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A high-ceilinged dining room spills out to a wraparound patio on two sides.EXPAND
A high-ceilinged dining room spills out to a wraparound patio on two sides.
Chris Malloy

First Taste: Prep & Pastry, Just Opened, Does a Creative, Top-Notch Brunch

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Prep & Pastry
Location: 7025 East Via Soleri Drive, #175, Scottsdale (plus two locations in Tucson)
Eats: Creative breakfast, lunch, brunch, and pastries
Price: $5 to $20 per person
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch begins at 11 a.m.) Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (brunch service) Saturday and Sunday

Green chile (the sauce, not the pepper) is good on a lot of things. Tacos. Enchiladas. Burgers. And so on. French toast, too, can fluidly chameleon into various forms, taking bases like brioche and challah, highlighting cherries or peaches, sporting thick bacon or creamy mascarpone. But given even the elastic reach of these two foods, it wouldn’t seem that, stretching them, they could work together.

But Prep & Pastry is trying to seal the marriage.

Reading this on the menu, I had no intention of getting one. My eyes skimmed left to the shakshuka and duck hash, the idea of green chile French toast too much before 10 a.m. on a Saturday. But a great thing about our minds is that they can change, and soon enough I had a half-order of the French toast remix before me.

In a world of tired brunch restaurants offering barely different versions of the same dishes, Prep & Pastry flies away from the pack. There’s breakfast poutine with pork belly; steak and egg croissant with chimichurri; duck confit hash with goat cheese mousse. The titular “pastry” element brings the same echelon of ingenuity as the sweet and savory plates  that emerge from the kitchen. A pastry case by the entrance is decked with "Pop-Tarts" and giant cinnamon buns, croissant doughnuts flecked with bacon and "rose-stuffed doughnuts."

Prep & Pastry is a breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot imported from Tucson. The Scottsdale location, opened in September across the street from Scottsdale Fashion Square, is location three. Some offerings lean more standard, others endearingly weird and novel. The eatery has lofty ceilings and a clean white Instagram-targeting aesthetic, the kind of look that, these days, has almost become a red flag.

Pop tarts and s'mores-inspired pastries deck the glass case.EXPAND
Pop tarts and s'mores-inspired pastries deck the glass case.
Chris Malloy

This doesn't instill confidence when you’re looking into the wobbly yellow eye of an egg-topped Frankenmeal: the green chile French toast.

To start, you wring a lime over the top, just as you would a taco.

A lacing of crema zags across, opaque as toothpaste. Fork in, rupturing the egg, and you’ll find that the bread is thick. Green chile smolders under the egg, its nice, rounded, mellow chile burn building with bites and time. It is hotter than expected, and the vegetal depths of the pepper are nicely expressed. The hefty bread slices sop up the runny yellow nicely. A skeleton key to this French toast: no sweetness.

Creative thinking extends to an expansive cocktail menu, replete with many kinds of liquor and bright flavors. If you can enter a brunch cocktail mindset and steel yourself for drinks sweet and fruit-juicy, a strawberry-forward “brunch punch” with tropicality from Velvet Falernum is highly drinkable, if lower velocity.

Cocktails set the vibe, especially the deep roster of mimosas, and the build-your-own option should that roster not prove deep enough. Service is strong for a spot opened so recently. A whole team of staff checks up on you at comfortable intervals throughout your meal. Not that you need it, but you get a sense that they actually care if you did like that half-order of French toast, and all that followed.

The cast-iron duck hash is another winner. This one is really hearty, the rich, mineral flavor of duck leading, cut and embellished by flavors of wine-braised cherries and goat cheese, enriched by the warm leakings of another fried egg. A sweet potato hash swings to the other side. It’s bright with four kinds of vegetables, most noticeably tiny asparagus rounds no thicker than a dime.

A doughnut made with croissant dough (left) and a sugared rose (the wine) doughnut with sweet cream more cream athan sweet.EXPAND
A doughnut made with croissant dough (left) and a sugared rose (the wine) doughnut with sweet cream more cream athan sweet.
Chris Malloy

A great thing about Prep & Pastry is the pastry case up front, right beside a tiny bar where you can sit for a quick espresso and croissant.

You should score something creative and doughy on your way in, walking out, or as you're sitting. You can see and crunch through the minute laminated layers of the croissant doughnut. It and other signature offerings change theme and flavor frequently. They probably aren’t going to dazzle a baker fresh off the plane from Paris, but they’re fun and, at the very least, well worth nabbing for the road.

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