The crowd consisted of several young families (with very well behaved children) and a few obvious first-daters at the bar. The community table was half full with a group of twenty-something girls talking about how so and so lets their three year old run around naked (the horror!); and how they know that their second engagement rings will totally be bigger then their original ones. "I mean that's just how it goes. If he really loves you, he will get you at least two carats."
Ahhh, Chandler. You gotta love it.
BLD opened in late March in an oversized strip mall at the northwest corner of Dobson and Germann, a stone's throw from the corporate mecca of The Chandler Fashion Center A.K.A. Chandler Mall. The decor has a bit of a chain-like feel but gives off a safe and cozy vibe with oversized booths and bight bright windows. Garage-style side doors open up to a spacious patio and open-air bar and toward the kitchen sits the star of room -- a large glass enclosure, home to a fancy-shmancy selection of wine. And hanging in the back --- housemade salami and prosciutto.
Since it's made right there in the building, we had to start with the Charcutiere Plate. The housemade meats were accompanied by a creamy pesto spread and mild Dijon mustard, a little pile of shredded parmesan (weird) and two pieces of thick crusty bread. The prosciutto was velvety soft and the hot coppa and salami toscano were both perfectly spiced. And for just $6, it's the perfect starter; just try and ignore that sad pile of cheese.
Other highlights included the signature meatloaf topped with mozzarella and comforting brown gravy, the crisp sea salted green beans, fresh and simple caprese salad and the seared-to- perfection grilled ahi au Poivre (that means pepper-coated). Stay away from the mac & cheese and the mashed potatoes, which were both dry and flavorless.
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When you go to BLD, make sure you save room for dessert. Skip the ice cream and the cheesecake and go straight for the over-the-top, sugar coma-inducing rocky road bread pudding. The tender squares of custard-y bread are laced with chocolate chips and marshmallows and topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and a toffee sauce that reminds us of our mom's almond roca. One bite and you are sent to straight to sugar heaven.
We'll be back for breakfast, BLD -- we promise. Good breakfast spots are hard to come by in metro Phoenix (why is that?!) but BLD 's menu looks promising. Hawaiian bread french toast, steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, and even a few southwestern-style dishes like the green chili pork tostadas. Yum!
If you're in the neighborhood, skip the 'Bucks. BLD has its very own drive-thru for coffee and smoothies -- a great idea.