First Dish: MATCH Cuisine & Cocktails

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Openings/Closings Issue: January 2017
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Grateful Shroom pizza at MATCHThe relatively new MATCH restaurant opened inside FOUND:RE hotel in Downtown Phoenix late last year, and has quickly become a destination for locals, who praise its stylish surrounds and ever-changing menus from Executive Chef Akos Szabo.

The Feel: Hipper than the first Lollapalooza festival. Feast your eyes on a giant painting by local artist Randy Slack of a young Burt Reynolds naked on a bearskin rug behind the reception desk before walking around the corner to ultra chic MATCH, with its long and loaded bar, wall of wine, floor-to-ceiling windows and modern minimalist design.

The Dish: Expectations were high for the “Grateful Shroom” pizza ($10), but while the kitchen was generous with the mushrooms and the boschetto al tartufo (a combination cow’s and sheep’s cheese touched by truffles), the pie suffered from doughiness and overly sweet sauce. Creamy lobster bisque ($8/$10) was boosted by flavorful wood oven-roasted mushrooms and spongy mascarpone gnocchi, and the green papaya salad ($12) was a delightfully coleslaw-like blend of julienned pickled papaya and carrots given a spicy kick and sprightly fizzle by Thai basil and cilantro. But the most memorable thing to hit our palates was definitely dessert – the Oaxacan Wreckage ($10), a ridiculously delicious collision of rum sponge cake, molé mousse, dark chocolate ganache, coriander cream, and smoked almond crumbles. Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, rich, smooth, and creamy – this dish had it all goin’ on.

Oaxacan Wreckage at MATCHThe Drink: Sangria fans will probably like the Purple Rain ($13), a deep ruby blend of local beet juice and blackcurrant berry juice, Riga Black Balsam herbal liqueur from Latvia, and sparkling wine with a lemon garnish. We also appreciated Bosch’s Debaucherous Garden ($13), for both its dark-artsy namesake nod and its smoky citrus flavor. This mix of Dutch genever, local radish juice, Maraschino, and herbal French liqueur Chartreuse is beautifully balanced and deceptively smooth.

If You Go:
MATCH Cuisine & Cocktails at FOUND: RE hotel
1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Happy hour 4:20-6:20 p.m. daily.