Happy Hour: Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

Leah LeMoineNovember 2019
Share This

THE SCENE
There’s a very “young Scottsdale” vibe at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse at Scottsdale Waterfront. The décor is polished, but energetic – shiny wood floors and tables, white subway tiles, bright yellow high-top stools perched on squares of faux grass, a green wall festooned with golden cow heads, a white tile bar with cushy black leather stools. It’s fun and eye-popping, with splashes of emerald and daffodil everywhere. The staff and clientele are young, dressed cute and buzzing about.

I’ve been here once before for a media preview of Arizona Restaurant Week, but it was a progressive meal, so I only tried one dish. I sweep in at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday and settle into a barstool that is actually comfortable. Can more restaurants select barstools with backs, please?

THE FOOD
I’m here for a media preview of Hand Cut’s new happy hour menu, which launches November 1 (today!). It looks great – snacky and fun, everything priced under $10. My PR friend and I start with the salt and vinegar fries ($3 for an insanely generous portion), which I’m happy to report has a nice balance of its extreme elements, not too salty or too vinegary, just right. (I can see my salt and vinegar chip-loving partner wanting more vinegar, so keep that in mind if you’re a sour head.) A light dusting of dill and a ramekin of ranch add to the yum. We also try the tempura zucchini fries ($6), thick and substantial and paired with a zippy togarashi ranch; and the Beets & Burrata ($9), which employs tender golden beets in place of the usual roasted purple ones in a beet salad. Arugula provides peppery balance for the sweet beets and creamy burrata, both drizzled with tart-sweet hibiscus honey.

My favorite noshes are the bacon mac and cheese ($9) and the happy hour wings ($6). The mac used to be on the dinner menu and, when management removed it, there was an outcry among regulars. Hand Cut is bringing it back as a happy hour exclusive, so if you want a creamy mac studded with bits of soft bacon, head here for HH. And the wings – my goodness, the wings. They’re brined in apple cider vinegar, grilled and then finished in the fryer for crunch before being doused in a sweet, tangy, garlicky sauce and draped with pickled carrots and herbs. I like that the happy hour portion is reasonable, but I could probably eat an entire plate of these on my own, they’re so good.

THE DRINKS
Coors Light on draft is your cheapest bet ($3; for $10 you can get said beer and a burger), and glasses of wine (a white, a rosé and a red) are not much more expensive at $5 each. Three traditional cocktails – Aperol spritz, vodka martini and Old-Fashioned – are $7 each.

For $8, you can try one of Hand Cut’s specialty cocktails developed by beverage director Matt Thompson: blackberry mojito, peach ambrosia and the Scottsdale Sunset. I opt for the latter, a beautifully layered drink with Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters, with a Cabernet float. I love wine and love when mixologists use it in cocktails, so I’m in heaven. The egg white gives it a satisfying, lush mouthfeel as well (yes, I say mouthfeel).

THE INSIDER SECRET
Almost all of this has been an insider secret, because this happy hour menu launches today! Also: Hand Cut may have the sneakiest steak special in the Valley: “Half Cut Tuesdays.” Every Tuesday, starting at 6 p.m., you get half off select cuts (usually there’s an option of two steaks, a fish dish and a chicken or vegetarian dish) and select bottles of wine. The cut offerings change monthly, but in October, for example, you could get a 14-ounce grilled ribeye (usually $40) and bottle of Trivento Cabernet Sauvignon (usually $44) for $42. A half-price steakhouse meal? My Texas-born, steak-worshiping beloved and I will be back to take advantage of this deal.

THE DETAILS
Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.