Check, Please!

Q.I'd like to do something different for New Year's (no hotel buffet) but don't have a ton of money to spend. What's something cool and cheap?

A.Go early bird to the party at Sapporo, the hot-spot sushi club at Scottsdale Road and Thunderbird in Scottsdale. A 5 p.m. seating is just $50 per person ($75 for 7 p.m., and $100 for 9 p.m.). The multi-course dinner sounds decadent, including porcini consommé with duck dumpling; white asparagus, apple and walnut salad with plum sake vinaigrette; sushi platter (sashimi tempura, sweet inari nigiri, baby yellowtail nigiri, negi hama and negi toro); baked shrimp and scallop in puff pastry with togarashi butter and caviar; a platter of roasted beef tenderloin, wok-fried lobster, and grilled chicken; and a dessert plate with white chocolate truffle, warm gingerbread, red bean ice cream and Asian poached pear.

Q.I'm from Australia, where upscale karaoke is very popular. Is there anything like that here?

A.Most of our karaoke occurs in bars, but here's a nice one to try: Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery at Pima and Shea in Scottsdale. Singers hit the stage at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, in a classy setting. The menu entices, too, with classics like adobo-crusted pork loin, New York strip, alder smoked salmon, ribs and Southwestern chicken and shrimp pasta.

Q.My wife is pregnant, and craves, get this, weird pizza. I've tried all kinds of combinations from my local joint, but she's not satisfied. Help, before she kills me!

A.Cafe Blue at Fifth Avenue and Goldwater in Scottsdale might save your life. A recent menu of 12-inch European thin crust pies impressed me with creative combos like ahi with wasabi Dijon; seafood (shrimp, calamari, clams and lobster béchamel); the BST (bacon, spinach, tomato, avocado, Gorgonzola and mint vinaigrette); and Peking duck with cucumber, tomato, grilled onion, bean sprouts and hoisin sauce.

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Carey Sweet
Contact: Carey Sweet