20 menus to try in metro Phoenix

Table of Contents Alexi’s GrillRito’s Mexican FoodGrassroots Kitchen & TapFuego, The ClarendonLos SombrerosMatch OcotilloThe Market by

After a year of uncertainty, fall Arizona Restaurant Week is back.

The biannual 10-day celebration is meant to entice diners to try a new spot they’ve been curious about or to make a casual mid-week trip to a restaurant usually seen as a celebration-only locale. 

While the spring event serves as a last push before the summer lull, the fall fete is an entre to the promising peak fall and winter season in the desert.

More than 120 Valley restaurants are participating, offering set price, multi-course meals that showcase the best of their menus. (A complete list of participating restaurants can be found at arizonarestaurantweek.com.) There’s only so many meals you can eat in 10 days, so we’ve narrowed it down to 20 menus that earned a double take thanks to their creative dishes, value for the money or both.

All menus are available Sept. 17-26. Menus that feature alcohol apply to dine-in orders only. Reservations are recommended.

Alexi’s Grill

  • $33 person 
  • 4 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

Start your culinary tour of Italy with fried calamari, caprese salad or homemade meatballs over penne in marinara. Next, enjoy soup or salad followed by one of these mains: bone-in pork chop broiled in a brandy shallot demi with potatoes and vegetables; lobster ravioli and fresh spinach; shrimp scampi over angel hair pasta; poached salmon with a lemon-dill sauce with potatoes and vegetables; or chicken Milano with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and basil with potatoes and vegetables. Limoncello mascarpone cake, spumoni or tiramisu are dessert options. If you dine-in you can pair your meal with a glass of select rose, white or red wine. 

Details: 3550 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. (602) 279-0982, alexisgrill.com.

Rito’s Mexican Food

  • $33 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

Start with your choice of bean dip, guacamole, elote or cheese crisp. Next, select an entree, all of which come with rice and bean. Options include two beef, chicken or cheese enchiladas with red or green sauce; two tacos filled with chicken, shredded beef or carne asada; and a burrito or chimichanga – enchilada style or not – filled with red or green chili or both, chicken or carne asada. Finish off the meal with fried ice cream or a chocolate truffle engulfed in a deep fried churro ball.

Details: 5813 N. Seventh St.,Phoenix. 602-368-6726, ritosmexicanfood.com.

Grassroots Kitchen & Tap

  • $33
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout or dine-in

Start with braised pork belly with jalapeno cheddar grits and candied pancetta or sushi-grade ahi tuna poke with shrimp in agave ponzu with wontons. Entree options include: Topher’s braised short ribs dressed in a hoisin glaze and accompanied by jalapeno cheddar grits and asparagus, gulf white shrimp partnered with jalapeno cheddar grits and grilled focaccia, and slow smoked Carolina baby back ribs with tangy slaw. End with key lime pie or a chocolate toffee brownie with caramel, ice cream and toffee crumbles. 

Details: 8120 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale. 480-699-0699, grassrootsaz.com.

Fuego, The Clarendon

  • $33, $44 person
  • 3 courses, beverage included
  • Take out and dine-in

Both $33 and $44 menus are available. For $33, choose a salad or spicy veggie tostada to start, then an entree from options including: paella with cornbread, chicken chile relleno, vegetable enchiladas or pernil asado—marinated and slow roasted pork served with rice and peas and corn tortillas. Dessert includes an ancho chile torte and horchata bread pudding. For $44, begin with your choice of salmon croquettes, beef empanadas, coconut shrimp or pernil nachos. For the main course, pair mahi mahi, seafood chile relleno, short rib enchiladas or surf and turf pasta with two sides of your choosing, like green chile cornbread, jalapeno cream corn, chipotle cheddar mashed potato or maple glazed carrots. Finish with ancho chile torte, horchata bread pudding or key lime pie. Both menus come with red, white or blackberry sangria. 

Details: 401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix. 602-469-1730, fuegobistro.com.

Los Sombreros

  • $33, $44, or $55
  • 3 courses, beverage included
  • Takeout and dine-in

When dining in, start with a choice of mezcal old fashioned, mezcal passion flower or Steve-a-Rita. Then, enjoy a huitlacoche quesadilla to start before moving on to an entree like spinach enchiladas with house made chipotle crema or chicken breast stuffed with huitlacoche, goat and jack cheeses and roasted corn and topped with a chipotle tomato sauce. For $44, you can order the slow roasted short ribs in a savory alcaparrado sauce, or for $55, get the surf and turf duo of ribeye in smoky cascabel sauce and sautéed scallops. Tres leches cake is a perfect, sweet ending.

Details: 1976 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. 480-534-6742. Also, 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-994-1799, lossombreros.com.

