Restaurants & Bars

What the Jester Had for Dinner: Richardson's, Phoenix AZ

JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester) | Jun 3, 200607:35 PM     6

I love it when friends from out of town come for a visit. This time, it was my friend Eric B. from Tucson. We went all over town doing things, including a light lunch of Lombardo's Gelato. Oh, that reminds me- you have GOT to try the zabaglione/chocolate chunk gelato when you go there. It was divine, and went incredibly well with the Forest Fruits flavor (think berries topped with zabaglione and garnished with shavings of chocolate... mmmmmm). Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled review of Richardson's...

It was getting late and we were feeling quite hungry. I wanted to show Eric something that he just couldn't have in Tucson. I started thinking Los Dos Molinos (too far), Phoenix Ranch Market (better at lunch when the atmosphere is somehow more festive)... AHA! Richardson's! I've been wanting to try it out for ages. We walk into the restaurant, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't smoky in the slightest, and the place was full. What it was was nice and dark inside. I'll definitely be back for lunch if it stays even close to that dark, there are few things on these scorching hot days better than curling up somewhere cool and dimly lit with a choice libation.

We were led to our booth in the back corner of the restaurant. I was pleased to see a couple of touches that made for a very comfortable setting- the first was throw pillows on the booth, the second was a full carafe of water waiting for us at the table. Our waitress, Sherri, came over and took drink orders; I went for a regular margarita on the rocks, Eric opted for iced tea. My margarita came out first, and I took a sip right away. It hit every point a margarita should- it was a perfect balance of sweet and tart, and didn't reek of powdered sweet and sour mix like so many other margaritas I've had. Eric's iced tea was well made, and like the water, they brought out a full carafe for refills. I was very pleased to see this, as when I get iced tea I tend to drain my glass seconds after the server puts it on the table. We looked over the menu, and realized that next time I need to bring a flashlight. It's really, really dark in there! I don't mind it at all, but when you're trying to read the menu and need to grab a votive candle to see it, maybe some strategically placed pin spot track lights would be a good idea.

We eventually decided on items- I went for the Taos Plate, consisting of two lamb chops, two of their New Mexico Sausages (made locally by Schreiner's), and a chicken chipotle burrito. Eric ordered a bowl of posole, and the Tomatillo Toast, a mix of chicken and ham on a piece of toast, topped with green chile, cheese, and tomatillo salsa. Eric originally planned to start with the posole, but Sherri told us that the posole takes a little while to put together, and suggested that he start with the Tomatillo Toast. A few minutes later, the Toast arrived, along with a house salad for me. The salad was a decent, standard salad, topped with a mild jalapeño ranch dressing. I didn't taste much of the jalapeños, but appreciated that the dressing wasn't overly thick and gloppy like so many that I've had before. The tomatillo toast was positively outstanding. I'm not much of one for green chile sauces, but the one here was absolutely wonderful. The ham provided just the right amount of smokiness.

A few minutes after we finished up the first course, out came the mains. My Taos plate was quite impressive, and the posole just about knocked me over with its intoxicating aroma. Everything on my plate was excellent. The sausages were some of the most savory ones I've had in a long time (and surely would go well on a Southwestern brunch plate), the burrito was perfect comfort food, and the lamb... oh wow, the lamb. It was easily the highlight of the meal, a little sweet, a little savory, and so flavorful I gnawed just about every morsel of meat from the bones. The sides of rice and beans were also top-notch, with a pleasant sweet smokiness to the beans. The posole was good but somehow could have been better, likely if it had a chance to sit so the flavors could marry. Having it made fresh was a nice touch, though. I'm very glad I finally made it over to Richardson's, and see myself going back to Richardson's (and its neighbor Dick's Hideaway) very soon.

1582 E Bethany Home Rd
602-265-5886 or 602-230-8718

Overall: 4
Food: 4
Service: 5
Atmosphere: 4
Kid Friendly: 1
Open For: Br, L, D, Late
Note: No non-smoking section available.

Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

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