rnr in scottsdale
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RnR in Scottsdale
September, 2010, Page 180
Photos by David Moore
French toast (front) with house-made bacon-maple scone
Catering mainly to the young, hip and noise-tolerant, this new Old Town eatery turns out dishes ranging from ‘eh’ to excellent.
It’s an interesting choice of a name – RnR – for the Old Town Scotts-dale restaurant that Diane and Les Corieri opened this spring. What immediately leaps to mind is “rest and relaxation,” and for all the things this popular American comfort food eatery is, relaxing it’s not.
At breakfast one morning, comfy wicker seats on the front patio beckoned, but the space is so close to Scottsdale Road, separated only by a sidewalk, that I couldn’t hear myself chew above the roar of traffic. Seated inside at a stiff-backed booth for lunch, conversation with my companion was drowned out by thumping music that echoed to the upper level of the two-story structure with its separate patio and lounge.
The Corieris, who are moguls of several significant Scottsdale nightclubs, note that RnR can also mean “rock ’n’ roll.” Indeed, as the dinner hour darkens, the spot morphs into a straight-up party atmosphere for a young, hip, alcohol-fueled crowd thronged around a room-length bar (where food is served until 2 a.m.).
Which is all fair enough, except that in the same breath, we’re reminded the menu was created by Bryan Ogden (son of famed Chef/restaurateur Bradley Ogden), and there’s a 1,800-bottle wine cellar. Clearly, we should have high expectations for the food.
In fact, French toast ($10) is excellent, with thick, pillowy slabs stuffed with Chambord-infused cream cheese, topped with raspberries, Grand Marnier syrup and chantilly cream. A house-made scone ($3) packs bits of bacon and maple into a dense body, while equally hefty biscuits ($7) satisfy in a tasty dousing of Hatch chile- and sausage-spiked gravy.
By midday, however, a plate of “animal fries” ($7) disappoints, since the combo of sweet potato and regular spuds are soggy under pulled pork, melted white cheddar and barbecue sauce. And what’s Ogden-esque about ahi tacos ($7), so bland and limp that they’d be tossed out of any self-respecting Mexican eatery?
While I don’t picture a fancy cocktail crowd gorging on chicken schnitzel ($16), it’s one of the best dishes I tried, made modern with a drizzle of lemon beurre blanc and a side of arugula radish salad. St. Louis-style baby back ribs ($18) are another standout, given a mild-sweet note from ancho marinade and slow braised until tooth-tender.
Most other dishes – a bacon-cheddar burger ($13), pan roasted halibut ($21), pigs in a blanket ($7) and even baked brie with raspberry compote ($7) plunked on the table by a brisk and often distracted server – are simply fine. Destination dining? Not by any stretch.
Still, if you can stomach the noise, RnR has its virtues, as in reliable (the competent cooking) and reasonable (the prices, often enough). For the rock ’n’ roll crowd, that’s probably perfectly palatable.
: Contemporary American
: 3737 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
: 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
: French toast ($10), housemade scone with bacon and maple ($3), chicken schnitzel ($16), St. Louis-style baby back ribs ($18)
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