Cafe Reviews

Gertrude's at The Desert Botanical Garden

I was determined, while dining at Gertrude's, not to be distracted by the chatter of tourists seated at tables on either side of mine at this Desert Botanical Garden hotspot. Fortunately, the food on Gertrude's recently redesigned menu was mostly so dreary, it was impossible to think of much else.

Because this restaurant, named for Desert Botanical Garden founder Gertrude Divine Webster, caters to that year-round, garden-visiting tourist trade, I expected a surplus of popular foods and a ton of clever Southwestern cuisine. There was plenty of such fare when Chef Steve Eldridge was at the helm of the kitchen here, and nearly all of it was excellent. And while there's lots of prickly pear jus and Queen Creek calamatas to be found among the new, post-Eldridge sides and entrées, very little of what my dining companions and I ordered proved tasty enough to finish.

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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