Tonight Renegade MOD (formerly Renegade Canteen and Renegade Tap & Kitchen) opens to the public, last night a handful of people including myself got a first look and taste of several of the menu items. Most of the interior has stayed the same with the exception of several large murals on the walls in the dining room and over the bar by local artist Lalo Cota. The biggest change has been in the menu as former Kai executive chef Michael O’Dowd (the MOD in Renegade MOD) has come on board not only as executive chef but as a partner. Previously chefs Robert McGrath and Aaron May were involved but more in a consulting role. While at Kai, Chef O’Dowd garnered numerous 5 star and diamond reviews making it one of the best restaurants in the state and based on what I saw and tasted last night diners can expect more stellar reviews along with his outside of the box menu and creative presentation.

As guests mingled throughout the dining room, bar and patio we were served several samples of a few of the menu items brought to us by the attentive servers and we sipped on rum punch served in a plastic bag and drank through a straw and kept cold with a Kool Aid ice-cube. All of the samples were very good with my first taste being of the Grouper “Fish Stix”($26) is chef O’Dowd take on Macaroni & Cheese that is topped with Blue Crab and Shaved Cabbage and Ginger Slaw and is tossed with Toothpaste of Rouille. Creamy and good I found myself not turning this sample down when asked a couple of more times.

Grouper "Fish Stix"
Grouper “Fish Stix”

The Heirloom Tomato, Soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho($9) had kick to it and it’s cool temperature makes it a perfect starter for the hot summer months. Served for us in a shot glass made for a nice touch.
Heirloom Tomato, soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho
Heirloom Tomato, soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho

The Venison Lollipops Dusted w/ Dry Mole ($14) has a hint of a gamey taste along with traditional mole flavor. If your fan of Mole this is not to be missed.

The chunks of Simply Put…Pork Belly ($11) are infused with Mexican Vanilla, Blis 9 & Peach Cobbler. Nothing else need be said, after all it is pork belly & the name says it all. Get some!

The Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate ($12) looks like a sliced sushi roll and it’s uniquely topped with a poached free range egg, cured meat nuggets and rendered duck scented black bread made for one of the more creative dishes of the evening.

Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate
Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate

All though we did not taste the Big Azz Burger ($12) as a whole we were served meatballs using the combination ground pork, chuck and buffalo meats that is forged with roasted Poblano peppers, Maple bacon and spices. A great way to tease us as you know I have to go back and check it out as the meatballs were awesome.

A couple of other menu items sounded very interesting including Seafood In a Bag ($33), Kobe Chicken “Jerked” with Sweet Potato Casserole ($28) and the Re-Imagined Panzanella Composition ($16).

This dinner only restaurant should definitely tempt the palate of local foodies and be one of the more innovative experiences that the Scottsdale restaurant scene has been exposed to and with Chef O’Dowd’s reputation it should make the 3rd time a charm for this Renegade.

Renegade MOD is at 9343 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale 85260 (480)614-9400 and hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Tues. – Thurs. 5:30 – 11 on Sat. and 5:30 – 10 on Sun. Closed on Mon.

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