Cafe Reviews

Second Helpings

Restaurant Update: There is supposed to be a slow time for Valley restaurants, but business seems to be just as hot as the weather.

Look for these new places:
La Tache World Bistro & Wine Bar, at 4175 Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale, just south of Fashion Square. The proprietors call their menu an international "culinary kaleidoscope." That may be an understatement--taken as a whole, the menu is positively intergalactic. Among the entrees, you'll find pot roast Provencal; red curried prawns; mojo chicken with black beans, rice and plantains; osso buco; and apple walnut stuffed pork chop. One nice touch: a wine list that offers inexpensive "tastes" of wine,.

Zinzibar, 3815 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Sharp-eyed readers may note that this used to be the address of Trapper's, a seafood and steak house that enjoyed a 15-year run. Look for a Mediterranean-themed menu, with an emphasis on fish and chicken.

Patio Flamenco, 6810 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many Spanish restaurants in town. This one sounds promising. Naturally, the menu features traditional favorites like paella and zarzuela. But I also like the sound of sea bass stuffed with smoked salmon in a champagne sauce, braised lamb in brandy sauce and grouper in a saffron sauce.

Ocean Club, 6166 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale (the Borgata). The proprietors of the Bamboo Club and Marco Polo Cafe are teaming up for this venture, scheduled to open in December. There aren't many details yet, but they're calling the place an "Eclectic Seafood Club" with a separate appetizer bar, three patios and a cigar room.

It's also time to bid adieu to some restaurants: Marche Gourmet, a longtime Scottsdale fixture that served Americanized French fare with genuine Gallic rudeness; Pearl of Asia, a first-rate Vietnamese restaurant; and Grady's Grill, a steak house of no distinction operated by Brinker International. (The company, though, has a replacement ready. It's bringing a new concept to town called On the Border, which will serve "Mexican Vaquero favorites," whatever they are.)

Deal the Cards: With the Entertainment Book coupons and the soon-to-be-defunct Value Card, there's no shortage of restaurant deals available for savvy consumers. Pretty soon, if the trend continues, paying full price for a restaurant meal will be as unusual as paying sticker price for a car.

The latest player in restaurant discounting has just moved into town, the Preferred Restaurants of Scottsdale & Phoenix. It's signed on 25 upscale places, including Lon's at the Hermosa, Gianni Italian Restaurant & Market, Chaparral Restaurant, Razz's Restaurant & Bar, Ventura Grill, Maria's When in Naples, Rolands, Il Pescatore, Capers, Pinon Grill, Pronto Ristorante and Windows on the Green.

Here's how the program works: Buy the card for $50, and you're entitled to a free dinner entree (with the purchase of another at equal or greater value) on two separate occasions. I figure that if you plan to eat out just three or four times over the next year at the restaurants on the list, you'll come out ahead.

For a brochure or more details, call 481-3000.
--Howard Seftel

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Howard Seftel