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Now Open in North Scottsdale: Renegade Canteen

Multiple delays and a big-name chef have made Renegade Canteen one of this year's most highly anticipated restaurant debuts, and now tonight's the night when fans of chef Robert McGrath can once again get their fill of his distinctive American Western cooking.

The James Beard Award winner earned his fame at Roaring Fork, but since selling his interests in the business four years ago, he's had more downs than ups.

His revamped Pischke's was short-lived, and two other projects -- a barbecue joint called First Street Ice House, and a fine dining spot called REM -- never made it to opening day.

Things seem to have turned around for McGrath with the high-profile Renegade Canteen, though.

Here, he's heading up the kitchen and not sinking his own money into the venture. (Steven Goodhue and John Rosso are the owners.)

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True to McGrath's style, there are plenty of rich roasted, smoky, and spicy flavors on the menu, including wood-fired chicken hash with roasted hot pepper salsa, cardamom cream, and cheese crisp, a cocktail of smoked shrimp with Tabasco remoulade, green chile pork stew, and pot roast braised with ancho chiles, onion, carrot parsnips, and potatoes. You won't find a "Big Ass Burger" (exclusive to Roaring Fork), but there is a "Bob's Big Burger." Steaks comprise the priciest offerings (from $22 for a Berkshire pork porterhouse to $35 for filet mignon), while the rest of the items run from $7 to $19. 

And for a trip down memory lane, McGrath will serve limited quantities of "weekly classics" like his Dr. Pepper-braised beef short rib (Mondays) and roast duck glazed with agave nectar and chiles (Thursdays). Or how about "Smelly Old Fish From Last Week," the Friday night special? Yes, that's really printed on the menu.

Dinner service runs from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Lunch service (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday) will begin this Thursday, and weekend brunch (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will begin on June 26. Renegade Canteen is at 9343 E. Shea Blvd., Ste. 135. Call 480-614-9400 for details.

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