Digestif debuts at SouthBridge

Hell, it's already last week's news, but last week I was among the legions of the severely flu-stricken (ack!), so here's the belated skinny on the latest high-profile restaurant opening:

Chef Payton Curry is already cooking up a storm at Digestif, a new "Cal-Ital" eatery at Scottsdale's SouthBridge that comes to us courtesy of restaurateur Peter Kasperski, he of Cowboy Ciao/Kazimierz/Sea Saw fame. (That empire's right across Stetson Drive.)

True to the name, the drink menu features lots of interesting, esoteric liqueurs whose provenance dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. California and Italian wines loom large, along with a dozen intriguing beers and several quirky cocktails -- how about a Filthy Martini, with Kalamata olive juice, or a Corpse Reviver (what I need), made with Hendricks gin, Cointreau, Lillet, and Lucid Absinthe?

Along with an all-day menu of cheeses, charcuterie, frites and other snacky-snacks, the dinner offerings include daily-made pastas, "knife & fork bruschettas," and entrees such as seared sea scallops with pureed and roasted cauliflower, golden raisins, pine nuts, and saba, and crispy skin duck breast with potato gratin, turnips, and lingonberry/game jus. They just started serving lunch yesterday, but I haven't seen that menu yet.

And oh, the desserts. I think I could probably go to Digestif just for dessert, since Tracy Dempsey's the pastry chef. Sign me up for vanilla bean-chevre panna cotta, tiramisu, affogato, Queen Creek Olive Mill olive oil cake with warm berry-pepper sauce, roseberry sorbet, and rose sabayon, or lemon-polenta crostata.

I'm also way curious about Digestif's sixties-inspired "beatnik basement decor" -- apparently there are two listening stations under construction, where customers can get an earful of indie and local music. I can't help but wonder if Kimber Lanning from Stinkweeds has anything to do with this -- I spied her chatting with Kasperski over some deviled eggs at The Roosevelt several months ago, and at that time was crossing my fingers that the Modified Arts mama was convincing Kasperski to rock some kind of groovy restaurant downtown. Ah, maybe someday...

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