The Scottsdale Restaurant Where Dinner is An Adventure

Sit at this counter and watch dinner unfold before your eyes.
Sit at this counter and watch dinner unfold before your eyes. Patricia Escarcega
8: The Chef's Counter at Posh Improvisational Cuisine

What does it mean to dine "extemporaneously?" It means that you're probably sitting at the sleek chef's counter at Posh Improvisational Cuisine, the Scottsdale restaurant where chef Josh Hebert and his culinary team devise multicourse menus on the fly before your eyes, featuring dishes tailored to your particular food preferences.

"Serious Food, Extemporaneous Style" is the restaurant's tagline, and it pretty much sums up a good night at Posh. This is fine dining, often crafted with equal parts virtuosity and playfulness.

If you have not yet been to Posh, locating the restaurant's front entrance may contribute to the general sense of mystery that comes with not knowing exactly what you're getting into. You'll find Posh at the Optima Camelview Condominium Building, above a subterranean parking garage. It helps to know that the restaurant faces Scottsdale Road, which may not be readily apparent from the address.

Your first decision involves picking out how many courses you want for dinner; five courses seems to be the golden mean for most people. You can pick out roughly the central ingredients of your dinner, and you have the option to skip out on any of your least favorite foods.

The joy and pleasure of dining at Posh, though, tends to be roughly equal to how far you can manage to stretch your palate, and the level of trust you allow yourself to place in the kitchen's hands. You know all those zen koans designed to illuminate the importance of letting go and living in the moment? The dining room at Posh is a pretty good place to put that kind of thinking into practice.

The best seat in the house is at the counter, where you have full view of the open kitchen, gleaming with all  manner of smooth, stainless steel kitchen equipment. Dinner will start with an amuse bouche, and maybe it will be some artfully plated uni; or maybe it will be a Belgian endive served with a blood orange vinaigrette. Maybe that will be followed by an octopus salad, and then a foie gras that brings you perilously close to licking your plate.

You can place a request for exotic proteins, or request the simple, familiar ingredients that you know and love. But you're at Posh, and it'd be a shame to waste the talent and bounty of ingredients at your disposal by playing it too safe.

Where's the fun in that?

click to enlarge Chef Josh Hebert (pictured) and his team will craft a menu designed just for you at Posh Improvisational Cuisine in Scottsdale. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Chef Josh Hebert (pictured) and his team will craft a menu designed just for you at Posh Improvisational Cuisine in Scottsdale.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

The Essentials so far:
50: Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore.
49: "Dragon" Dumpling Burger at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
48: Dizzy Fig Empanada at Republica Empanada.
47: Linguine Carbonara at Avanti.
46: The Food Court at Mercado de los Cielos.
45: Chicken Feta Salad at George’s Kitchen.
44: Spinach & Cheese Chimi Burro at Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant.
43: Dinner at Rustler's Rooste.
42: Gyro Omelet at Mel's Diner.
41: Zipps Wings at Zipps Sports Grill.
40: Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.
39: Asian Nachos at Moto.
38: Olive Oil Tasting at Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill.
37: Baby Back Ribs at Don & Charlie's.
36: Limoncello at Cibo.
35: Chili Salt Chicken Wings at Asian Café Express.
34: Smoked Prime Rib at Texaz.
33: Steak Salad at Feeney's.
32: Tasting Menu at Kai Restaurant.
31: Toffee Banofi Sundae at Sweet Republic.
30: Big Jim at Welcome Diner.
29: Sonoran Hot Dog at El Caprichoso.
28: Sashimi at Nobuo at Teeter House.
27: Oysters at Casey Moore's Oyster House.
26: Spring rolls at Da Vang.
25: Bruschetta and wine at Postino.
24: Hot green chili fry bread at Fry Bread House.
23: The Big One at The Chuckbox.
22: Cahuamanta Stew at Cahuamanta El Yaqui.
21: Dim Sum at Great Wall Cuisine.
20: Fried chicken at The Horny Toad.
19: George & Dragon’s Famous Fish & Chips.
18: Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches at Pho 43rd Express.
17: Cerreta Candy Co. Factory Tour & Candy Sampling in Downtown Glendale.
16: Steak Dinner at The Stockyards.
15: Margarita + Guacamole del Barrio at Barrio Cafe.
14: BBQ Plate at Joe's Real BBQ.
13: Fried Chicken & Pork Chops from Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe.
12: Breakfast Burrito at Yucca Tap Room.
11: Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies at Super Chunk.
10: Doro Wat at Cafe Lalibela.
9: Lunch at Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli.
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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.