Okay, so I’m not into “Hip” restaurants and certainly cringe every time I see the the words “Gourmet” and “Burger” side by each. Sometimes however it pays to put prejudice aside. It’s worth opening your mind (and mouth) to notions that run contrary to your opinions. So with that in mind I ignored my instincts and suggested to “The Law” that we hit up the newest, hippest place in the Arcadia neighbourhood of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Grind.
The brainchild of George Monzures and Allen Thompson The Grind “Combines old world tecniques with modern day favorites to create quality appetizers, salads, chicken, fish, steak, burgers and weekly blackboard specials.” Well known and respected local chef Matt McLinn, who has since moved on, fashioned a menu using locally sourced and organic ingredients to compose offerings that are both upscale and simple. If those two factors weren’t enough to tempt you, consider that they have the only 2 coal fired ovens of their kind in the US. Capable of temperatures of over 1000° the heat creates a great crust that seals in the juices of whatever critter they roast.
Found in a strip mall the exterior is quite contemporary looking with it’s wood, stainless steel and glass. You’re greeted with a big heavy door that feels like you’re entering a secret social club.
Inside a long zinc bar provides ample seating with great views of the liquor selection and nine TV’s. The interior is long and slender with a warm use of wood. All adding to the hip and stylish labels.
So enough of all that, let’s have a look at the food. A burger each with sides of wings and fries.
The wings were fantastic. Seasoned and grilled over mesquite charcoal and coverd with their secret wing sauce. They had a nice crispy exterior and were a decent size. They didn’t pick up much of a smoke flavour from the charcoal which was a bit of a surprise. Mesquite is a very pungent wood. I asked what was in the sauce and other than butter and hot sauce they wouldn’t divulge their secret.
The standard celery and carrot sticks that usually accompany wings were done rather differently. Thin julienne’s of carrot were tempura battered and deep fried. Very nice for dipping in the blue cheese sauce. The celery on the other hand was something more. It was like a vinegary, celery slaw. A great idea and one I may just have to steal from them.
The burgers were definitely the stars of the show though. The Nogales burger, named for the county in which Phoenix sits was fresh ground and blasted in the oven to a perfect medium. Topped with arrugala, a corn tamale, chorizo and montery jack cheese it was spectacular. Much like having a hamburger tamale.
The Steakhouse BLT was a bit of a mountain of a burger. Mayo, steak sauce, bacon, grilled onion, fresh tomato and lettuce stacked high. It was a lot to cram into my burger hole but I managed. My only complaint was there was too much lettuce. I’m not big on lettuce on a burger anyway so I took a good portion of it off. This was just a good, solid, tasty burger.
We had some fries with lunch as well. They were fine. They have fresh cut Herbed Fries and Sweet Potato Fries. We couldn’t decide which ones to go with so the bartender suggested a bit of both. Good call.
We left room for desert and it was a good idea. The neighbouring bar patron ordered the donuts and salted butterscotch and they looked fabulous. So, 5 warm yeast donuts lightly covered with powdered sugar and a drizzle of butterscotch. Accompanied by a tremendous home made butterscotch syrup. It was absolutely amazing.Well there you have it. Opening up to different ideas can really pay off. I ignored my thoughts on burgers and restaurants and in the end was rewarded. I guess it’s true what they say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
You can find The Grind at 3961 East Camelback Road in Phoenix, Arizona.
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You can also find them on the web, facebook and twitter.
Well that’s all for now folks, we’ll see you next time in the food court.