My wife and I will staying in Scottsdale for 4 nights to celebrate my birthday. FYI, we will not have a car, and plan to take taxis where needed. I've already done a good bit of research on your board, but do still have a couple of specific questions. But first here is what we currently have booked:
Thursday Night: We arrive a bit later, and have not yet decided if we will eat in LA before leaving, or once we get to Phoenix. If in PHX, we are thinking probably something chill. Any suggestions?
Friday Night: Kai
Saturday Night: Noca
Sunday Night: Cowboy Ciao
As I said, we will not have a car. We are staying at Sanctuary and plan to spend our days relaxing and being pampered, so at this point I doubt we will leave during the course of the day except for dinner.
We spend a lot of time in California, and a lot of time in NYC, just so you know, and are interested in places that are particularly representative of the PHX area, Arizona, and the Southwest in general. Hopefully without sounding snooty, I'm not so interested in things we can readily eat well where we spend most of our time (e.g. sushi in LA), but as I said in places that really help give one a great flavor of local PHX dining.
I realize Kai is a hike, but from all the reviews it seems like Kai and Binkleys are the "best" two restaurants in the PHX area. Having had the pleasure of eating both at TFL and Alinea, and in keeping with the idea that something locally influenced would be most desirable, we opted on Kai for my birthday dinner. Any reason we should consider otherwise? (Please don't take this to be a snub of Binkleys, I am sure it is fantastic, but it does seem particularly SF/Napa'ish, at least from the menu).
Noca seems to be heavily Italian influenced, which is something we eat a LOT of when in NYC, but the reviews were so overwhelmingly laudatory it seemed a shame to miss it ... especially when compared to FnB. Any other suggestions?
Cowboy Ciao seems to me to be the quintessential example of something I could only find there, and it seems like both a heck of a lot of fun and good eats to boot. Anything we should consider instead?
I'm also looking for suggestions, as I said, for Thursday night. I know there is Elements at the hotel, but it seems to be in a bit of a funk from some of the reviews I read, and while the menu doesn't look bad, it doesn't look exciting or new to me ... seems like the type of place one could easily find on the West or East coast. We might move CCiao to Thursday, but then that opens up our Sunday ... we're not super interested in TCooks, Lon's, Vincents, etc, we've done Bianco before, and Mastros/Ocean Club has several locations in SoCal.
Gosh ... reading back through this makes it sound far too snobbish, which is not at all what I am trying to do. Basically we just want great food that is not easy to find elsewhere.
Please do let me know your thoughts, and we look forward to giving you a trip report when we are back.