Several weeks ago I read on Chowhound.Com that Jeff Smedstad former chef and co-owner of Los Sombreros was going to open a place in Sedona. While I had eaten in the Scotsdale location only one time it was a a glorious meal, and have read with interest the many enthusiastic postings on this board. So it was with high anticipation that Amanda and I went for an early lunch this past Friday.
Elote is located in the King’s Ransom Hotel, 771 Highway 179, just a bit east of the Hillside Shops. This building has housed a number of so-so restaurants over the years, but at long last it has a real winner. We arrived shortly after the 11 o’clock opening and were warmly greeted by the hostess, and were taken to our table after stopping to chat a bit with Jeff. It has been a long time since my last visit there so I’m not sure just what changes have been made to the room, but it was simply and warmly decorated, with copper covered tables, and of course, the wonderful window wall facing the patio with very impressive views. Much too hot for outside dining now, but before long, tables on that deck will be very popular.
Shortly after being seated we were served a basket of fresh chips still warm, and a bowl of amazing thick salsa, almost like a pico de gallo, with chunks of tomatoes and onions and bursting with a delicious smoky flavor. Amanda had a glass of brewed ice tea ($2.00) and I went for the La Rosa Margarita, made with Hornitos reposado tequila, Gran Gala, Bonny Doon Framboise, and house made sour ($8.50)
We began with the Guacamole ($6.50), easily enough for four people, made with fresh avocado, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, and julienned spinach and cabbage. A wonderful start. Hard to decide about our mains, so we over ordered.
The Torta de Carnitas ($9.00), a roasted pork sandwich spread with guacamole, spicy mayo, and served with rice and beans. The pork was sensational, crispy outside yet still tender and juicy.
Seafood Tacos ($11.00) Fish and shrimp, served open-faced on three smallish, wonderful, almost gordita-like corn tacos, with crema, avocado, and of course, the rice and beans. The beans, for those with vegetarian concerns, were made without lard. They were delicious nonetheless.
The Green Corn Tamale ($7.00) was without a doubt one of the best I have ever eaten. Light, fluffy, and filled with corn, cheese and poblano chile with salsa verde. Again with beans and rice.
All this food called for another Margarita, this time the Sedona Soleado, pomegranate tequila, prickly pear and lime and gran gala ($9.50). The iced tea was constantly refilled. Linda, our server, was completely professional, totally knowlegable about everything on the menu and drink list, and most friendly.
We were stuffed, and had to take some of the food with us, but still had to try the Flan ($5.00), a classic egg custard with caramel and sprinkled with candied toasted pumpkin seeds, which added a welcome crunch. And the perfect finish to a wonderful meal.
At the present time, Elote is serving a breakfast buffet from 7 to 10 a.m.with a daily selection of eggs, sausage, bacon, homemade pastries, granola, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee for only $10.00. This must be a joy for those staying at the Hotel. On Sundays there is the Mercado Brunch, served from 8 am to 2 pm, featuring traditional favorites along with regional Mexican touches. I intend to try this out as soon as possible.
And the best news of all: the plan is to begin serving dinner on August 17th. I will be there, and when in the Sedona area, you should as well. This is a most welcome addition to our restaurant scene.