Things are moving right along at the new Scottsdale restaurant from Laurent Halasz, FRANCINE. The restaurant has named local Brian Archibald as executive chef and is holding a job fair July 7th & 8th. At first the restaurant will open for dinner on August 14th at Scottsdale Fashion Square’s new luxury wing then will open for lunch & brunch in September. The restaurant planned to open in April but delays were caused by the coronavirus shutdown. Laurent Halasz owns other restaurants in L.A. and other locations.
Archibald will work alongside Halasz at the new fine dining Mediterranean restaurant inspired by the south of France. Archibald has almost 30 years of cookimg experience at The Phoenician, Boulders Resort and JW Marriott at Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. He’s also worked at several top resorts around the world.
“When you walk into the dining room we want our guests to feel like they’ve been transported to the French Rivera. We have created a relaxing and warm coastal feel with casual elegance and similar to the atmosphere, FRANCINE’s cuisine will feature all the seasonal flavors one would find in the Mediterranean prepared in a very soulful way,” said Archibald.
Long time restaurateur Yianni Ioannou opens his new restaurant KOVO Modern Mediterranean in mid-September on the northeast corner of Shea & Tatum. Growing up in Cyprus he came to the United States and operated Greek restaurants learning all aspects of the restaurant industry.
According to Ioannou, “We are excited to bring to the Valley the simple, delicious flavors and bright spices of the Mediterranean. This area of the globe is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences. This diversity of cuisine will be showcased at KOVO in a modern, approachable way.”
Traditional dishes at KOVO Modern Mediterranean
KOVO Modern Mediterranean will highlight traditional dishes from family recipes, Yianni’s travels throughout the region and his time in the Greek restaurants. A wood fired oven will cook pizzas and other specialties including lamb, beef and organic chicken. KOVO is Greek for “to carve” and the meats will be cooked vertically in a rotisserie style in the open kitchen.
Shared plates such as hummus, tzatziki, grilled eggplant, grilled octopus and Hallumi will be served along with cheese boards and bruschetta. Savory and sweet pastries including Spanokapita and Baklava will also be served and available for take-out.
Signature cocktails, craft beers and old and new world wines will be served.
The 4,000 square foot restaurant will have an open feel and modern design. Mediterranean tiles and ocean blue accents will highlight design features. The dining room, bar and patio has room for more than 140 guests.
Kovo Modern Mediterranean will be open 7 days a week with lunch and dinner Monday – Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is at 10625 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, Ariz., 85028. For updates and information check out http://www.kovomedi.com/
Chicken is the #1 food trend for 2018 according to Nation’s Restaurant News which is great news for the local quick casual concept Chick-In. Located on the ASU campus in Tempe, Chick-In uses chicken as the main ingredient in its Mediterranean inspired cuisine with an emphasis on authentic Israeli dishes.
Owner Yariv Elazar is from Israel opened Chick-In in May of this year with head chef Maayan Glass who wanted to bring authentic dishes of his homeland to the ASU campus. Israeli cuisine is #3 on the list of top food trends of 2018.The versatility of chicken as a protein and its affordability are two of the reasons it placed at the top of the list released in early November.
That versatility and affordability are evident on the menu at Chick-In with an assortment of sandwiches, platters, bowls along with vegan options as well. The restaurant also keeps kosher. All meals are made fresh to order and Grab & Go salads are made fresh daily.
Chick-In is in Wilson Hall at 24 E. Orange Mall Tempe 85281. 480-665-2185. For hours and to see the menu visit their website.
When word spread earlier this year that Kevin Binkley would close his Scottsdale restaurant his followers were perplexed, relief came when word spread that a new Mediterranean restaurant, Char Kitchen + Bar would take its place. Char Kitchen is owned by a family of restaurant veterans, the Micakaj family, most notably is daughter & sister Pauline Martinez, co-owner of Scottsdale’s Perk Eatery. Peter, the father has owned & operated restaurants in Michigan for years and son Pal has honed his restaurant skills working with his dad.
My fellow restaurant bloggers and I were treated to Micakaj’s hospitality to taste several of the menu items that are influenced by the family’s Albanian heritage along with other eastern European and Mediterranean favorites.
“We look forward to serving our neighbors the kind of food we serve in our own home with the same, familiar atmosphere,” said Peter Micakaj
char kitchen + bar’s menu
Char uses locally sourced ingredients when possible and here are a few of the favorites we tasted. From the Starters part of the menu which we tasted the Chicken Lollis ($9), eaten off the bone that is bathed in a Pomegranate Harissa BBQ sauce, topped with crumbled Feta cheese and pickled onions. Sweet and savory this was a favorite to eat with great presentation. Prefer a bit of a kick to start off your meal, the Siracha Chicken Skewers ($8) offer just that with juicy char grilled chicken served over Basmati rice.
The Grilled Pork Chop ($24) seemed to be the favorite of the night with its Bing cherry and red wine reduction that gave a kiss of sweet flavor. Seared cabbage and lightly crisped potatoes offer a crisp texture to compliment thick cut juicy pork chop that offered enough to take home leftovers. Chicken ($17) & Steak ($19) Skewers come served over Basmati rice and offer a traditional style meal found in often in eastern Europe. Grilled Lamb Chops ($32) comes 4 to a plate and are soft and drizzled with Chimichurri sauce that will make not want to leave any meat on the bone. A pile potatoes and vegetables accompany the lamb chops.
Save room for dessert, especially the Chocolate Mocha Hazelnut Cake that was both sinful and delicious to end our experience. Sandwiches, pita, salads and skewers and more are available make return visits inevitable.
Char Kitchen + Bar is open daily for lunch and dinner and is at 6107 N. Scottsdale Road 85250 (480) 664-9238 http://charkitchen.com/