Plaza Grill brings upscale Mexican to North Valley

I usually get a good feeling about a restaurant when I hear about it right after a friend has dined there. In the case of Plaza Grill, one of my foodie pals emailed me the same afternoon she had an "amazing" lunch there.

Plaza Grill is only six months old, and part of the reason it's been so under-the-radar, explains chef-owner Luis Mata, is that the eatery didn't have a liquor license for the first three months. Now that wines, sangria, and margaritas are part of the mix, things are starting to pick up, he says, and they've begun hosting wine dinners. (The next one, featuring Spanish wines, is May 14.)

Mata was a longtime manager at Such is Life, and his former employer, the well-known local chef Moises Treves (also formerly of Coyoacan and Cocono's) is lending him a hand. This is Mata's first restaurant.

The food at Plaza Grill is upscale Mexican, Mata explains, with dishes from Veracruz, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and beyond. Entrees (most of which are $15 or less) include mole poblano, cochinita pibil (tender slow-roasted pork in achiote sauce), and camarones empanizado (breaded large shrimp from Guaymas, Mexico), while daily specials feature items such as lamb chops with pasilla pepper sauce, grilled calamari, and prickly pear cactus with chorizo and monterrey cheese.

Sounds promising!

Plaza Grill is located at 14620 N. Cave Creek Rd., between Greenway and Thunderbird. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 602-374-2483.

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