3 Best Things We Ate Last Week

Nikki BuchananNovember 23, 2021
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Photo by Nikki Buchanan


Burratina, Prosciutto and Focaccia at Pa’La Downtown
My beau and I put away course after delicious course at Pa’La Downtown recently, where executive chef and partner Jason Alford (a Roka Akor alum) turns out Japanese-inspired or Middle Eastern-inflected seafood dishes as well as the Italian classics for which chef and co-owner Claudio Urciuoli is best known. This is just one of many favorites, a simple dish that has Urciuoli written all over it. A glistening orb of milky burratina (baby burrata), sprinkled with oregano and controne (Italian red pepper) is accompanied by salty-sweet shaves of San Daniele prosciutto, (its texture falling somewhere between silk and leather), Campari tomatoes and light, spongy focaccia — the bread by which man could live alone.
132 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-368-3052, palakitchen.com

Photo by Nikki Buchanan


Biscuits and Gravy with Fried Eggs and a Side of Hot Chicken at The Larder and The Delta
I haven’t had a hearty breakfast-brunch like this one in way too long — probably because I’m never good for anything afterward but a long nap. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a single element that made the plate in the foreground so great. It’s the combination of ingredients that works so well: tender biscuits draped in creamy fennel-sausage gravy — I mean smooth, creamy, flavorful stuff, not the wallpaper paste you sometimes find passing for cream gravy these days. As you can see from the picture, the sunny side up eggs sport the lacy, brown edge and faintly crispy bottom that lend textural contrast to those creamy yolks. Sprinkled with black pepper and chopped green onion and squirted with dabs of fiery hot sauce, they’re perfect. The plate in the background contains the city’s best Nashville hot chicken — crackling-crisp, seriously spicy and just a little sweet.
200 W. Portland St., Phoenix, 480-409-8520, thelarderandthedelta.com

Photo by Nikki Buchanan


Hamachi Crudo at Restaurant Confluence
As I’ve said many times, chef-owner Brandon Gauthier makes seafood dishes (raw, cooked, doesn’t matter) to rival any in this town — as this gorgeous Hamachi crudo proves. In sushi bars, Hamachi is commonly called yellowtail, but it’s also known as Japanese Amberjack, and it’s one of my favorite fish to eat raw — rose pink in color, savory but mild in taste, buttery in texture. Gauthier gives it a tiny splash of ponzu and plates it with radish, baby bok choy, shiitake mushroom, grapefruit, red onion, cilantro, radish sprout and peanuts. There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all good, including a few nutty notes of sesame oil underneath it all.  Go ahead, find me a better crudo than this one.
36889 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree, 480-488-9796, restaurantconfluence.com


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