Bourbon Steak - Scottsdale Princess

Phx Restaurant Week (2008) :

We had a wonderful experience at Bourbon Steak.

The portions were definitely ample (we asked the busboy if they were smaller than usual, and he informed us that they were slightly smaller, but that they increased the portions later in the week, as they had some complaints early).

The duck fat fries were really great (especially the truffle ones).

The service was great (as you would expect from a high end place like this), with no attitude about "people looking for a restaurant week deal".

The food was excellent. I would recommend the corn soup (I have to disagree with ButterflyWest, as it had a huge flavor burst of sweet corn - like it should), skirt steak, and the begniets (which my New Orleans schooled wife said were just like she remembered from her school days). That seemed to be the best combination of items from the menu (although the "Fish and Chips" looked good as well, if people are meat averse).

Drink prices were not cheap (which quickly inflates the bill), but considering the value of the deal, we were OK with that. I loved my Domain Wachau Reisling (it is a new entry on my list of all time faves), but it was pricey for a single glass.

I also loved the interior design of the restaurant. If I won the lottery, I would hire their designer to do my home (we especially loved the white stone walls). The busboy (can you tell we made a friend that night?) told us that they won a big time design award for the restaurant.

Went back for their "Special Bar Burger menu":

We visited this summer, and got a burger off their burger menu (which they only offer in the bar).  The place was dead (it was 8:00 on a summer night, so maybe this wasn't unexpected).

The menu offers a choice of meats, and then allows you to customize your burger (with a large variety of toppings), or pick one of their "special burgers" (which had the toppings already selected).

We both decided to make our own.  Mine had peppers, avocado, cheese, onions, and ?.  I went with the standard beef (they had other options including salmon, chicken, buffalo, and veggie as well).  The SO had similar toppings.  The burger was great (one of the best I have had).  It was juicy, and flavorful (and definitely hand packed).  It wasn't cheap (I think it was $16 if I remember - which isn't a bargain by any strech), but the great ingredients, and atmosphere make this a little easier to understand (and this is still a relatively cheap way to enjoy Bourbon Steak, which is super expensive).

We got an order of Duck Fat fries to share, which were an incredible bargain at $5 for the order (and we didn't finish them, so it was a large portion).  These were exactly the same as the ones we had during restaurant week, and are really great.

Sol Y Sambra Yelp Eats! Promotion

Went to Sol Y Sambra for the Yelp Eats! promotion. First things first, they were very upfront about offering the deal. I have been to other restaurants that don't supply the special discount, unless you specifically ask for it (which is uncomfortable). Sol had the menu on the table, and the waiter pointed it out (saying - "you should definitely go with it, as it will be much cheaper"). Great start.

We got the following items (they had 3 or 4 different selections in 3 categories - Apps, Meats, and deserts): Grilled Broccoli, Shrimp, Short Rib, Duck Breast, Baked Apple., and chocolate tart (sorry I don't remember the flowery names for these dishes).

I had wanted to try this place, but never got around to it, so this promotion was definitely a reason why we went. I was expecting authentic tapas atmosphere, but it was quite the opposite - the room was very upscale (urban and hip). Our table wasn't ready, but they seated us quickly in another one in the bar area (which was great).

The food was great, and the portions were quite large (we left absolutely stuffed). Me and my SO love to share, so the Tapas type presentations were perfect for us (all the items were setup to share easily).

The standouts were the short rib (really beefy, and fatty which is how it should be). The shrimp consisted of quite a few small shrimp (I would guess 30 -45) in a light tomato sauce. The duck was nice (prepared well, still juicy, but not raw in the least) - with a nice sauce that must have had ground up nuts in it. The chocolate tart for desert was nice (and you could taste the high quality dark chocolate used in it). I did find some of the dishes a bit salty, but still quite nice.

Overall, I was very impressed with the overall experience - especially some of the small things (like the confirmation call earlier in the day, and the great service from the hostess when our table wasn't ready). Our service was polished (exactly as it should be - the waiter was around when we needed him, but not in our face too much).

I should mention we had a few cocktails - of them, the Calibra was a standout for me (it was Cherry, Grapefruit and Sprite). All the tastes meshed, but stood on their own. I also had a ginger lemonade, which was only OK. My SO had something with Pomegranite, but I didn't taste it. The fact that their drinks come with fresh squeezed juices is a major plus (and indicative of the kind of attention to details I found throughout the whole dinner).

Bottom line, this promotion was a great deal, and the restaurant itself exceeded my expectations. We will return.

Here is what we ate: 1. Pick 1: Carribean sweet shrimp with sherry sauce and herbs, grilled broccoli with caramelized onion sauce and sea salt 2. Pick 1: Grilled short rib with Romesco and calcots, Roasted duck breast with sauce picada 3. Baked Apple, Dark Chocolate Tart

Deal was $25 per person.

Update (Sept 1, 2009): Sol Y Sambra has closed for business.  We ate there a few weeks before they closed up.  Aaron may is opening other restaurants (looks like the location is in the Ice Den in North Scottsdale - replacing Peter Piper Pizza).   Apparently they closed due to a dispute with their landlord, and not because they didn't have enough business (it was packed the night we were there).

Sea Saw Scottsdale AZ

Had the great pleasure of eating at Sea Saw in Old Town Phoenix.  We had eaten there a few years ago (for my birthday), but figured that "Saturday" would have to be the special occassion this time. The meal was wonderful.  Many of the dishes were among the best things I have ever tasted.  Overwhelmingly, the fish was amongst the freshest I have ever tasted.

Here is what we ate:

White Fish Carpacio - this is a white fish (don't know which variety), in a delicious broth with garlic, sesami seeds, and pepper.  It comes with a side of garlic bread "nuggets" which are perfect to mop up every last bite of the delicious sauce.

Kinme (special of the day) - It was cooked fish on a slice of cucumber, with a wonderful sauce.

Lamb Chops - I think these might be a little out of place with their normal menu.  It was 4 small charred peices of leg of lamb with a mango chutney,  and  sauce that tasted quite a bit like "bar-b-q" sauce (but I am sure was much more fancy than that).

Black cod marinated in miso, with a side of slaw.

Himachi - on top of grapefruit and avacodo, with micro-greens in center.  I have hamachi at pretty much every sushi restaurant I ever go to.  This was the best peice of hamachi I have ever had.  It melted in your mouth (and the accompianments accentuated the flavor, without overpowering it).

Gravalax with almond, and pecorino-ramano, on top of a baslamic and basil oil.  (Really Crudo)

Drank: Prosecco