Lists

10 Arizona Restaurant Week Menus We Can't Wait to Try

Christopher Gross, chef-owner of Christopher’s Restaurant & Crush Lounge at Biltmore Fashion Park, is one of a handful of James Beard Award-winning chefs currently active in metro Phoenix.
Christopher Gross, chef-owner of Christopher’s Restaurant & Crush Lounge at Biltmore Fashion Park, is one of a handful of James Beard Award-winning chefs currently active in metro Phoenix. Jacob Tyler Dunn

click to enlarge Seared spring lamb noisette from Different Pointe of View. The restaurant is offering a special prix-fixe menu for Arizona Restaurant Week this fall. - PATRICIA ESCARCEGA
Seared spring lamb noisette from Different Pointe of View. The restaurant is offering a special prix-fixe menu for Arizona Restaurant Week this fall.
Patricia Escarcega
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.


click to enlarge ZUZU AT HOTEL VALLEY HO
ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
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.

Fuego Bistro
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?

Litchfield's
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.

click to enlarge PHOENIX CITY GRILLE
Phoenix City Grille
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.


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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.