One of the places I've heard a lot about in Phoenix is Richardson's. Apparently they are one of the "must go" places if you want to try New Mexican cuisine in Phoenix. After a long day of car shopping, I was driving semi-aimlessly along Bethany Home. I was debating on Hana or something else in the area. Tara thought I was going to Richardson's since I'd mentioned it earlier, so we headed there. We parked near the entrance to Richardson's along the Bethany Home side. As we were walking from the car, she said hi to some guy walking towards us. Apparently he was a coworker I've heard about but never met. He was meeting some people and said Richardson's was packed with a 45 minute wait. I'd been planning on hitting Dick's Hideaway, since it serves the same menu and isn't quite as busy normally. I asked him where the entrance was and he said it was around the corner, and that they were busy, but not as bad. After looking over the menu posted in front of Richardson's door, Tara said she could find something (she's not into spicy food) and we headed over to Dick's.
Around the corner on the 16th Street side, an unmarked doorway had a menu board next to it with the Dick's menu. We entered a dimly lit, bar-looking place. No hostess was evident and I peeked into what looked like a large wine cellar to the immediate right. It was a dining room, but set up for a private party. A waitress said we could at the lone remaining two-top (a short bar-like table at the back) or take a seat at the end of the bar. We took the bar seating. The waitress handed us two place mat menus (with Richardson's Dinner Menu along the top, instead of Dick's) and took our drink order of water with lemon for each of us.
The menu is divied into several sections: Soups, salads, pizzas, house specialties, and Sante Fe Trail. The specialties run from $21 for a pasta to New Mexican surf and turf for $29. The Sante Fe Trail items range from $9 for a cheeseburger to $16 for a cheesesteak sandwich. The Carne Adovada on the SFT side caught my eye while Tara settled on grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp. She asked the waitress about non-spicy items, and this was suggested, minus the spicy sauces normally include. A house salad was subbed for the spicy rice and beans with no problem.
Behind the bar was where there were cooking all the food. We were able to watch them prepare our meal as well as others. It was kinda fun, but the barstools were a bit high for Tara and her legs were hurting. Luckily the food came out fairly quickly.
Her salad was a fairly basic salad with ranch dressing. The portion size was pretty good and the vegetables were nice and fresh. It looked like it could use more salad, but was a good alternative to the spicy carb fest of rice and beans.
Her meal was six good-shrimp wrapped in bacon, service on a large platter with three sauces arrayed on it. She thought it was ok. Something was a bit spicy. She also bit into something hard the wrong way that might have chipped or broken a tooth and caused a toothache. She's going to visit the dentist for it this week. So in addition to paying for taking her to Dick's, I get to look forward to her holding this over my head as well. :)
My carne adovada came out of the oven on a large metal plate. A large tortilla was spread on the bottom of the plate and the carne adovada, rice, beans, and cheese were put on top of it. A heated tortilla was folded into quarters and set on top of that. Once it cooled, I took a bite, and loved it immediately. The simmered pork was fork tender and the flavor and spice of the red chili permeated the meat. It was a low-level heat the built up slowly. It was a great, full flavor, and in short order, I was feeling the heat and mopping my head. It was a huge portion for the $12 menu price, and I ate about half of the meat and all the beans and rice.
Service was good. The waitress did her best to try to give Tara some non-spicy options, and we knew going in that that might be a problem. A large carafe of iced water was put on the bar in front of us, so we never lacked drinks. With the side room booked, the bar area was nearly packed. I really enjoyed it and would go back in a heartbeat to try some of the other SFT options. I'll just drop Tara off at Hobe Meats next door with a portable grill and she'll be more than happy.
6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016