When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours)
Restaurant: Fate Brewing Company Location: 7337 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale Open: A little over two weeks Eats: Brews and pizza. Price: Between $11 and $30 per person
Around two weeks ago, Steve McFate opened up his own brewpub and pizzeria in a strip mall in North Scottsdale.
It's smaller than you might expect, which is refreshing. A somewhat plain yet comfortable space where McFate's passion can be seen through a windowed room and in the form of large, gleaming pieces of brewing equipment.
You're thirsty for a beer before you even realize it.
McFate's small beer menu stays tightly focused -- around seven of his own small-batch brews in addition to a few rotating casks on tap. And as a bonus, he brews his own root beer, too.
If you order the hoppy, Fate Brown Ale with a mid-range malt flavor you'll find it goes down nicely. The Fate Irish Red, sweet at first and dry at the end, is even better.
The food menu stays as tight as the beer selection: a starter, two salads, and around ten, artisan-style pizzas kicked out by a wood-fired oven in the back of the restaurant. Around twelve inches in size, what they lack in crispiness and subtle yeasty undertones in the dough (the first few bites require a fork and knife) they make up for in fresh and flavorful toppings.
A fennel sausage pizza ($12) offers a well-balanced mix of a rich tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh mushrooms, fennel sausage, melted goat cheese, and herbs. But if you ask any of the friendly servers or barkeeps what the best pizza on the menu is, they will almost instantly answer the Rustica ($11). The flavors come right out of the gate: spicy capicola ham, roasted red bell peppers, and a slightly nutty gorgonzola along with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, and artichoke hearts. Its bold taste nearly demands a cold, accompanying beer be included in the price.
Inside Fate's small but comfortable interior with its high-ceiling, indirect lighting, and tan walls, you could sit at the concrete bar (which is in desperate need of a foot rail), at one of several handmade wooden tables, or out on the front patio. The scene is casual, the music not too loud, and the look cohesive -- with the exception of the display case full of whimsical cake pops at the front entrance. That one's a head-scratcher.
McFate's done a nice job of setting up a neighborhood brewpub in an area where low-key isn't always the order of the day. And that's something worth raising a glass to.