By Alison Bailin Batz | March 29, 2021
North Scottsdale boasts so many delicious dining destinations, it makes deciding where to eat even harder.
Here is a curated list of epicurean experiences based on what you might be craving at any given time.
The perfect steak
The family-owned and -operated Modern Oysterbar Chophouse has a secret weapon to its success on the grill: executive Michael Bouwens. The master of red meat is a veteran of Vincent’s on Camelback, 5th & Wine, Morton’s, Flemings, Roaring Fork and Zinc Bistro. He brings all of those years of delicious experience to the Modern Oysterbar Chophouse kitchen, including a relationship with the internationally lauded Linz Meats of Chicago, known for some of the best cuts in the world. Do not miss the 30-day wet aged cuts he is sourcing from them, including a center cut filet that will make your eyes roll back in your head and a perfectly marbled prime bone-in ribeye.
Light yet flavorful
Equal parts nourishing and nosh-worthy, Civana’s two restaurants, which are open to the public, are perfectly crafted by executive chef Scott Winegard. Winegard, who spent years at buzzy plant-seed restaurant group Matthew Kenney Cuisine and took over the kitchen at the wellness resort in 2020. His menus at Seed and signature dinner restaurant Terras are seasonally focused with the freshest of ingredients. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared and modern in technique, taking into account one’s overall health and wellness (as well as dietary restrictions and preferences) with every bite.
Do not miss The Mick. This modern French brasserie is all about small plates and takes its inspiration from any region once under French rule. This means that in addition to more standard items, guests are in for a treat with flavor infusions from Africa, Southeast Asia and even New Orleans. Given that executive chef and co-owner Brent Menke is an Arizona native, expect a little Southwestern spice kicking up the heat in some dishes as well. (See related story in Upfront.)
‘Famously’ good food
Last year, James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Scott Conant expanded his Arizona restaurant portfolio by becoming an owner of The Americano. A Scottsdale resident, Conant previously made local headlines in the Valley with the opening of Mora Italian, a progressive Italian restaurant, in 2017. Though newer to the local culinary scene, his name is a familiar one to foodies. For years, he has been a fixture of the Food Network, notably as the long-time judge of “Copped” and host of spinoff “Chopped Sweets.”
If you have a taste for elevated American…
Robust flavors and exceptionally beautiful plating are a hallmark of executive chef Sara Garrant at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess. She learned to develop rich flavors while growing up in a tiny fishing community in Alaska. She literally grabbed the day’s fresh catch from the pier as a small child and threw it on a skillet, in the oven or atop a grill. Clearly fearless from a young age, Garrant approaches her kitchen today with the same gusto, and it shows in her food. Rich with beautiful attention to detail, Garrant pours her heart into every menu item.
Just a few months ago, the Scottsdale Promenade welcomed Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant. Though it’s hard to tell from the outside, it features a full-scale wine-tasting room and wine shop in addition to full-service restaurant, ample bar and outdoor patio space inside. The inspired set-up allows for guests to start the evening in the tasting room, where there are flights of red, white, sparkling and rose wines before being whisked to a transitional area where barrel samples of wine are offered. Finally, once seated for a multicourse dinner, wine pairing suggestions are offered with every single dish.
A taste for pizza
Specializing in artisanal pies baked in a wood-fired oven, Lamp is one of North Scottsdale’s best-kept secrets. All of Lamp’s 19 red pizzas feature a base of fresh mozzarella, pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as well as tomato sauce and basil. Among the more unique specialty pies: the Terroso, which has roasted Crimini mushrooms, roasted artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, and the Kavorka, which has Sicilian sausage Calabrian peppers.
Look no further than Kierland Commons and the iconic Zinc Bistro. Scottsdale native and French-trained chef Matt Carter opened Zinc Bistro at Kierland Commons in 2001. Consistently among the top French restaurants in Arizona, the contemporary and romantic Scottsdale staple features a 25-foot seafood bar with fresh oysters, clams, mussels and lobster daily as well as indulgent classics including seared foie gras, Provencal bouillabaisse, chateaubriand and soufflé.
An intimate dining adventure
At only 40 seats, North Scottsdale’s Hush Public House is among the most intimate dining experiences in the Valley. It’s also one of the most out-of-the-box experiences one will likely ever have at dinner — in the best way possible. The dinner menu features just 20 options, which change regularly and range from halibut crudo to chicken liver mousse to smoked beef ribs with cucumber coleslaw. The drink menu has fantastic classic cocktails as well as an impressive wine menu.
Dinner and a show
Kasai Japanese Steakhouse must be on the list. The built-in dinner-tainment wows guests as the charismatic chefs put on a show complete with fun and flames at one of the 14 teppan tables. It’s not just a meal — it’s an event! Start with items like the Wagyu beef sliders made with sweet sake caramelized onions, cheese, pickle and radish aioli. Prepare to be impressed when the teppan tables heat up and the show begins. Each teppan entrée comes served with fried or coconut rice, broccolini and ends with Kasai’s signature Dole Whip frozen pineapple dessert.