Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

PHM0414 Slideshow EBSDPerfect poached eggs and squeal-inducing sweets make Denver’s hip brunch spot worth the wait.

Dining shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all experience: Just ask Jon Schlegel, founder of Denver-based Snooze. The trendy breakfast joint opened in the Mile High City in 2006, preaching a doctrine of scratch recipes, eco-friendly practices and customizable plates – a formula so popular it spawned seven more locations.

Phoenix is the latest city to hit the Snooze button. Town & Country’s former Souper! Salad! underwent a facelift in the process, transforming into a retro-modern diner with circular lounging booths, atomic-era starbursts and a ‘70s bowling alley palette.

 

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Slanted Rice

The Tran family’s new nosh spot in Scottsdale puts an Americanized spin on Vietnamese dishes.

Your eyes are not playing tricks. The plate is slanted. Clever, given the name of this fourth Vietnamese eatery from the Tran family, known for putting a modern – and American – spin on food from their homeland.

If you’ve eaten at the Trans’ Rice Paper in Phoenix, you’ll recognize a good portion of the menu at Slanted Rice, a stylish Scottsdale spot located in the same upscale strip mall as Houston’s and Bink’s Scottsdale. You’ll also recognize the Tran flair for design in the dining room, which is elegantly splashed with shades of gray. The only things out of place are the three TVs jammed into the corner bar, one perpetually tuned to the Food Network.

 

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Kai

With new maestros in the kitchen, Arizona’s most decorated restaurant doesn’t miss a beat.

Without a doubt, there’s no restaurant in Arizona quite like Kai. The highly decorated minister of Native American-influenced fine dining, located inside the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort on the southern fringe of the Valley, has long delivered one of the region’s most prized and respected eating experiences. “Cherry Sweet Grass Smoked Quail Breast with Slow Braised Mole Adobo Rabbit”? Pretty unique, that.

 

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Wiener’s Circle

Do your wurst at local Sonoran hot dog stands.

Leave it to Phoenix to take a Mexican culinary tradition and smother it in condiments. Sonoran hot dogs migrated north from the Sonoran Desert, finding loving homes in Phoenix, Tucson and L.A., along with seemingly endless dressings. A basic Sonoran hot dog (or estilo Sonora) boasts bacon, beans, chiles and mayonnaise, but you can also find them bulging with diced tomatoes, fresh or grilled onions, ketchup, mustard and a thin guacamole sauce.

 

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Clever Koi

There's nothing fishy about this slick Modern Asian midtown eatery – and more the shame.

It's hard to put your finger on Clever Koi. At face value, this buzzy neo-Asian hotspot feels exciting and of-the-moment. Spoon a little bit deeper and, while energetic and sincere, Clever Koi feels surprisingly held-back. Less than what it could be.

 

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Ingo’s Tasty Food

The folks behind La Grande Orange return to the winner's circle with gourmet burgers and classy digs.

When Ingo's Tasty Food opened in November, I asked myself: Does Phoenix really need another haute-burger-inspired eatery? After sinking my teeth into a juicy Ingo's cheeseburger, I had my answer: Why the heck not?

 

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Cuttlefish Ocean Kitchen

PHM0314Flash-2The heir to the Tomaso restaurant fortune dives into clean, refined coastal Italian fare.

Cuttlefish owner and executive chef Joey Maggiore has some pretty big loafers to fill. His father is Tomaso Maggiore, the culinary godfather whose eponymous Italian restaurant in the Camelback Corridor has charmed Valley palates for 35 years. What's more, Maggiore must live up to expectations set by Cuttlefish's original chef, the Le Bernadin-trained Michael Dei Maggi, whose reign in the kitchen lasted only three days following the Scottsdale restaurant's opening last November.

 

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