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July, 2008, Page 149
Photos by Chris Bassett
Duck breast with lavender spaetzle
Estate House Cuisine:
: 7134 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
: Dinner, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday
: Labelle foie gras; pork osso bucco; duck breast with
lavender spaetzle; petite rack of veal; rosemary-Meyer lemon soufflé; Pithiviers made of puffed pastry, served with dates and pecans.
At Estate House there are no hosts to take reservations but instead “experience directors” to coordinate a memorable evening. And there’s a full-time “Master du Soigner,” whose job description reads like a Harlequin book jacket: “to help guests explore their dreams of romance and then make those dreams come true.” (No, really. Master Paul Xanthopoulos will even assist female guests by shopping for the perfect dinner dress.)
At one four-course dinner, staff changed my complete silverware setup six times down to the butter knives (including for an amuse bouche), and when a manager saw my companion shifting in her booth seat, he dashed over with a selection of plush, gold-fabric pillows to make her more comfortable. He tucked each one behind her back, cooing, “There, isn’t that nicer?”
Situated in Old Town Scottsdale’s swanky new SouthBridge development, the setting is posh and lavish with touches of silk, hardwood, leather and shimmering chandeliers. Prices can be steep – a petit grilled beef filet and braised rib decorated with pancetta, crispy onion and a swirl of potato purée is $38; an appetizer of seared ahi plated with pickled beech mushrooms, white asparagus, radishes and almond oil rings in at $16.
Despite the fancy digs and pricey menu, there’s a very simple way to describe Estate House, summed up by a nearby diner’s exchange with a server. It went like this:
Server: “How are you enjoying your meals?”
Guest, with complete sincerity: “We love the darn things.”
I couldn’t have said it better. There’s hardly any more sophisticated way to describe the appealing combination of class and ease that is this restaurant. If you’re a hedonist who wants to be pampered, this place is for you, with its champagne and caviar bar and a staff that addresses reservation-holders by name.
Yet, if you’re someone who simply wants a good meal, servers adjust their repartee to fit your mood, and relative bargains can be had (the $39 garlic and rosemary grilled beef
rib eye is hearty at 14 ounces, for example, and exceptionally flavorful paired with mushrooms, cipollini and potato). A perfectly paced dinner can take several hours, though one evening, as a test, I told my server I had less than 90 minutes, and she skillfully served my party three courses without rushing us.
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