Bruschetta-like tartines lend some French zest to Valley small plate menus.
4710 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale
It’s hard not to compare French tartines to Italian bruschetta, because the parallels are obvious. Both are essentially crusty bread donned with a multitude of toppings. But tartines, right or wrong, just seem a little fancier, and they have a loyal following in Arizona. At Francine, executive chef Brian Archibald uses charcoal-grilled red fife wheat bread from Mediterra Bakehouse. The fig and prosciutto tartine ($16, pictured) boasts a generous slather of fresh whipped ricotta laced with blue cheese, topped with razor-thin slices of salty prosciutto and glorious slivers of fig coated in dried granulated honey. If you’re craving a savory bite, try the avocado tartine ($14) with smashed, lemony avocado crowned by broccoli sprouts, shaved radishes and house-made dukka seasoning for texture. The secret to a successful tartine is the bread, Archibald says. “If the bread doesn’t have the integrity to support [the toppings], then it’s all for nothing.”
4712 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale
When Kristin and Emmanuel Dossetti opened the first Zinqué in California 10 years ago, tartines were the main attraction. Fast forwarding to 2021, we find a fleshed-out menu of French classics, but tartines are still well represented. Central to their appeal is the crusty Poilâne bread flown in from Paris three times a week, Kristin says. A couple of standouts: salmon tartine ($17) loaded with delicately smoked salmon dotted with crème fraîche, hard-boiled egg slices, fresh dill, capers and bits of salt and vinegar potato chips to lend a crunchy finish; and the salami tartine, a slab of lightly toasted Poilâine bread adorned with luxuriant Rodolphe Le Meunier butter thinly sliced (never spread) and a layer of Rosette de Lyon pork salami with ample fat and plenty of garlic, capped with sliced tart and sweet cornichons. In a word, magnifique.
The Mick Brasserie
9719 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Chef-owner Brent Menke likes preparing tartines more than sandwiches because their open-faced presentation reveals the goods. To that end, Menke makes a crab and avocado tartine ($18) with toasted Noble Bread brioche gussied up with spicy avocado mousse and seasoned jumbo lump crab lightly dressed in house-made aioli. Menke festoons the tartine with orange flying fish roe and then tops the whole megillah with broccoli, radish and mustard microgreens, giving it a horseradish vibe. But Menke’s tour de force is the vegan avocado ($16), made by smearing avocado mousse on Noble Bread ciabatta and smothering the tartine with slow-roasted tomatoes doused in olive oil mixed with fresh charred corn. And for the crowning garnish: brown and crispy dehydrated leeks with a kick of cayenne. “It all comes together.”