Category: "Scottsdale, AZ"

Sapporo - Scottsdale, AZ

April 20th, 2005

Sapporo is a diverse location. The restaurant features a trendy bar, a traditional dining area and their piece de resistance, the Teppanyaki style tables (Hibachi to some, or even Japanese Steakhouse if you prefer).

Their dining room menu looked extensive, but from our perspective, if you are going to go to a place that will do Teppanyaki style, that is what you have.

If you have never been to a restaurant in this mold (Benihana's, Kyoto's, Kobe) I highly recommend it. Tables are set up to seat 8 people along one long and the two short sides of a rectangular table. The other side of the table is reserved for the chef to work as he comes and prepares your food on the grill surface in the center of the table. The chef's are trained to not only make delicious food, but also entertain you while you wait. They are masters of their equipment and I am sure do not recommend you try any of their tricks at home in your own kitchen.

Sapporo serves your meal with fried rice rather than most of the other restaurants which offer fried rice as an add-on to the meal and serve steamed white rice. I was glad to see fried rice come standard; it is the highlight of the meal for me (isn't it criminal to hear me say that when I order two lobster tails as my entree?). Each dining guest receives a bowl of mushroom soup, a salad with the house ginger dressing, a shrimp appetizer, mixed grilled vegetables and your entree. It sounds like a lot of food. Well, ok, it is a lot of food. But don't worry, while chopsticks are on every place setting, forks are available.

Many if not all of these restaurants offer Kobe beef, which before our dinner at Sapporo, I had never tried. One in my party ordered it and offered some to share. I have to make this statement clear: Kobe beef was the best steak I have EVER had. Kobe beef is from cattle whose days feature massages and a diet enriched with beer, and no I am not kidding. (*You will never want to order Kobe beef cooked longer than medium rare.)

Sapporo is located at 14344 N. Scottsdale Road near the Greenway-Hayden Loop.

Barcelona's - Scottsdale, AZ

April 14th, 2005

Every bar I have ever walked into has had an alarmingly poor ratio of men to women (too many men and not enough women). I have often wondered if every bar has too many men, there must be one place where all of the women go. Where is that place? That question was once rhetorical. It turns out, in Scottsdale, Arizona, that place is Barcelona's.

We were seated early in the section that is cleared out to make way for a dance floor as later in the night Zooey Boey takes the stage. We started with a few appetizers, of which my clear favorite was the macadamia nut encrusted shrimp; they were incredibly good (I do not even like macadamia nuts). The portions were more than generous for each person at the table. I had the bone-in-ribeye which came with a Bearnaise sauce on the side that was very good. They serve a molten chocolate desert that was heavenly on a soft bed of ice cream. We all left extremely full and even more satisfied with the meal.

The place is a little pricey, but Barcelona's is easily my new "go-to" restaurant in Scottsdale. Attire is casual through professional.

Barcelona's is located on the Greenway-Hayden Loop east of Scottsdale Road.

I can't wait to get back.

Old Town Tortilla Factory - Scottsdale, AZ

February 28th, 2005

Link: http://www.oldtowntortillafactory.com/

Old Town Tortilla FactoryI found this place last April when I took my first work trip to the greater Phoenix area. It is located just west of the main drag of art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale. For someone who prefers mild warmth to severe heat, the atmosphere was perfect in April. Having just been there in February, the temperature was a little chilly.

The restaurant has an indoor seating area, though I cannot imagine a scenario when I would try to sit there. There is also a full patio which is why you have no reason to go inside.

The patio (covered in the rain) has space heaters if it does get cold out. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the patio that mixes a fire and water show with ambiance.

The menu is a modified Mexican. Traditional Mexican meals and tastes presented in new ways. The food is very good and I am told their margaritas, though not the best in town, are very good as well.

So far, this is my favorite restaurant in Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa, Arizona.

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