The Spot: Culinary Dropout, 7531 E Camelback Rd. Scottsdale, 480-970-1700,
The Hours: Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6 pm, M-F in the bar and on the patio.
The Details: The gastropub idea is catching on everywhere. Sam Fox offers a pre-packaged
"boutique" concept of one at Culinary Dropout. While the main menu has a variety of antipasti, sandwiches and other fare that fit into the gastropub genre, the Happy Hour menu is severly lacking.
There are five items on it: Chips and Dips, "Cheap" House Salad, Pretzel Bites with Provolone "Fondue", French Fries, and Cheese Fries. These items range from $3-$5. As far as drinks go, we opted for the Paper Bag Special for $1.95. What we got was a Natural Light. Um, we usually pass on those when they are free.
The Dropout gets graded after the jump.
The Interior: The inside of the Culinary Dropout is reminiscent of a gentleman's cigar club with a bit of bar-b-q joint thrown in. Wing chairs and cocktail tables are positioned around the rather large space. The patio has a similar quality, cushiony chairs and cocktail tables, dressy yet comfortable, like dress casual.
The Cost: The Brown Bag Special for $1.95 is the least expensive beer on the menu, but seeing that we got one Natty Light for $1.95 when we can go buy six of them for a buck more someplace is not a deal at all. The do however offer all of their draft beers by the mug at Happy Hour for $3. These choices include: Guinness, Stella, a Sierra Nevada selection, PBR, and a few other choices. An order of the Pretzel Bites with Provolone Fondue from the Happy Hour menu is $5. For that you get six bites and a cup of the cheese-stuff looking "fondue". We also tried the "Cheap" Salad. It tasted like someone dumped unwashed romaine and carrot strips out of a Fresh Express bag and into a vat of Buttermilk Ranch, then chucked a handful of halved cherry tomatoes into the bowl. One Natty Light, a salad, and an order of pretzels came out to be $10.
The Conclusion: Touted as the "rebel child" gastropub of Fox Concept culture, Culinary Dropout looks cool, it has a cool name, and it's got handsome albeit forgetful hip waitstaff wearing plaid shirts, skinny jeans, and hipster haircuts -- but the idea of a dropout who is genius (think Gates, Zuckerberg, etc.) commands the expectation of greatness and complete originality, and this Happy Hour menu certainly does not live up to this at all. An hour after we left this place, our stomach hurt.
Overall Grade: D