Grassroots Kitchen & Tap
Locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Most chefs will agree that short ribs prepared the right way are a thing of beauty – braised until they’re fork-tender and primed for nibbling. For Christopher Collins, chef/owner of Grassroots Kitchen & Tap, short ribs also deliver the truest beef flavor – unlike, he says, a filet, which “tastes like whatever you seasoned it with.” At Grassroots, Collins braises his Topher’s short ribs ($24, pictured) for eight hours, then blankets the beef in a sweet and salty hoisin sauce. When serving, he balances two beautifully marbled ribs atop Lincoln Log-size grilled asparagus spears and plates them with a generous helping of creamy green chile grits. The incongruent Asian and Southern accents work surprisingly well together, as do the diverse textures. “They all complement each other – the soft, the savory, the creamy, the crunchy, the salty and the tender [elements],” Collins says.
Two locations in Phoenix
Nook Kitchen chef/owner Nick LaRosa is a firm believer that “simple is better.” To that end, his braised short rib ($27) recipe runs a little more toward the traditional. He sears the ribs until they form a crust, then braises the beef for six hours in mirepoix (carrots, onions and celery), Burgundy wine and beef stock loaded with garlic, rosemary, peppercorns and bay leaves. The wine-infused ribs rest on a knot of braised-leek mashed Yukon potatoes gussied up with sour cream, butter and heavy cream next to a pile of fresh green beans prepared simply with garlic and olive oil. The whole affair is punctuated with a Malbec reduction sauce made with ginger and orange, plus a little bit of sugar and honey to add natural sweetness to the dish. It’s a comfort-food fever dream.
Café ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
Richard Garcia, chef de cuisine at Hotel Valley Ho’s Café ZuZu, is the man responsible for the restaurant’s most recent iteration of beef short ribs ($28): one large and meaty boneless rib bathed in an ancho chile-corn demi-glace, served on a soft nest of buttery green chile grits with a smattering of coriander-glazed heirloom carrots. Garcia’s recipe also calls for braising the meat with anchos, but the heat infusion never steals the glory from the beefy main attraction. The kitchen pays a premium for Iowa beef that has a bit more marbling, Garcia says. “Some chefs will use other cuts and pretend they’re short ribs.” Not to worry – Garcia is serving the real deal, and it’s a beautiful thing.
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