Visited on 6/2/12.
Tempted by the reports of bison and elk, we decided to make the long trek up to Cave Creek to check out Cartwright’s, the sister restaurant of Tonto Bar & Grill. It was worth the trip.
The first thing to note is that the web site is a bit misleading as it states dinner is served daily from 4:30-9:30. We arrived at 4:30 to be informed that it was only the bar that was open at 4:30, the restaurant was not open until 5:00. We ended up dining at the bar and had a delightful bartender, he was attentive and informative.
We started with two appetizers, the sausage and the nachos (chicken for happy hour). The sausage was wonderful, the lean bison was balanced with enough fat for moisture without making the sausage fatty. It was pleasantly spiced. It was served with bland unappealing cabbage and gummy corn. The nachos were presented very nicely, 6 separately prepared large chips with smoked chicken and white cheese. I found them to be overly smoky but the texture was excellent and the jicama accompaniment was interesting and tasty. The bartender had them plate the appetizers so that each was split between two plates, a nice touch.
We both found the bison elk burger irresistible. It was a huge 10 ounce patty cooked to a perfect medium. The blend of meat was perfect, you could clearly taste each meat. The burger had a lot of toppings on it, I would have preferred not to have the roasted chili or the pickle but at least I did not find they distracted from the burger. C chose to remove the onion ring. They came with french fries and chipotle catsup. Neither of us cared for the too thick, overly sweet catsup. I also did not care for the french fries as they had a coating and were a bit greasy.
My glass of Penfolds bin 128 Shiraz was beautiful and it really complimented the meat. The ice tea was also good.
Some items were not a delight but what we went for, the hard to find meats, were treated with expertise.
A definite find that will be revisited.