Match 

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

A bevy of first and second course options vie for attention. The smoked salmon chopped salad features Chula Seafood fish, greens, cucumber and quinoa in a lemon herb dressing, while the sesame tofu salad is made with mixed greens and cashews tossed in an Asian sriracha dressing. For the main attractions, you can stick with the Chula theme by going with a skillet-seared Cajun salmon with sweet corn, forbidden rice and vegetables. Or, give the Mediterranean lemon chicken with baked feta, chickpeas and oregano butter rice a whirl. Vegan and gluten-free penne with walnut pesto is also available. Dessert is an easy choice, go for the strawberry shortcake composed of vanilla cake, sweet cream frosting and strawberry jam.

Details: 1100. N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-675-8080, matchphx.com.

Ocotillo

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

Take a few minutes to ponder the cornucopia of starter and main dish choices. Debate between the eggplant “meatballs” with warm polenta, smoked chicken liver mousse with house pickles and Noble Bread or the burrata salad with broccoli, kale and champagne vinaigrette. For the entree, wood-fired beef ribs bathed in mole espresso barbecue sauce, seared halibut with royal corona beans and curried eggplant and roasted pork shank with sweet corn chowder and rosemary potatoes are all solid choices. Dark chocolate panna cotta with guava broth, caramelized pineapple and coconut sorbet make for an intriguing ending to an adventurous meal. 

Details: 3243 N. Third St., Phoenix. 602-687-9080, ocotillophx.com.

The Market by Jennifer’s

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

Choose from brussels sprout salad, cream of cauliflower soup or a dish of little neck clams with coriander, crushed tomato, white wine and pumpkin seed dust with Noble Bread for your starter course. Deciding on the entree from this lineup could be tough. Options include five-spice honey glazed duck breast with hydrated figs, hazelnuts and Hayden Mills creamy polenta; a house made butternut squash gnocchi with a classic brown butter and fried sage sauce; slow cooked lamb shank in wine reduction and Yukon Gold potato puree; and beef wellington layered with duck pate and mushroom duxelles wrapped in puff pastry and served with locally sourced southwestern mushrooms. For dessert, choose between Tracy Dempsey Originals’ warm cranberry cinnamon bread pudding with caramel or German chocolate tart with coconut pecan marmalade. 

Details: 3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-626-5050, themarketbyjennifers.com.

Urban Margarita

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

First course options feature focaccia topped with guacamole, shrimp empanadas and crispy cauliflower. New Mexico-style lobster and crab enchiladas baked in a tomatillo cream sauce, pan roasted salmon served with fresh mango salsa and brown butter beurre blanc and 36-hour marinated prime New York strip carne asada are entree choices. Go with the margarita lime pie or raspberry churro bites for dessert.

Details: 6685 W. Beardsley Road, Glendale. 623-561-6674, urbanmargarita.com.

University Club of Phoenix 

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses, beverage included
  • Takeout and dine-in

For restaurant week only, the public can dine at this historical members-only club where the city’s power brokers have hobnobbed and struck deals since it was founded in 1965. Refreshing starter choices feature a honey pear salad with candied pecans in a honey pear vinaigrette or caprese skewers with mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil. Salmon in a maple bourbon glaze with a sweet potato risotto; artichoke chicken in a red pepper cream sauce, artichoke hearts and harvest rice blend; and slow roasted prime rib with a creamy horseradish sauce, au jus and garlic mashed potatoes are main course options. Choose between Key Lime pie and New York cheesecake with chocolate sauce for dessert. Takeout meals include a non-alcoholic beverage, while dine-in meals include a beer or glass of house wine. 

Details: 39 E. Monte Vista Road, Phoenix. 602-254-5408, universityclubphoenix.com.

Revolu Modern Taqueria + Bar

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

Begin with elote, cheese and beef stuffed jalapenos or short rib flautas. For the main course, ponder green chile pork with potatoes and cilantro rice, tequila lime shrimp scampi with cilantro rice and tortillas, or built your own taco trio with chicken tinga, quesa-birria, blackened mahi mahi and crispy potato filling options. Choose between cinnamon churros with chocolate sauce and pina asada grilled pineapple with caramel and ice cream for dessert. 

Details: 15703 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria. 623-878-0215. Also, 5538 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-675-1182, revolutaqueria.com.

Ajo Al’s Mexican Cafe

  • $44 couple
  • 3 courses, beverage included
  • Takeout and dine-in

Share a starter of chili con queso or guacamole. For the main course, try the pizza nortena with chicken, green chiles and cream cheese; a carne asada burrito served with rice and beans; a smoked street taco sampler of brisket, carnitas and pork belly; or the spinach and mushroom enchiladas with rice and beans. Split fried ice cream or flan for dessert. Dine in and you can also sip on your choice of Mexican beer or the house margarita.

Details: 6990 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-998-1734. Also, 7458 W. Bell Road, Glendale. 623-334-9899. Other locations at ajoals.com.

Alter Ego, Canopy by Hilton

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

This street side restaurant in the heart of downtown Tempe is known for thoughtful Restaurant Week dishes. Kick things off with starter of roasted mushroom flautas with goat cheese mousse, masa harina coquetas or a gooey queso fundido made with Crow’s Dairy cheese. Main course options include seared whitefish with crispy Spanish rice, salsa veracruz and roasted corn, and pork pupusas with chicharrones and salsa verde. The vegetarian Birria puffy tacos stuffed with jackfruit is the real star. Finish it off with fried mazapan drizzled with pink peppercorn caramel, orange zest churros accompanied by cinnamon gelato or the chocolatey champurrado pepita milkshake. 

