Tucked up in the desert amongst golf courses and the growth of north Scottsdale is the 431 room Zona Hotel and Suites. To coincide with a renovation that started in the summer of 2011, they also have re-branded the restaurant that is on property calling it, Graze Desert Grille. Emphasizing the cuisine of the Southwest, Executive Chef Kevin Myers uses the ingredients sourced from local farmers and suppliers and using all natural ingredients. Food and Beverage director Brian Blanke will compliment the food by featuring Arizona wines, spirits and beers along with other selections. I recently had the opportunity to taste several items from the new menu to debut April 5th, 2012.
The evening started with select cocktails of our choice including Flagstaff’s High Spirits Distillery gin for Martinis.
If your a fan of corned beef hash you won’t be disappointed by the Corned Beef & Green Chile Hash that comes topped with an Sunny Side Up egg. tasty and with a hint of spice this is a good way to start your day.
I enjoyed the Duck & Brie Quesadilla that includes duck confit, caramelized apples and Brie cheese and drizzled with Balsamic vinegar. A nice combination of sweet, creamy and savory make this a unique take on the classic appetizer.
Locally grown vegetables are the stars of 2 of the salads I tasted, The Rocket Salad uses Arugula that is tossed with dried apricot, aged Manchego cheese, pistachios and oregano dressing. The Beet Salad is complimented with Purple Haze goat cheese, baby lettuce and a hazelnut vinaigrette. Both salads are flavorful and make for a great light lunch or as a start to your dinner.
Pressed Pulled Pork Sandwich uses in house seasoned and smoked pork that comes served on a locally baked Ciabatta rolled and is topped with Arugula, sweet and sour onions and a Guajillo pepper aioli. This was one of my favorites of the evening and comes served with thick cut, crispy French fries.
Two of the entrees were tasted on this evening and I recommend both of them. If you’re in the mood for fish the pan seared Grouper should serve you well. The white, flaky fish is served over a bed of spaghetti squash, it is drizzled with smoked tomato butter and comes with braised greens that offer a nice contrast to the other ingredients. If red meat is part of your plan the Whiskey Braised Shortribs is not to be missed. Placed atop a pile of white cheddar and chive mashed potatoes, it comes with spinach from local farmers markets, an oven roasted tomato and its own juices pour over it. Tender and flavorful the meat is very good.
All courses were paired with the wines from Arizona Stronghold Vineyards with the exception of the pork sandwich which was paired with Lake Havasu City’s Mudshark Brewery’s Scorpion Amber Ale. The wines all tasted very good and were paired well with the food. National Sales Manager Paula Woosley joined us to talk about the wines and the success Arizona Stronghold and the Arizona wine industry is enjoying.
Graze Desert Grille
7677 East Princess Boulevard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255