It seems as though a great new restaurant is popping up every other day here in the Valley — how are you ever expected to find the time to try them all? Good news: We try them for you! Here are five newbies (or relatively new newbies) that have just made their grand entrance and are worth trying. Check them out and eat up.
We kind of have a gastronomic crush on FnB. Restaurateur Peter Kasperski, maitre d' Pavle Milic and Executive Chef Charleen Badman have created a locale that oozes coziness and Parisian-bistro-like charm. Here they don't dazzle you by offering you a little bit of everything, but rather, they take some amazing seasonal ingredients and then give you the very best dishes that can be made with them. The team has a real passion for Arizona agriculture, and the menu definitely reflects that. You'd be hard-pressed to find another Scottsdale restaurant that serves this many Arizona wines.
7133 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85252 480.425.9463 web
New Mexican restaurant Secreto in Ahwatukee has dim lighting and a mellow atmosphere, and you kind of get the feeling you're dining at a friend's home. Rest assured, the food is equally as seductive and inviting, served in generous portions with warm homemade tortillas. Expect dishes like you would find at any fine Mexican cuisine establishment, but then give them a wonderful little Southwest twist, and you have Secreto. The Tuccumcari Tamales, with pork and green corn tamales and green chile are a spicy-sweet delight, and the prickly pear cactus margarita complements it nicely. Wink wink.
Chef Eric Osburn mans the kitchen at Centurion, a European bistro in Roosevelt Square serving finely crafted fare such as brick oven gourmet pizzas, homemade pastas, burgers, filets, rack of lamb, clams, artisan breads and much more. We'd say the dishes have mainly French and Italian influences in them, but Osburn likes to call his style "European fusion," rather than pin down the tastes here to a single culture. Personally, we like variety, and we like surprises, so this place suits us just fine. Oh, and don't let the ancient Roman statue out front turn you off to the place. We think he's just guarding Osburn's secret recipes.
214 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ 85003 602.687.8796 web
We can't say enough good things about this place. And we can't think of a single thing wrong with this place except that Chef Joshua T. Hebert and his staff can't move their kitchen into our living room so that we could eat Posh cuisine every day. The concept is amazing and exciting: Be seated and then receive a checklist of main ingredients; you'll cross off any items you don't like (and if you have any food allergies, just list those at the bottom), and then the kitchen will turn your list of ingredients into something extraordinary. The concept may sound similar to Japanese dining at some restaurants, but this is all American cuisine -- albeit, with a heightened creative, modern flair. If you're an adventurous type when it comes to your food, Posh is an absolute must.
9689 N. Hayden Road, Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 480.483.3190 web
5 Rico's American Grill
The Pointe Hill Squaw Peak Resort has a new restaurant called Rico's American Grill that aims to please. The name is slightly misleading, we feel, because there's a strong Southwestern influence in the cuisine, so it can't fairly be called strictly American fare. Think high-quality, farm-to-table dishes designed by Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson and prepared to perfection. Here you won't find anything wildly creative or out of the ordinary, but what you will find are all your most well-loved, uncomplicated comfort food. This is the spot to meet friends when you're all in the mood for back-to-basics cuisine, such as the grilled rib eye, baked halibut, and crowd-pleasing Great Big Burger, served on a brioche roll with sautéed mushrooms, bacon and jalapeños.