When a brand new spot opens on the town, we’re desperate to test it out, let you recognize our preliminary impressions, share just a few images, and dish about some menu gadgets. First Taste, because the title implies, isn’t a full-blown evaluate, however as a substitute, a peek inside eating places which have simply opened — an event to pattern just a few gadgets and fulfill curiosities (each yours and ours).
Location: 218 East Portland Avenue
Eats/drinks: Effective eating with upscale American fare with cocktails and wine
Open: About 4 months
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday
In a gray brick constructing with black accents resembling a contemporary house, the house on Portland Avenue formerly known as Josephine now goes by Character. It opened this previous November. The restaurant is led by Peter Kasperski of Scottsdale’s (now closed) Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar and Richie Moe, a mixologist who ran cocktail applications on the likes of The Gladly, Citizen Public Home, and Bourbon & Bones Chophouse and Bar.
We stopped by just a few weeks in the past for a Saturday night time dinner.
In a phenomenal however largely brown eating room, the ornate chandelier that Josephine diners as soon as marveled at was notably absent. Character’s wine cellar, housed in a transparent glass vault, was good to take a look at, however on the entire, the inside design leaves a bit to be desired.
One of the best plate of the night? An order of burrata and meatballs off the “Graze” part of the menu. Hearty, heavy meatballs relaxation atop contemporary burrata cheese, oozing over a country fennel tomato sauce. Leek oil provides depth whereas grilled nation bread offered ample alternatives for dipping. A superb starter, paired with a glass of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay –- buttery with hints of Golden Scrumptious apples, Bosc pears, toasted nuts, and oak spice. (Our vodka press was additionally completed properly.)
The Arizona State Salad arrives in downtown Phoenix.
One other must-order: The Chopped Salad. That is an oft-mentioned dish at New Occasions and elsewhere, and served at Citizen Public Home for years. It is dubbed the Arizona State Salad. The factor has its personal Facebook page. This Chopped Salad was served with pesto buttermilk dressing and an entire lineup of winners: arugula, couscous, Asiago cheese, pepitas, and dried currants. Timeless as ever. Kasperski, you’ve got nonetheless received it.
Our venison was fantastically plated, with beurre rouge over cipollini onions and an acorn spaghetti squash puree with snap peas and fried sage. At medium-rare, it wasn’t gamey, however a satisfying sufficient carnivorous dish.
The grilled artichoke hearts with Bellavitano mousse have been wealthy and satisfying.
The crispy grilled artichoke hearts came visiting Bellavitano mousse (a tough cow’s milk cheese with a nutty however fruity taste) and tomato French dressing with lemon thyme. They have been zesty however the mousse was virtually too wealthy, although the char from the grill added some dimension to the dish.
Sea scallops, one other from the “Graze” portion, have been decidedly lighter however approach over-salted. The pair was served with a saffron Bernaise and marinated grape tomatoes. The server-recommended salt and vinegar waffle fries’ have been additionally too salty. (Sure, salt and vinegar fries are purported to be salty, however this was further.) When the server cleared the desk for dessert, a handful of waffle-shaped stragglers lingered within the bowl, their brininess an excessive amount of to totally bear.
Due to the hits of sodium, dessert beckoned: butterscotch bread pudding made with home brioche bread and topped with spiced pecans and butter pecan swirl ice cream. It did the trick.
As for Alias, a dimly lit speakeasy a fast stroll behind Character — it should wait for an additional night time.
Preserve Phoenix New Occasions Free… Since we began Phoenix New Occasions, it has been outlined because the free, unbiased voice of Phoenix, and we want to maintain it that approach. Providing our readers free entry to incisive protection of native information, meals and tradition. Producing tales on all the pieces from political scandals to the most popular new bands, with gutsy reporting, trendy writing, and staffers who’ve received all the pieces from the Society of Skilled Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. However with native journalism’s existence below siege and promoting income setbacks having a bigger influence, it will be significant now greater than ever for us to rally help behind funding our native journalism. You possibly can assist by taking part in our “I Assist” membership program, permitting us to maintain protecting Phoenix with no paywalls.