Visited 12 Feb., 2017
We had a late (21:45) reservation at this newly opened Italian restaurant in Phoenix owned by Chef Scott Conant. Having arrived about 10 minutes early, we opted to wait for our table in the bar. It was very busy so it took a couple of minutes but it was not too long. The bar tender was chatty but trying to be helpful, offering to explain or describe anything on the menu that he gave us for a sneak peek. Our table was ready a couple of minutes before our reserved time.
The decor was comfortable, probably the type often described as industrial chic. Unfortunately, the noise level was way too high. We had a good deal of trouble talking to each other; I really hate to dine out and not be able to have a conversation with my dining companions. If I wanted loud music, I would go to a night club. This was the bad part of the experience.
Now for the food. We started with bread service. An interesting take on focaccia (thin and crisp) and a thick cut chewy country bread. The focaccia was tasty but a bit too crisp while the country bread was very good. The bread was accompanied by four spreads, (in order of liking) a citrusy artichoke bomba, a roasted garlic spread, a mildly flavored mascarpone butter, and (the one neither of us cared for) an eggplant caponata.
We order our main meal shortly after the bread service arrived. This turned out to have been a mistake on our part but showed a short coming of the service. The pasta arrived VERY quickly as we hardly had any time to enjoy the breads. As they are new, I hope they learn to improve the timing of courses. I selected the gnudi, (WOW!) delightful cheesy pillows of ricotta and mascarpone with a dollop of concentrated tomato sauce. (Do not believe anyone who describes these as gnocchi made with cheese instead of potatoes. They are way beyond that and would be closer to ravioli without the pasta.) Can you tell, I found them delightful. J selected the spaghetti pomodoro; another hit. The pasta was perfectly cooked; a nice bite and no mush. The pomodoro was redolent with basil, just enough garlic, and tasted very fresh. The amount applied to the pasta was perfect, every strand was lightly coated and it was not swimming; when the pasta was gone, so was the beautiful sauce.
We were really quite full at this time but decided we should sample one dessert. As J is partial to rum cake and I am partial to rum, we selected the coconut cake as it included rum in the description. This was a mountainous piece of cake, daunting. It turned out to be a very light cake whose strongest flavor is the toasted coconut. It was a very pleasant dessert (I am not really a cake fan so I don’t get too excited about it.). We also decided to have espresso drinks with our dessert. I was disappointed to have the macchiato described as anything other than espresso with a tiny dollop of milk foam (caramel ?!?!), so I went with the double espresso while J chose a latte. The espresso was very good and the coffees were accompanied by very good small thin chocolate chip biscotti.
I will definitely return and I look forward to brunch and lunch in the (hopefully near) future.