Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey is bringing fine dining to the Melrose District

Master sushi chef and owner Engin Onural is bringing his popular sushi restaurant Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey to Phoenix’s Melrose District come May. A hit in Palm Springs the experience includes hard to get Japanese whiskeys, the foundation of the restaurant’s cocktail program. Onural has been recognized by the Sushi Proficiency Institute and certified by the AJSA Sushi Skills Institute. He placed in the Best Chefs America Index in 2015 and was the recipient of the World Sushi Cup and Kuro-Obi Pin in 2017.

“We put an incredible amount of care and attention to detail into everything we do from start to finish at Sandfish to ensure an impeccable experience when guests dine with us,” says Chef Onural. “We look forward to creating an environment where the residents of Phoenix can enjoy an intimate date night or a special celebration.”

What to expect at Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

Guests dining at Sandfish will be taken on a culinary journey that will tantalize all the senses. The expertly curated menu starts with Spicy Tuna Tostada, Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and more. Signature rolls are where Onural lets his creative senses flow with The Experiment Roll (snow crab with mango, avocado and cucumber topped with tuna, jalapeno, cilantro and yuzu aioli) and the Baby Langoustine Roll (crab meat and avocado topped with tempura-style baby langoustine, spicy aioli, teriyaki sauce and micro greens).

Braised and grilled Spanish Octopus and Hamachi Kama (yellowtail collar) are just a couple dishes that aren’t sushi. Salads, sushi rolls and carpaccio are featured on the menu. The adventurous may opt for the Omakase Chef’s Tasting Menu which includes popular dishes with a few surprises from Onural. Save room for the signature Matcha Cheese cake for dessert. The bar will include signature and classic cocktails, sake, beer, wine and mocktails. Whiskeys from around the world will also be available.

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey will be at 4232 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix and  is currently hiring staff for all positions. For more information visit their website.

Chefs Rochelle Daniel & Samantha Sanz headline James Beard dinner

Two of Phoenix’s top chefs are collaborating when the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America returns on Wednesday, February 23rd. Chefs Rochelle Daniel of Fat Ox & Atria and Samantha Sanz (pictured) of elements are teaming as part of the Foundation’s 18 city chef hosted dinner series to raise money, support and celebrate local restaurants. Sanz will host the dinner as its being held at elements restaurant at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort where she’s Chef de Cuisine.

The three course menu will showcase each of the chef’s unique styles of cooking and the restaurants they represent. Dinner begins a bread course from Breadworks by MJ Coe and James Porter. First course gives guests a choice of Sakana Blue baby scallops with shrimp mousseline, apple and seafoam or a vegetarian-friendly brown butter-poached cauliflower with apple and hazelnuts. For an entrée, guests can choose smoked beef short rib with porcini tamal, black truffle mole and pomegranate or a mushroom steak with truffle mole and pomegranate. For dessert guests will enjoy a coffee-chocolate tart with whiskey caramel. Each course is being paired with Arizona’s Rune Wines and a flight of four whiskeys from Rabbit Hole Distillery.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. and seats are $350 per pair and also include a swag bag. As part of the Taste America initiative to help local restaurants and diners support the local industry 65% of the dinners ticket purchase goes to the featured chefs to support their business and the remaining 35% goes to the James Beard Foundation’s national programs including Open for Good which has helped restaurants survive the pandemic and re-build. Seating is limited and Covid-19 safety protocols will be enforced. To join Rochelle Daniel and Samantha Sanz get your tickets at the Foundation’s website.

The Wilde Resort & Spa opens signature restaurant Rascal

Sedona’s newest resort, The Wilde Resort & Spa, opened in September has introduced Rascal, its signature restaurant with Executive Chef Mercer Mohr. Rascal serves diner comfort food with Chef Mohr’s innovative and market driven ingredients and dishes.

“We are thrilled to officially be opening our doors and can’t wait to share the amazing menu we’ve created with our local community and visitors,” says Mohr. “In addition to incredible food, Rascal will deliver a unique vibe and sense of place that is integral to The Wilde Resort & Spa experience.”

The Wilde Resort & Spa
Dry rub St. Louis pork ribs

The classic diner fare with an upscale twist, Rascal serves breakfast all day & lunch til 3 p.m. with happy hour and dinner starting at 4. Guests can expect all-American dishes including Rascal eggs benedict, biscuits & gravy and beef brisket hash and poached egg. Other highlights include crispy southern fried chicken, lamb chop lolli-pops, grilled salmon with Greek lemon pasta and more.

