Holy Cow! Are we actually becoming a legit restaurant town -- with restaurant neighborhoods and everything? Mark my word (or Sam Fox's), the hottest new dining hub is going to be the 7th Street between Missouri and . . . what . . . maybe Glendale? That's where local resto mogul Fox is developing The Yard, a multi-use project with a handful of restaurants and other food spots (think coffee house, bakery and beer). It's also the neighborhood Doug Robson, chef-owner of Gallo Blanco, has chosen for his new Mexican restaurant, called Otro, slated to open in March.
According to Robson, Otro, which means "other" in Spanish, will complement Gallo Blanco but won't be a carbon copy of it. Here's what he has in mind.
Robson says he plans to preserve the 50's-era space he's remodeling (formerly occupied by Bon Appetit Restaurant), adding that he's excited about the Old Phoenix neighborhood, which he calls a "part of Arizona's history." Design elements will include concrete floors, exposed brick, lots of windows and skylights and a bar (positioned directly in front of the open kitchen) where cocktail ingredients will be juiced to order.
For now, he's planning lunch, dinner and weekend breakfasts, adding that he'll add daily breakfast if customer demand warrants it. The menu will offer traditional Mexican dishes such as chiles rellenos and mixiotes (mole mixtures wrapped in banana leaves and steamed). He'll start with chicken mole, but as the menu evolves, he may run daily specials using more exotic fillings such as rabbit or pheasant.
Down the road, Robson says, he hopes to get a little more playful with the menu, incorporating elements of his own upbringing. Given that his dad was French-Scottish, his mother French-Vietnamese and Robson himself was born and raised in Mexico City, that could get pretty interesting. "My mom would cook Vietnamese food but put salsas on the table with it," he says, adding that it all worked out pretty well.
His operation, he emphasizes, will be a true family-run restaurant. His wife Denise has left her job to work at Otro full-time. Meanwhile his brother and sister-in-law (Tony and Jo Ann Robson) and his good friends Ken and Kim Jacoby (Ken worked with Robson under Robert McGrath at Windows on the Green) will be involved partners in the business as well.