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Fresh young kitchen at The Upton, downtown Scottsdale

KAYLO | Dec 6, 201406:41 AM    

Quick, before Seftel reviews it, book a table or head for the bar at The Upton, downtown where the Petite Maison was.

The menu is all over the place( which scared me initially -- is this a confused fusioneer?) , Asian-influenced, locally sourced, brightly flavoured with lots of sour/bitter/umami and very little salt and sugar. Hop over to the posted dinner menu; it's faster for you to see it than for me to try to describe it.

The textures on the vegetables were awesome right across the menu. Meat is easy, vegetables are hard! But as F'n'B has proven, some of us DO appreciate a properly cooked vegetable. And unlike F'nB's wonderful southwestern/simple vegetables, these were well-dressed in multi-ingredient flavours. Wonderful in a different way. Think Ottolenghi, but less Mediterranean.

Sizes vary( shares, sides, mains, etc.) and the kitchen is flexible, so you can have a coursed traditional progression or you can have tapas/share style. I thought the shares were appropriate for a couple, but not a table of four in size, so do ask your server before you order if that is important to you. The AMAZING little ribs, each the size of my pinkie finger, came as 6, or 12 tiny bites. Order two for a table for 4.

Keep in mind that food like this in small batches does not come cheap, and although it is fairly priced, the tab adds up when nothing "comes with" anything else.

My friends and I did both, and so were able to enjoy the attention the chef has giving to a variety of surprisingly well-balanced but bold dishes.

Smaller portions (and prices) and more unconventional, global flavours than, say, Virtu. More refined/complicated and less hearty/meaty than Citizens Pub House.
I hope that helps, but really, like most things you have to try it for yourself.

Lovely team of enthusiastic, competent, unfailingly pleasant waiters, and at breaks in the kitchen, the impossibly young ( 32? REALLY????) chef came out and watched. No glad-handing and interrupting, which I personally do not need, but you could see how much he cared that people were digging what he was sending out.

Informal modern minimalist decor inside, beautiful big patio, and no one was wearing shorts, T-shirts, and sandals in December. Informal rather than casual. The tourists and hotels haven't started with it yet. That will change by the spring season, so try it now.

Virtu Honest Craft
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