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Astor House Reinvents Itself as a BBQ Joint and We Got a Preview

After closing temporarily a few weeks ago Astor House, the adorable neighborhood spot for small plates and cocktails, announced it would be re-opening this week but with a totally new persona. That persona comes in the form of a barbeque menu. And this weekend guests got a preview of just what the reinvented Astor House has to offer.

Phoenix, meet Astor House: Coronado 'Cue & Southern Speakeasy.

See also: Chef Johnny Chu Expands Chandler's Tien Wong to Include a Ramen Shop and Asian Tea House

The new menu features a selection of smoked meats (beef, pork, chicken and turkey) and a choice of two Schreiner's sausages, either the beef and pork beer hot or chicken and garlic. At Saturday's preview event guests tasted the bottom half of the menu: tri-tip, baby back ribs, turkey and both types of sausages. Each of the meats also came with a signature sauce, which vary from traditional BBQ to a unique mustard-based offering.

By far the stand-out selection was the smoked turkey, which was exceptionally moist and flavorful. The accompanying "bird sauce," made with white cider and citrus, paired well.

On the other end of the spectrum fell the tri-tip, which came cooked medium-well. While this California native appreciates the effort to bring this cut to Arizona, we won't be surprised if you find the meat drier than you'd like.

The ribs were good, but not nearly as interesting as the sweet but mostly spicy tomatillo-based sauce they came with. And of course, the Schriener's sausages were tasty, though they benefited quite a bit by their accompanying mustard and balsamic-based barbecue sauce.

Sides include a potato salad option and a tasty coleslaw. And for dessert we enjoyed a chocolate pecan pie bar (fork not required, but highly recommended).

When it comes to drinks you can expect to find the same kind of thoughtful menu that Astor House has always had. The New World wines are all affordable at $5 a glass. As always you'd do well to order something with the housemade tonic water (we suggest a tequila and tonic, if you're going to indulge).

And though pretty much every other aspect of Astor House has undergone change, one thing that it's retained in whole is its cozy, clean atmosphere -- making this a unique sort of BBQ spot. For a Southern-style date night, or just dinner, without the down-home, paper-towels-for-napkins vibe, the new Astor House will definitely fill the gap.

Astor House: Coronado 'Cue & Southern Speakeasy will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Thursday nights the kitchen will be closed since the restaurant hosts a food truck, though the bar will be open for drinks only. For more information visit the Astor House website.

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