Corduroy Salad with Katsu Chicken at Corduroy in Phoenix

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Where: Corduroy
When: Monday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Dish: Corduroy Salad with Katsu Chicken
Price: $19.49 (including tax and tip)

The Setting: With dark furnishings and brick walls, Corduroy has an air of richness about it that's funked up by the ornately decorated ceiling and a huge metallic mural that adorns the entryway. The sister restaurant of Fez, Pizza People Pub, Bilss/Rebar, and neighbor Switch, Corduroy is a welcome addition to the family. Though Corduroy feels a bit more sophisticated than other places—somewhere we'd go on a business dinner or intimate date—it isn't the least bit stuffy. 

The Dish: Corduroy's menu is extensive with more 40 items and a sizable beverage menu, too. The Corduroy Salad (greens, asparagus, crispy chick peas, almonds, tomato, radish sprouts, red bell pepper, red onion, cauliflower, peas, carrot, feta, and preserved lemon champagne dressing) comes without meat, but on our server's enthusiastic recommendation, we added katsu chicken for an extra $4. The fried chicken was delightful, with a fine panko breading that was crispy and thick enough to feel substantial but not so thick to be soggy or overpowering. It was salty with a touch of garlic and the crunchy outside kept the chicken juicy and steamy. 

The salad was quite big, and some of the 11-plus ingredients were more prominent than others, which is bound to be the case in such an "everything but the kitchen sink" dish. The peas were moist and fresh, the chick peas were crumbly and had a slight crunch. We appreciated the fact that the red onion tasted slightly marinated and didn't leave an unpleasant aftertaste. The roasted red pepper, asparagus, and tomato were cut small as if they were in a chopped salad, and the feta was crumbled throughout, bringing its briny funk to the entire dish. A variety of greens supported the mix-ins and, the dressing was understated, almost sweet and had a faint lemon taste. All in all, the salad was fresh and the variety of ingredients kept things interesting.

The Best Part: While the Corduroy Salad was excellent, the katsu chicken was the star of the show. The chicken itself was perfectly cooked and the fried breading on the outside was out of this world. When a piece of the breading dropped into our lap, we were honestly a little sad. 

The One Thing We'd Change: While the lettuce was extraordinarily fresh, we wish it had been ripped in smaller pieces. As it was, the leaves were left on the larger side and we felt like it was difficult to eat a forkful without looking like a slob.

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