Cafe Reviews

Fez in Central Phoenix Plays It Safe But Gets It Right

I have two questions: When did every American male under the age of 30 start sporting a beard, and why don't I eat at Fez more often?

I can't answer the first of these, nor do I especially care to. But I can tell you that the answer to the second is "I plan to, from now on."

I'd stopped dining at Fez not long after it opened on Central Avenue a few years ago. The music was too loud and, although I found their pesto Caesar first-rate, I don't enjoy eating in a disco. I got my pesto Caesar salad to go, when I ate there at all. But Fez has relocated, moving into the former Portland's space just off Central Avenue. Friendly, easy service (most of it from young, bearded guys), a nice wide patio for dining, and an open indoor dining room and bar are no longer enough. Given the number of restaurants and diners opening all over town -- places with high-end tasting menus, crafted cocktails and gimmickry based on locally grown everything -- any restaurant, old or new, needs to offer some real reason to return.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela