Last week, we got a first look atTanzy
, the new upscale casual Mediterranean-inspired restaurant atScottsdale Quarter
. The eatery is run by the same folks behind the new iPic luxury movie theater and is located next door to the theater on the upper level of the complex.
Tanzy makes good use of the views. The walls are largely glass and the undulating copper waves on the high ceiling give an open, airy impression. Wood, glass, water and fire elements welcome nature inside. Everything feels like one big cozy great room in an ultra-contemporary home, with the living room and modern fireplace feature up front, a bar in the middle and booths for dining at the back of the house.
For a Mediterranean restaurant, Tanzy has a young, urban vibe. It helps that the chef is only 27 years old -- and looks like he's fresh out of high school.
More on this culinary up-and-comer and a sneak peek at Tanzy's food after the jump.
Executive Chef Geoff Baumberger is originally from the Columbus, Ohio area. He took both the educational and hands-on routes in his culinary career, studying at the Culinary Institute of America and working in the industry right out of high school. He's stoked to be running a kitchen on his own. "When this opportunity came up, I couldn't turn down the creative freedom," says Baumberger.
We last saw this young chef at Marcella's Italian Kitchen at Scottsdale Fashion Square, so it's no surprise that the deconstructed bruschetta is his favorite appetizer on Tanzy's menu. The dish includes roasted red peppers, pesto, garlic crisps and hand-pulled mozzarella that Baumberger makes from curd in Tanzy's kitchen. "I enjoy fresh mozzarella, not the stuff you get at the grocery store," he quips. Though the mozzarella had an initial plastic quality, the chewy texture and briny aftertaste were very enjoyable when eaten alone or paired with the savory peppers and fresh pesto.
Other appetizers we sampled included tempura Brussels sprouts and a polenta cake, which was moist and topped with a delicious mix of sautéed spinach, garlic and tomato that lent more flavor to the otherwise bland polenta. The tempura was a hit, the cumin-scented batter making the veggie a hit even with die-hard veggie haters. Put some of the crispy fried sprouts in old-fashioned popcorn boxes and you've got a killer movie snack.
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Braising is one of Baumberger's favorite cooking techniques, and judging by the braised short rib he's pretty good at it. The meat was so tender it fell apart on our fork. Goat cheese
gnocchi added a pungent kick to the flavorful beef. Cedar plank salmon was light and refreshing, with a salt crust that helped to disguise the strong flavor of the red meat fish.
The desserts and cocktails along are worth a trip into Tanzy. Mascarpone strawberry cheesecake is velvety and rich. Orange Creamsicle Brulee brings the creamy dessert into a new realm with the addition of Grand Marnier and candied orange peel. Chocolate mousse had a silky mouthfeel and a decadent cocoa flavor that was eclipsed only by the accompanying chocolate brownie pudding cup, which was basically a dark chocolate brownie at that perfect, gooey, half-cooked stage. A little goes a long way there.
Asked how it feels to be an executive chef at such a young age, Baumberger is humble, yet self-assured. "I worked for a lot of really nice guys along the way, and they never really took my age into question," he says. "As long as you carry a little force behind your actions, you're ok." We look forward to seeing what else he'll whip up for Tanzy -- and snacking on some more of those Brussels sprouts.