Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill - http://www.eddiev.com/
20715 N Pima Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
We’d dined there, as guests, on two occasions, and were just invited to dine there again. My first impressions were less than complimentary, but this was an intimate private party, hosted by a major sponsor of the FBR, so we were looking forward to it. I’d seen a lot of good hype from this board, so I assumed that I had just missed something. The first trip was just after they opened, and the next was about six months later. I assumed that I’d hit them with “opening pains,” and then just a “bad night.”
Off we went to Scottsdale, just N. of 101, off of N. Pima Rd. We arrived at the appointed time, and wound our way around the business/shopping area, just off the DC Ranch property. Obviously, many of the attendees of the FBR had already made it there, as the semi-circular parking area was full of Bentleys. Though my wife has an American Valet VIP sticker and key fob, her big black AMG was shuttled off to a lesser spot, than the front of the restaurant. I guess we were about to rub shoulders with the movers n’ shakers.
We entered and found the restaurant – with only an exterior door, and then one from the vestibule, it should not be hard, but it did seem like a mini-labyrinth. We found ourselves in line behind two couples at the hostess stand. Though both couples were helped, they did not move away from the stand. I waited patiently for the young ladies in the black sheath-dresses to get beyond these other folk. Instead, they just talked amongst themselves. Several patrons came in, and seemed to know these ladies, and conversations erupted. Some were promptly seated, some just seemed to drift in and out of the front of the house, always talking to the hostesses. Finally, I eased my way to the stand, and told them that we were there for the XXX private party. The hostess looked at me, like I was speaking Lithuanian and did not acknowledge anything that I had said. I stepped back, as they began to converse again, taking care of several more folk, who wandered in. A new hostess appeared, and began to actually look at the seating charts. More people came in, chatted with the hostesses and were ushered off someplace. In about five minutes, a gentleman approached the stand and called two party names. None was present, but before he could leave, I told him we were there for the XXX party. He did not say anything, or make any gesture, but went off to either the bar, or the dining room. Five more minutes went by, and the two couples were still camped out at the stand. A group of three came in, said that they did not have a reservation, and were promptly seated, as were a half-dozen individuals, who seemed to just be roaming around. One couple came in, was acknowledged by a hostess, and was immediately led off. In a few moments, they exited. Odd. I told one of the hostesses, that we were there for the XXX party, and was met with a totally blank look. Now, almost a half-hour into the experience, a woman approached me and asked, “who are you and what do you want?” I explained that we were guests of the XXX party, and she turned and left – not another word. Five minutes later, the gentleman arrived again and asked me what the name on our reservations was. I told him, for the second time (for him, and the third for the hostesses), that we were there for the XXX party. He motioned a server over, whispered to him and he swept his hand for us to follow. I do not think that he was able to speak, only motion with his hand. Without a word, we were led to a room in the back, where the party was underway. We met with our host, and the dignitaries of the XXX corporation. The warmth and friendliness in that room was 180° out of phase, with what we had encountered. The “dedicated” server, for this party, an efficient young lady, was the paragon of service. She offered us wine, and even explained the offerings. I took two of the Bouchard pere et fils white Burgs (Chardonnay). She was always at anyone’s side, should their glass begin to empty, and she did the re-fills, without interrupting anyone’s conversation. She was THE antitheses of the ladies in the black sheath-dresses! A young man was passing several trays, but never quite made it to us. Besides, we were immediately deep in conversation, with some delightful people, so it did not matter.
From my earlier visits, I had recalled that Eddie V’s had a fairly extensive wine list. When the invitation came in, I went to their site to take a look at it. I was unable to find it. I am so often asked to handle the wine lists, that I like to prepare myself. In this case, the wines had all been chosen, and interestingly to me, the whites were just what I would have chosen.
After less time, than it took me to get into the party, we were seated, and the meal began. The menu was limited to two starters and four entrées, plus dessert. I chose the lobster bisque, and since the selected red was a recent Jordan, Sonoma/Alexander Valley Cab, the 16 oz NY Strip. I ordered the chocolate dessert, and told the young server, that if my wife ordered that, to please substitute the crème brûlée.
We fell into deep conversation around the table, and was soon informed that the gentleman to my left, had chosen the wines. He inquired as to my satisfaction, and I admitted that his choice of the dinner white, a Louis Latour Montrachet, would have been my choice, had I done the wines.