Details: 108 E. University Drive, Tempe. 602-612-7871, alteregotempe.com.

Tonto Bar & Grill

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in 

Go for the tortilla crusted crab cake accompanied by a fresh jicama and roasted chile slaw for your opener. Next, choose the coffee and port braised boneless short rib with brown butter, white yams, heirloom carrots with shallots and port wine jus, or the manana veggie nosh anchored by a roesti potato cake with roasted heirloom cauliflower, charred broccolini, patty pan squash and housemade tomato jam. The signature lemon lime prickly pear meringue tart with an almond graham crust, lemon lime curd filling and  almond Florentine twist and eye-catching fondant bumblebee is the hands-down dessert winner. 

Details: 5736 E. Rancho Manana Blvd., Cave Creek. 480-488-0698, tontobarandgrill.com.

B Gastrobar

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

Enjoy a comfort food dinner with European flair by starting with French onion soup and cheese toast or walnut and comte risotto with crispy prosciutto. Choose between pork tenderloin embellished with a shallot sauce and accompanied by hand cut fries or salmon and fresh spinach wellington with lemon hollandaise for your main course. For dessert, try the signature chocolate souffle or caramel and sesame mousse with citrus reduction. 

Details: 1422 W. Warner Road, Gilbert. 480-497-1422, bgastrobar.com.

ZuZu

  • $55 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

The menu at ZuZu offers a lot to consider. Hearty starters include truffle and wild mushroom bisque with a parmesan cream puff and beef tartare with mezcal, hot mustard and marrow aioli. Entree selections run the gamut from Allen Brother’s flat iron steak with honey roasted parsnip and peppercorn demi to Scottish salmon accompanied by fingerlings, king trumpet mushrooms, broccolini and green curry coconut broth or Petaluma chicken breast with honey laqeur, ssam sauce and cucumber slaw and a sweet potato garlic risotto with smoked mushrooms and Crow’s Dairy goat cheese. Chocolate mousse cake and cinnamon creme brulee are two solid dessert options. 

Details: 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale. 480-421-7997, hotelvalleyho.com.

Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn

  • $55 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

On the appetizer menu you’ll find the perennial favorite, roasted butternut squash soup, but don’t overlook the smoked corn tortellini with hearts of palm and delicata squash with Crow’s Dairy whipped goat cheese and local greens salad. Entree selections include Chilean sea bass with chorizo and roasted parsnip puree; Mary’s half chicken with acorn squash puree and fingerling potatoes; and pork osso bucco with potato risotto and roasted turnip. You can’t go wrong with either the apple and fig crostata with ginger spiced gelato or peanut butter pie filled with peanut butter crunch mousse.

Details: 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley. 602-955-7878, lons.com.

Terra Tempe Kitchen & Spirits, Westin Tempe 

  • $55 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

The signature restaurant at the brand new Westin Tempe sets the bar high with choices like spiced marinated prawns with white bean puree, zucchini flower soup with crispy frijoles and a kale and romaine salad with Spanish anchovies in a roasted poblano caesar dressing. On the entree list, charbroiled New York strip gets a creative boost from marinated grilled red onion and tomato relish, Point Reyes blue cheese and morita chile-cherry demi, while the achiote roasted chicken is paired with charcoal papas brava, Palacios chorizo and Three Sisters succotash. For dessert, choose a seasonal gelato trio or a slice of orange creamsicle cheesecake.

Details: 11 E. Seventh St., Tempe. 480-968-8885, terratempe.com.

T. Cook’s

  • $55 person
  • 3 courses
  • Takeout and dine-in

From the starter lineup, the luxurious, smooth celery soup with caviar and truffled fontina grilled cheese demands attention. Toothsome bucatini carbonara with pancetta, crispy prosciutto and parmesan; honey mustard glazed bone-in pork chop with chorizo fried rice and rapini; and pan seared sole adorned with fennel, blistered tomatoes and snap peas in saffron cream are all compelling main course options. Chocolate lovers will cave for the chocolate brownie and salted caramel torte, while others may lean toward a twist on a classic Americana combo: apple tart topped with vanilla sharp cheddar ice cream. 

Details: 5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-808-0766, royalpalmshotel.com.

Arrowhead Grill

  • $55 person
  • 2 courses
  • Dine-in

Choose from clam chowder and three salads to start and then select either the USDA Prime 8-ounce Delmonico, USDA Prime 8-ounce filet, 10-ounce prime rib, Atlantic salmon or a roasted half-chicken as your entree. Accompaniments include maple mashed sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, sauteed broccoli, creamed corn and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

Details: 8280 W. Union Hills Drive, Glendale.  623-566-2224, arrowheadgrill.com.

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