Handcrafted cocktails compliment the menu serving classic cocktails that are playful and sophisticated. The “Old Rascal” features Old Grand Dad bourbon with baked apple demerara, house bitters and ginger mist. The “Young Rascallion” is made with Rittenhouse rye, peach, orgeat, smoked bitters, lemon and aquafaba. Local craft beers including Mother Road Brewing and Four Peaks are poured as are small format wineries from the Sedona area and beyond.

For more information about Rascal check out their website.

 

Bitter & Twisted and Aioli Gourmet Burgers partner for new in-house menu

Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has joined forces with the award-winning Aioli Gourmet Burgers for a new menu to pair with their cocktail program. The newly re-vamped menu was created by Aioli’s Executive Chef Vicktor Velez.

“Bitter & Twisted has always been committed to innovation and constant evolution with the ultimate goal of providing a world-class cocktail lounge experience here in Phoenix. With their food truck roots and success now as top flight restaurateurs, I knew Tom and Kyle were the perfect partners for the B&T kitchen, and Chef Vicktor has created some amazing new dishes and flavors,” says proprietor Ross Simon, who also notes that B&T founding chef, Bob Tam, remains a partner at B&T, while also having more “freedom and opportunities to concentrate on his other businesses and partner projects.”

New dishes at Bitter & Twisted

Chef Velez’s new menu is inspired by his travels through Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines while still keeping with Aioli’s co-owners Tommy D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck vision of sourcing fresh, seasonal & local ingredients. Guests to Bitter & Twisted can enjoy dishes such as Togarashi Tuna Tataki, one of Velez’s favorites on the new menu, along with Korean French Fries, Korean Loaded Nachos, Truffled Mac & Cheese and of course an Aioli burger.

“It’s a huge honor for us to have this opportunity to partner with Ross at Bitter & Twisted. I’m proud to see Chef Vicktor’s growth and development in this role as he continues to create new and innovative dishes,” said Tom D’Ambrosio, Owner/Chef of Aioli Gourmet.

The award-winning cocktail bar has also updated their hours of service from Tuesday through Thursday (4 – 11pm food served till 10pm) and Friday and Saturday (4pm – 1am food served till 10pm), with Happy Hour served Tuesday through Friday (4 – 6 pm). Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is located at 1 W. Jefferson St. (Jefferson & Central) Phoenix. For information check their website.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails debuts new dishes & cocktails

I made my first visit to Downtown Phoenix’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails recently as it launched its new food & cocktails menus in late August. The signature restaurant inside the Hotel Palomar welcomed new Executive Chef Brian Peterson who created the new dishes with his culinary team. Peterson’s “New American Cuisine” offers Starters & Shareable & entrees that include a curated beef program.

“The menu is very approachable and made with the freshest, all-natural, quality ingredients that are seasonally sourced from the area’s best local farmers,” said Chef Peterson. “The vibrancy and energy of our downtown Phoenix location is exhilarating and we are thrilled that our neighborhood restaurant is in the center of it all.”

My dinner at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

I started with a “Sicilian Summer Spritzer” from the Seasonal Cocktails menu to go with our Starters. The Maker’s Mark, Averna, Cardomano, Lemon & Soda libation reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea from years past and I could had a second or third of this refreshing cocktail. One of the first to offer “craft cocktails” other signature cocktails include the Blue Hound Signature Old Fashioned, Buffalo Tears, Red & Smokey and more with an emphasis on bourbon & whiskey. Craft beer on draft & in bottle and wines are also available. My photos can be found on my Instagram, @SandyWass.

My dinner guest and I started with the Mushroom Pate with carrot jam, pickled onions & charred toast points. All was good with the carrot jam having the most flavor. We also shared the Beef Cheek Poutine with cheese curds, giardinerra & bone marrow gravy. The look to be house cut fries could’ve been a bit crisper but still  it’s a nice twist on a favorite from north of the border. Other dished that sounded good but not ordered on this visit were the Rolled & Fried Chicken Thighs and the Charred Octopus.

My guest ordered the Iberico Secreto (Iberico, the Wagyu of Spain ham, fatty shoulder meat) with bbq fennel, Pt. Reyes grits & cherry mustrda for his entree and he was happy. I went with Chef’s Cut of The Day which was a 16 oz. Rib Eye with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese chips, spinach & mushrooms. A nice outside darkness and rare-medium rare middle was a filling piece of beef. Then BHKC burger sounded good as did the duck breast. We finished our meal with a dessert special of Homemade Pound Cake with espresso gelato and caramel sauce. The cake was thick and dense, not you mom’s pound cake.

