The Spot: Chart House
7255 East McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale
The Hours: Happy hour runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
Perfect For: Strong cocktails and fried seafood appetizers in a swanky environment.
The Interior: The Chart House definitely caters to an older crowd. We were into the quiet atmosphere, plush leather chairs, and mood lighting. Next to the McCormick Ranch Golf Club's pond, the restaurant was picturesque bathed in the sunset's orange light.
The Food: Chart House is all about its seafood, so we were pleased to see more than a few menu items incorporating fish, including the firecracker shrimp ($6) and a kimchi-style twist on calamari ($6). The ahi nachos ($5) included small pieces of seared ahi tuna atop fried wontons. The dish came out drizzled in a wasabi cream sauce lined up in a neat row. The sauce added more spice than we expected, while the crunch of the wonton paired well with the fish. Still, there's something about the word "nacho" that conjures the image of a big, messy pile of ingredients — not a lineup of four chips.
The hummus trio was a decent helping of pita, plantain chips, and three assorted hummus flavors (traditional, roasted red pepper, and edamame). For four bucks, the platter was a good deal and brought a lot of flavor to the table.
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The Drink: Chart House had a nice selection of cocktails for $6, two beers (Fat Tire and Sam Adams) for $3.25, and $5 glasses of wine. The monarch margarita ($6) was a delightful mixture of tequila, blood orange liqueur, and lime juice. It was a little sweet, but also very strong — no complaints there.
Conclusion: Sometimes, you're just looking for a calm, light happy hour. Chart House fits the bill. Don't go if you're looking for a crowded, clubby atmosphere. Go if you're craving a swanky seafood house experience on a less-than-swanky budget.
Don't Miss: The tall, sweet cocktails. But be careful: These offer a lot of buzz for your buck.
Skip This: The arty ahi nachos, if you're hungry. We were hoping for a more substantial dish.