devising for the fall 2017 edition of Arizona Restaurant Week. But if history is any indication, the meal will more than likely be meticulously prepared and exquisitely served. We do know that it will begin with Hassun, a vegetable dish designed to evoke the season. For the second course, the restaurant is serving an unfussy yet elegant bento box course, with your choice of seafood or meat. The third course, dessert, remains a mystery. Part of the appeal of dining at Nobuo is simply basking in whatever dish Chef Fukuda, a James Beard Award winner, has masterminded for guests on any given night.
Phoenix City Grille
One of the most underrated neighborhood spots in nort -central Phoenix is the Phoenix City Grille, and it's developed a pretty irresistible menu for Arizona Restaurant Week. For $33 per person — the price includes a glass of wine — the meal includes appetizer options like roasted tomatillo and chicken soup with Arizona tepary beans, or crispy eggplant bites with pepper relish and goat cheese. Entrees include wood-grilled flank steak; pan-roasted chicken; or Mexican white shrimp with seasonal vegetables and a gremolata. For dessert, you can pick between an horchata rice pudding with almonds and strawberries, or the popular house sundae.
Artizen Crafted American Kitchen & Bar
One thing is certain about the globally inspired small-plates menu at Artizen: It's never boring. See and taste for yourself during Arizona Restaurant Week, when the restaurant will offer a four-course tasting menu for $44 per person. The menu is divided by theme — Snack, Soil, Land or Sea, and a Sweet Ending. The snack portion of the menu is particularly intriguing, with options like heirloom carrot soup made with cashew butter, and tuna tartar featuring daikon, shrimp chips, and yuzu kosho, a spicy Japanese condiment. Entrees include pan-seared duck breast served with gingerbread crostini and apple chutney, and an eggplant cacciatore with sweet peppers. A wine pairing is available for an additional $25.
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Christopher's & Crush Lounge
Christopher's & Crush Lounge is precisely the kind of swanky contemporary French restaurant that you want to visit during Restaurant Week. When else can you enjoy a terrine of duck liver with a salad, follow it with an ultra-rich duck confit cassoulet, and finish with chef Christopher Gross' exquisite parnassienne au chocolate dessert — all for $44 per person (excluding tax and gratuity)? It's a generous menu, and it comes with an added bonus: Every couple who orders the three-course Restaurant Week menu receives a homemade French baguette loaf.
Different Pointe of View
Come for the stunning patio views, but stay for Different Pointe of View's menu of refined New American cuisine, which is priced more accessibly for Arizona Restaurant Week. For $44 per person, you can feast on appetizers like wagyu beef cheeks, or perhaps the restaurant's signature lobster bisque. Entrees include thyme garlic-scented duck confit, or rosemary braised short ribs. Intriguingly, the restaurant will also offer a different Chef's Special entree every day. You aren't limited on dessert options, either — the meal includes any dessert on the menu.
Just craving a good steak? The Stockyards — Phoenix's venerable Western steakhouse and a landmark on Washington Street for decades — offers one of the best values of Arizona Restaurant Week. True, you won't come here for dazzling displays of culinary ingenuity. You'll come to bask in the historic digs and, of course, to sink your teeth into one of the restaurant's famous prime ribs. For $44 per person, the restaurant is serving an indulgent meal that includes your choice of appetizer (options include a house salad, soup, tenderloin chili, or steak soup); your choice of entree (options include 12-ounce New York strip, 12-ounce prime rib, or a seafood gratin); and three dessert options (pecan pie, sour cream cheesecake, or chocolate mousse). You probably won't leave hungry.
Rusconi's American Kitchen
Rusconi's American Kitchen probably wouldn't be accused of being trendy or flashy. But its menu of wood-fired New American dishes is consistently well-executed and satisfying, and the restaurant has put together a Restaurant Week menu that delivers on value and substance. The cost is $44 per person, which includes a complimentary glass of chef-selected red or white wine. Appetizers include an arugula salad with prickly pear-glazed figs, and Key West shrimp served with late-summer corn. For your entree, pick between scallops with kabocha squash; flat iron steak with pepper grits; or a blackberry-glazed salmon. There is also a vegetarian wood-roasted corn-and-veggies bread pudding available as an entree. Dessert options include brie cheesecake or chocolate s'mores in a jar with banana custard.