Feeling adventurous then “Trust the Team” with a five course dinner on the whim of the culinary team. A wine and cocktail pairing can be had with this dinner option.

For more information and to see the menu visit the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails website.

 

 

Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar hires exec chef Matthew Kassman

Glendale native Matthew Glassman has been named to run the kitchen at downtown Scottsdale’s Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar. Glassman returns to the valley after graduating the Culinary Institute of America followed by stints at some of the best restaurants in Napa Valley and New York City.

“The culinary world is a small one and over the years I’ve heard so many great things about The Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar and especially the food. It’s a quaint place and the kind of place where I will really be able to develop something special,” said Kassman.

Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar

Kassman honed his old world cooking techniques with world class chef Thomas Keller at his Michelin starred restaurants Bouchon, Per Se and The French Laundry. He was working at the latter in 2020 when Covid hit and he came home to Arizona. At Second Story, Glassman plans to use regional ingredients and a modern touch to such dishes as Caesar salad, steak cooked over Binchotan charcoal with house cut steak fries and more. He’s a fan of bourbon and whiskey and looks forward to pairing them with his awe inspiring dishes and for special dinners.

Seccond Story is at 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd. above The Gelato Spot and is open Tues. Sun. at 4 p.m. – close. For more information and to see the full menu check out their website.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Bring your favorite pooch to Morning Squeeze on August 26th.

Celebrate National Dog Day next Thursday at the popular breakfast & lunch spots locations in Scottsdale, Tempe & downtown Phoenix. Bring them by the restaurant for a free house-made biscuit or something else from the Tail Waggers menu. $.99 Mimosas for you, dog lovers.

Wine Tasting Wednesday Wine at The Mick

One of the best restaurants to open in 2020 is Scottsdale’s The Mick Brasserie & Bar and every Wednesday they host a tasting, usually wine, starting at 6 p.m. Chef Brent (check out my podcast with Brent) creates a special menu for the night and prices do vary week to week. Next Wed. Aug. 25th they’re doing a sake tasting, Sept. 1st- Chardonnays from around the world. Sept. 8th- South African wines, Sept. 15th– Winemaker from Smith/Deveraux Winery Sept. 22nd– Four Peaks Brewery. Visit their website for more information and to see their menu and other up-coming events.

The Buzz Eatery now open in Kierland Commons

After a soft opening in the spring the breakfast, lunch & early dinner spot is now open. Catch a “buzz” from their selection of coffee drinks, wine, cocktails & adult popsicles while enjoying bagels, acai bowls, baked goods, treats and more from their breakfast and all day menu. They open at 7 a.m. Mon. – Sat. & Sun at 8 a.m. and close daily at 7 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row adds new dishes to the menu

The Gilbert location added 7 new dishes recently from new Executive Chef Dustin Cooke. Sweet Chili Cauliflower, Bourbon Glazed Wings, Truffle Mushroom Burger and Maple Almond Salmon are few of the rock star dishes.

FRANCINE celebrates its 1st anniversary with new cocktails

The French inspired Mediterranean restaurant in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square added new cocktails available through the Fall & Winter. The French Connection, an infused rum and St. Germain cocktail, Summer Thyme, uses a Silencio Mezcal base. Le Jardin combines Citadelle gin & yellow chartreuse San Remo is a premium whiskey-based cocktail and Archies Nightcap starts with Botanist Gin & Averna Amaro. All cocktails were created by bartenders Frank Soldano, Gage Myette, Trevyn StClair with the help of Executive Chef Brian ” Chef Archie” Archibald.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

It’s OK to drink pink on National Rosé Day

You don’t need a reason to drink rosé but if you do tomorrow June 12th is the day. These restaurants are celebrating the light & refreshing wine. 1/2 price bottles all day at Thirsty Lion Gastropub, Humble Bistro, 25% off bottles at The Montauk and 10% off bottles & 50% off glasses all day at LDV Winery.

International Falafel Day at Pita Jungle

Rosé goes great with falafel and Saturday the 12th celebrates the Mediterranean dish and the locally owned fast casual restaurants offers 3 dishes, Falafel Pita, Falafel Bowl and a Falafel Salad.

Saturday June 12th is also World Gin Day

The aromatic & botanical white spirit know for Gin & Tonics, Martinis and more is being hailed around Phoenix area restaurants and bar. Head to Zinqué, Blue Clover Distillery, Belle’s Nashville Kitchen, The Sicilian Butcher, The Italian Daughter, CRUjiente Tacos and The Wine Store to raise your glass. Cheers!!

