By Michele Laudig
Last Monday, September 1, Quiessence chef Greg LaPrad took over the Slow Food-centric fine dining spot and its neighbor, Morning Glory Cafe, from former owner Santa Barbara Catering.
Both restaurants are located at the Farm at South Mountain, an idyllic getaway inside the Phoenix city borders, home to a real working farm. The Farm Kitchen, also on the property, will continue to be operated by Santa Barbara Catering.
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LaPrad has been the chef at Quiessence for two and a half years. During that time, the restaurant has only been open for dinner service. Today marks the first day of its lunch service, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Like the dinner menu, the lunch menu at Quiessence will get daily tweaks, depending on what's fresh and available. Highlights from the sample menu include marinated roasted baby beets, McClendon Farm dates, fresh goat cheese and local mache salad ($13); brick oven roasted pork sandwich with apple cabbage slaw on toasted brioche ($15); Rainbow Valley Farmer’s Cheese gnocchi with Maya’s butternut squash, fresh sage, and brown butter ($18); and warm Arizona apple crumb pie with brown sugar cinnamon ice cream ($7).
Instead of closing before dinnertime, Quiessence will serve a rotating chalkboard menu of cheeses, seasonal small plates, and wines from 2 to 5 p.m. (dinner seatings are from 5 to 9 p.m.) On the afternoon snacking menu, you might find crudites, pork rilettes, freshly shucked Island Creek oysters, and steamed Penn Cove mussels.
The offerings at Morning Glory Cafe will remain a tasty assortment of egg dishes and omelets, Belgian waffles, and French toast. Morning Glory is open from 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.