Petite Maison in Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Petite Maison 7216 East Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale 480-991-6887 www.petitemaisonaz.com

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. until 12 a.m.

The Interior: For a night, you can whisk yourself away to a small French cottage, where the food and drink are plentiful and delicious. The staff will graciously guide you through the staff meal menu, which is Petite Maison's take on late-night happy hour. The patio seating in the garden atmosphere is perfect this time of year, but the cozy bar area is nothing to sneeze at, either. The location is tucked away east of Scottsdale Road and south of Camelback Road, making for an intimate and quiet experience in the midst of normal Old Town Scottsdale weekend hullabaloo.

The Food: Staff meal works a bit differently than a typical happy hour in that you can choose from the hors d'oeuvres offerings plus two additional dishes that the chefs choose nightly. When we went, duck paté-covered poutine ($12) was on the menu -- pretty much a no-brainer for us. This less-gravy-smothered take on the classic Canadian gut bomb made for crispier, cheesier fries, with tons of spiced meaty goodness coming from the pate.

We also tried the queue de beouf ($12), which is two freshly made oxtail ravioli topped with arugula with a generous drizzle of au jus poured tableside. The ravioli itself was just firm enough to hold all the moist and tender oxtail in, but not so tough that you would even have to consider using a knife to cut through. Petite Maison's offerings, though pricier than we're used to shelling out during a happy hour trip, were also more refined and luxe than we're used to. Worth the price? Definitely.

The Drink: There's bad news and good news here. Bad news first: You won't be getting discounted drinks during staff meal. The good news is that the abundant wine, beer, and cocktail selection is the perfect nightcap companion to a great late-night meal. The house cocktails are just as complex in flavor and absolutely delicious as the food offerings. We tried out the French martini ($12), which is a fruity, bubbly combination of vodka, framboise, pineapple, and champagne. Though all the cocktails average three or four ingredients, they're so well matched that the simplicity lets every single flavor shine.

Unfortunately, we do have to mention that both our accomplice and we found small bits of plastic wrapping in our water glasses, which was both confusing and disappointing. For such an upscale dining experience, you would never expect to be pulling plastic bits out of your mouth between sips of water.

The Conclusion: We had an absolutely amazing meal and a delicious drink, but the staff meal is just not quite there in terms of pricing. Nearly $40 spent on two plates and a martini is a little steep for a deal. However, if you're looking for high-quality eats late at night in Scottsdale, you really can't find anything better than Petite Maison's staff meal. Let's just say we're torn on this one.

Grade: B+

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