The above establishments will also be celebrating National Bourbon Day a couple days later on Monday June 14th. Phoenix City Grille celebrates with a $12 Bourbon Luxardo Smash.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria its seasonal summertime menu

All locations recently rolled out the new menu that is available until September 7th for dine-in, take-out or 3rd party delivery. Enjoy the Barbecue Chicken Pizza, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Strawberry Cheesecake and cocktails that include a Watermelon Mule and Summertime Sangria.

Match Market & Bar celebrates National Pride Month all month

The signature restaurant, market & bar inside the Found:RE Hotel in downtown Phoenix is cooking up and serving a colorful rainbow cake for June. Slices of the multi layered white cake are $15 with portion of sales going to the local Pride Chapter, Phoenix Pride.

Don’t forget to check my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Whiskey Wednesday’s at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen

The Scottsdale hony tonk bar offers up flights of 4 tastes of whiskey’s every Wednesday for $35-$45. Saturday 3/27 is International Whiskey Day and Belle’s is celebrating with 4 signature whiskey cocktails. Tuesday 3/30 is National Hot Chicken Day and several choices (sandwich, tenders & salad) are on their menu to celebrate with.

Jersey Mike’s donating all sales to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

All 45 sandwich shops around Phoenix will donate 100% of sales on Wednesday 3/31. The day of giving is part of Jersey Mike’s 11th annual month of giving in March and is supported by local valley owners Duane Layton, Bill Mapes and Josh Barton.

New menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Phil “The Grill” updated the menu at his Roosevelt Row BBQ joint to include  Chicken Fried Corn & Chicken Fried Pickles and Family Style smoked meats by the pound for dine-in or to-go. New Philly Crack Wings flavors include Jamaican Jerked, Nashville Hawt and BBQ. Wash it all down with the new vodka based Purple Rain cocktail.

Orin Swift wines paired at Match Market & Bar dinner

No foolin’ around on Thursday April 1st when the downtown Phoenix restaurant inside the Found:RE Hotel pairs 5-courses with red & white wines. $99++ gets you a seat at the table that starts at 7 p.m. Seats can be reserved here and for more information click here.

LDV Winery re-opens tasting room on April Fool’s Day, seriously

No joke here when owners Peggy Fiadaca and Curt Dunham re-open their downtown Scottsdale tasting room after almost a year. Covid-19 and structural issues had them closed longer than expected but they’re glad to be back open seeing friends and pouring their award-winning wines.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

3rd Tuesday wine dinner at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

Every 3rd Tuesday the downtown Gilbert restaurant hosts its monthly wine pairing dinner and March’s dinner is Tuesday the 16th pairing wines from Washington and California with owner Romeo Taus’s specially created 3-course pairing menu. Dinner is $39 per person and starts at 6:30 if you’re dining in, if taking out pick-up is between 6 -7. Call 480-962-4224 to reserve your seat or place your order.

Irish Soda Bread from Mediterra Bakehouse now available

From Saturday March 13th – 20th the local bakehouse has its famous bread available. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day the bread is made with whole wheat flour, buttermilk, sea salt, golden raisins & caraway seeds. The loaf sells for $5.99 and can be found at all AJ’s Fine Foods locations, Whole Foods, Uptown Farmer’s Market, Old Town Scottsdale Farmer’s Market and other retailers.

It’s National Pi Day at Fired Pie

On Sunday 3.14 all 20 locations will be selling any 1 topping pizza for $3.14 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m with the purchase of a beverage. The deal is available in store or if ordering online use promo code PIDAY. 1 per person and no 3rd party deliveries available.

New seasonal menu at Z’ Tejas launches Monday

There’s more than a change in the weather in the near future as restaurants change menus to use seasonal ingredients. The Southwestern cuisine restaurant’s locations in Chandler and Phoenix introduce theirs on Monday March 15th. Diablo Eggs, Stuffed Artichoke Chicken, Goat Cheese Fritters and Lemon Bar Cheesecake are just a few of the highlights that can be had until May 24th.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day around Phoenix

If you’re feeling a little bit Irish next Wednesday the 17th, you’re not alone. Celebrate with Irish beer, corned beef & cabbage or a dram of whiskey and more at SanTan Brewing Co., Match Market & Bar, Phoenix City Grille, Chompie’s, Pedal House Brewery, Thirsty Lion Gastropub, Trapp Haus BBQ STK Steakhouse, and Kona Grill. Slainte!!

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