Although the doors didn't officially open until Saturday, about a hundred guests enjoyed a sneak preview Friday night of one of the Valley's most highly anticipated new restaurants, The Gladly.
Chef Bernie Kantak, Andrew Fritz and mixologist/bar master extraordinaire Richie Moe, the triumvirate responsible for Scottsdale's Citizen Public House, took what was formerly Ruth's Chris Steak House in the Biltmore area and have created a space, menu and hefty assortment of cocktails that people are sure to be talking about far beyond this weekend.
Three things catch the eye upon entering the spacious, yet cozy, bar/dining area - hand-airbrushed murals decorating several of the walls, a ceiling high display of "the Valley's largest scotch and whiskey collection" behind the bar and the two street-facing walls made of floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing the space to seamlessly transform from an airy lunchtime spot to a stylish and well-boozed nighttime escape.
Guests made good use of that liquor collection, and the bartenders' skills, by ordering drinks both on and off the night's provided menu. The Thai Margarita made with a tamarind reduction and Thai chili sea salt, the Salute, a twist on a classic French 75, and the Gladly Manhattan, a mixture of Russell's Reserve Bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, tobacco and leather bitters, Guinness maple syrup, toasted orange peel and a Marasca cherry, were the suggested drinks of the night.
Several guests just couldn't resist going off the beaten path and sampling some of the other nine signature cocktails, like the Sazerac, a concoction of Templeton rye whiskey, sugar, Peychaud's bitters and toasted Pernod absinthe rinse. Yes, toasted absinthe. The bartenders would pour a little absinthe in the glass, grab a blowtorch and light it up, which highly entertained the guests while also caramelizing the sugars in the absinthe.
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Guests who weren't interested in the show at the bar sat and mingled throughout the restaurant while sampling a variety of miniaturized dishes Chef Kantak created, including a variation of their octopus salad with pineapple and jicama, a pan-seared scallop with bacon and sweet corn grits, the pistachio chicken liver pate served on toast with mustard, pickled onion and capers and a buttermilk bread pudding with blueberry compote.
The night ended with a champagne toast made by Richie Moe standing up behind the bar, because, honestly, where else would he be? He also announced that The Gladly plans to begin serving lunch a few weeks into September and brunch shortly thereafter, which may or may not include waffles with - wait for it - bone-marrow butter. Enough said.