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Restaurants & Bars 30

My new favorite Italian restaurant - Cuoco Pazzo

Rubee | Oct 10, 201101:10 PM

Okay, maybe it's a bit premature to say that after one visit the week they opened, but I'm pretty sure!

I first met Chef Peter DeRuvo when he was at Prado. Four of us had such a wonderful meal, we asked if we could meet the chef and thank him. He was so enthuasiastic and passionate about his craft that we’ve been big fans ever since. He recently left and is now at Cuoco Pazzo in Old Town. It’s been open for less than 2 weeks, but it didn’t disappoint. We had dinner last Wednesday and were joined by ArizonaGirl and her husband after cocktails at the pre-Grand Opening at Dominick’s Steakhouse (beautiful space). The owners here are very much into beer and wine so it was a pleasant surprise to see such a large selection of craft beers on tap and interesting wine b-t-g, 33, along with 3 Arizona wines. While we waited for our friends at the bar, I ordered my first Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter. I now see why this is a local AZ favorite, nice!

What a great menu. Once we were all seated at a table, I ordered a crisp Greek white (Skouras), and tried to decide. A bit difficult so we tried quite a few dishes. I think we agreed across the board that everything we ordered was a winner – olive oil-braised and grilled octopus with ceci beans and celery (one of my favorites), crispy fritto misto with halibut, shrimp, and calamari, mascarpone polenta with garlicky wild mushrooms, feather-light sheep’s milk ricotta gnocchi with porcini and rabbit ragu, vongole pizzetta on a puffy chewy crust with clams, lemon, garlic and arugula, and the pièce de résistance - an off-menu special of fresh fettucini with parmigiano-reggiano vecchio, duck egg, and foie gras. Wow. Paired with the chef’s recommendation of a Tobin James zin, my husband is still talking about it. Too full for dessert, but we ended up chatting with the owners at the bar, where they poured us a lovely Tobin James “Liquid Love” dessert wine and Mario’s wonderful homemade orangecello to end our night. Only one visit, but we already love this place.

I’ve heard that they started Happy Hour last Friday (including half off all wine by the glass and $1 off all beer ), lunch service tomorrow, and in the future plan Italian-inspired cocktails with bitters and fresh herbs. The menu changes weekly, and they now have specials they list on Facebook. They sound fantastic:
Crispy pork sweetbreads with lentils, orange, and pistachio.
Foie gras with caramelized peaches and saba.
Scampi and grits - sauteed garlic prawns over corn polenta with duck egg.
NY Strip with sauteed wild mushrooms, arugula and lemon.
Antipasti Misti addition - duck confit with herbs and truffle.

Already looking forward to our next visit.

Cuoco Pazzo
4175 N Goldwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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