The lobster bisque arrived, and it was excellent! There were two medallions of lobster in a tomato-crème broth, that was perfectly seasoned. Even with the extra acid of the tomato, this was superb with the Montrachet. I do not recall what my wife chose, as I was involved conversing with one of my hosts, to my left.
The NY strip arrived, as did all of the other entrées, and it was done medium-rare, as I had requested. Now, normally, I am more of a tenderloin guy, but this was the only beef to choose from on the limited menu, and I wanted to pair with the Cab. Sides of potatoes au gratin and steamed green bean with almonds arrived too. Only problem was that everyone’s plate was sizzling, as were the ramekins with the sides. How do you serve the diners? You cannot pass their plate, as it is 300° F, and the same for the ramekins. I folded my napkin and held my plate toward my wife, who was able to dish the potatoes from their bowl, and onto my plate. Even with the napkin folded x4, my hand was burning. She tried for the beans, and blistered her hand in the effort. I could not hold my plate any longer, so just gave up on the beans. With two each of these sides, around the table, only the person seated immediately next to it, could serve themself. There was no way for others to get any, as all the plates were nuclear in their heat. What is the idea behind this?
Obviously, I cannot comment on the beans, as no one had asbestos gloves with them, to help serve them, but the potatoes were the worst that I have ever had. They tasted like they were instant potatoes, that had been formed into the shape of a slice of potato, and then covered with a yellow plastic. I love potatoes au gratin, and have been know to eat Chef Vincent out of his normal batch, but these were inedible. The steak, however, was very, very good. The preparation was perfect, and the flavor excellent. Probably the best NY strip, that I have had in years. The 16 oz size turned out a bit large, but I did my best.
My wife had gotten the garlic-grilled Gulf prawns, which were as tough as getting into the XXX party – horribly overcooked and inedible. I hope that her first course was as good as the lobster bisque.
For dessert, my wife and I got a small combo of the two desserts – nice touch and it shows that an astute server can really make a difference. This young lady needs to be at a better restaurant, and that is all there is to it. During the evening, she and I spent a few moments talking about the wines and she knew her stuff. I hope that our host tipped her appropriately. Our busboy was cut from the same cloth as the hostesses, but then we had little interaction with him.
In all, it was a fabulous night, but that was because of the grace, charm, elegance and great company, that our hosts provided, plus the service from our dedicated server. There were high points, and then there were low – very, very low. I would not return, except in the company of those in this party.
I did observe that this was a “happening” place with an overflow of folk. Fortunately, our dining area was intimate and quite, unlike what I observed elsewhere. Most of the people, who have made recs. for this restaurant have commented on half-priced food and drink at the bar. From my perspective, you could not pay me double, to dine there. Half-price is still 10x what I it would take me to ever go back. I think it would make a great spot for people who do not care about food or service, but just wish to indulge in a loud, crowded, “happening” place with a great “vibe.” From the hostesses to the busboy, there is a real “attitude” problem. There is no way that I can be convinced that it is worth the effort and the $ (even when my gracious host paid the fare!) to spend a second there. I can walk into many 3-star restaurants around the globe, and have the staff greet me, as though I were their favorite food critic. This place has a real problem. When they do something good, it is good, but far too much, from the front-of-the-house, to other food items, is just plain bad. There is just too much good dining in the Valley of the Sun to tolerate this sort of thing. Unless I am forced to do so by well-meaning hosts, I will never darken their door again. Next time that someone requests a “happening place,” with a good “vibe,” and doesn’t mention the food, this is where I will send them.
Going back to a previous thread - “Most Overrated Phoenix Restaurants,” this would be my #1 now. When we left, about half of the Bentleys had been replaced by Hummers, but the bar was overflowing, and the area right outside was filled with people who could not get in and were on their cell phones, either trying to get their agents to call and vouch for them, or were trying to get into some other place. Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill will probably return nicely for their investors, but it will not be because of the food. Even at tony NYC and Las Vegas restaurants, I have not encountered such an “attitude” problem, and hope that I never will. OK, it was during the FBR, but one never knows just who is waiting in your line. You can have Eddie V’s, and you are welcome to it. I just hope that our server moves onward, and upward – she was great.
PS a great big thank you to my host and to her staff for making an otherwise horrible night great. It was because of you, your clients and your managers, that the evening was as good, as it was. I would return, only if you were hosting a party there.
Eddie V's Edgewater Grill
20715 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255