Well he did it again! E got the blogging bug and sent me another great post. I live my life vicariously through his foodie adventures, since I cannot drag my kids (or husband) to some of the great places he and his wife go to, but I really enjoy hearing all about them. I hope you do too!
After spending the entire week in El Paso for a regional meeting for work, I planned on taking my wife to dinner upon returning. Since I knew she was picking me up at the airport on Friday for a 5:30 arrival, I gambled on not having a flight delay and made a reservation for 6:30 at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at The Phoenix Cityscape. This time also allowed me to make the reservation for earlier and have a valid excuse for eating early. Based on some seating being available when we arrived, early, the reservation probably wasn’t necessary.
I’m relatively in tune with what newer restaurants are getting positive press in a few publications and online review sites. I might even know about cool restaurants all the way out in Surprise, AZ but most of that knowledge would come from reading CC2MB. I’ve wanted to try Blue Hound for a while now and am glad we did. It’s located in The Hotel Palomar, right downtown. Parking is free for 2 hours with validation or you can valet for $5.
I would not consider myself to be an expert on identifying what might be considered “Hip & Trendy”, but I think it’s fair to say that this place is that. A mix of younger & older with a big nod toward the fashion conscious. The restaurant has a cool, urban feel to it. A lot of open space, a really tall ceiling, lots of glass, a huge patio, big windows to see into the kitchen and the cool & unique hairstyles of the chefs, and modern styled furniture. It’s attached to a modern, minimalist hotel. It appears that the Happy Hour has some decent offerings. $6 classic cocktails, $4 Drafts, ½ price wine on tap, and $6 flatbreads. We arrived shortly after Happy Hour was over but it definitely seemed like maybe something worth checking out in the future, especially to keep the budget a tad tighter. Based on the open space, the energy and cocktails, don’t confuse the Blue Hound to be intimate or quiet. Just be aware that there will be some volume. I also think it’s worth mentioning that the service we received was outstanding. Our servers name was Shaura -rhymes with Lara. She was sweet, funny, and awesome. Her recommendations and descriptions of everything were fantastic.
1 giant cube
The cocktail list and selection of all boozes is extensive. With “Cocktails” in the name of the place, one would probably expect this to be the case. After taking too long to decide on what to get for cocktails, I got a pretty standard, yet excellent Old Fashioned and Stace got a Orange Vodka drink with lemon and raspberry something-or-other that I didn’t hear the name of, and then didn’t check the name of after. The cocktails were great. They have all kinds of different ice depending on what goes with what. Cubed, shaved, chipped, balled. Prepare to spend $8-$10 per drink.
The dinner menu is broken down into the following categories. Starters. Farm & Garden. Sea & Ocean. Meat & Game. Flatbreads. All the Flatbreads are the same size. There are 32 other items on the menu, not including the Flatbreads, and the majority of them can be ordered in two different sizes. For appetizers we ordered the Endless “Caramel” Popcorn: Butterscotch with Ancho Chile and then the Tater Tots: Smoked Bacon, Chive with a Harissa dipping sauce. The Harissa sauce was a combo of earthy chiles, slightly spicy with a tomato-ketchup background. You can tell the tater tots are made from freshly grated potato. The slightly salty and smokey bacon flavor was there, with a little chive, but the potato was the clearly the dominating flavor. The Harissa sauce was excellent.
The Popcorn was fantastic. Super fresh and crunchy with a kind of a mild smoky finish.
We also had the Cauliflower soup. It was very smooth and creamy in texture but tasted completely like cauliflower and not cream. The pickled onions were a nice contrast and there was a balsamic drizzle in the soup which added another sweet and tart contrast.
For entrees Stace ordered the Monkfish Schnitzel with celery root slaw, potato coins with a violet mustard sauce. I ordered the Pork Porterhouse with 1000 bean cassoulet, kale and sun-dried tomatoes. The Monkfish was excellent. The sweet and tangy slaw on top cut through a bit of the richness of the fried fish. In hindsight I would have ordered something else. My pork had good meaty flavor, the beans, kale and tomatoes were all good together, but if I was making it at home, I would have cooked it a bit less. Not sure if the Monkfish dish looks as beautiful as the pork. Stace took half of hers home. I of course, ate all mine and some of hers.
For dessert with got the Caramelized Pineapple Upside Down Cake with medjool date ice cream and salted caramel sauce. It was served in a cast iron skillet that was probably close to 400 degrees when it got to the table. The cake was great, the caramelized chewy/crunchy crust around the cake was great….everything about the dish was an A+.
Blue Hound is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have anything else to do downtown, want to check out Cityscape and have a fluffier budget for some quality cocktails and interesting food, I would highly recommend it.
Guest Blogging from the East Side – Eric Lanenga