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In Scottsdale, a New, Ultra-Fine-Dining Experience from the Owners of Café Monarch

Reserve's courtyard, where dinner is served.EXPAND
Reserve's courtyard, where dinner is served.
Harley Bonham Photography and Videography

“Our specialty is in fine dining," says Phillip Lewkowicz, vice president of operations for Monarch Hospitality Group, "so we decided to take that a step further and create an exclusive restaurant.”

Lewkowicz, whose family owns the romantic, high-end Scottsdale spot Café Monarch, was referring to their latest venture, which opened in late October. It's called Reserve, and it's located at 6934 East First Avenue, Suite 102 — right across the street from Café Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale.

As with many luxury products, scarcity is baked into the concept: Reserve serves only 25 diners per night, Wednesday through Saturday, from 6:15 p.m. to close (usually sometime around 11 p.m.). Guests first pass through a garden entrance, then on to an interior welcome area, where a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres commences. Then it's on to the courtyard, where dinner is served. The restaurant then offers a tasting menu of 12 courses, with other bites in between. Three advanced sommeliers help with wine pairings. Patrons can also order wine or cocktails by the glass.

The inspiration for Reserve arose from a culinary jaunt executive chef and owner Gustavo Lewkowicz took through Spain in summer 2019. With Reserve, his goal is to present a luxurious experience inspired by global cuisine — something worth a special trip.

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To execute that vision, Lewkowicz has assembled quite a lineup in the kitchen. He's brought on Benjamin Wald as chef de cuisine. Wald has studied with Alain Ducasse, a highly decorated chef, in France. Wald has also worked with Patrick O’Connell at the three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, in Virginia.

Joining Wald is sous chef David Brito from Kai Restaurant, along with pastry chef Sarah Knoll from Per Se, chef Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant in New York.

It'll cost you: Before tax and gratuity, dinner at Reserve runs $285 per person. According to Lewkowicz, dinners with wine pairing can be anywhere from $400 to $500 per person, depending on what you order. The high price hasn't been a deterrence so far: The restaurant was sold out opening weekend.

You'll have to reserve your spot at Reserve, of course; reservations are required and can be made through OpenTable. In the future, they'll offer dinner tickets for advanced purchase.) And don't forget to dress for the occasion: Reserve guests must adhere to a formal, jacket-preferred dress code.

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