Posh, which according to the dictionary means “smart and fashionable,” apparently also means “really good but no menu.” Set on the ground floor of Optima CamelView, the architecturally striking Hanging Gardens of Babylon-esque luxo-loft development on Scottsdale Road, Posh will defy your notion of what a restaurant is and challenge your palate.
If you’ve read any press on Posh, you already know that patrons choose from a list of proteins, comment about any particular likes and/or dislikes, choose the number of courses you want and Chef/Owner Joshua Hebert and his team take care of the rest.
Although the concept might sound gimmicky, the fact is, Joshua and his crew and turning out some really good food, and some of it touches on greatness.
Case in point: the foie gras torchon with smoked blueberries, and brulee of spun sugar. I’ve always felt like Kevin Binkley consistently turns out some of the best foie gras in town, but this preparation was better than anything I’ve ever had at Binkley’s with the exception of his “Menage a Foie.” Creamy, delicately sweet and wonderful in flavor. Chef Hebert said it well: “Foie gras is meat-flavored butter.”
There were many other high points. My wife and I deliberated over whose soup course was better; I had the artichoke bisque and she had gazpacho. Although she hates basil (should have mentioned that on the non-menu), the subtle basil flavor gave this gazpacho an excellent, if non-traditional, aroma and flavor. And the “Beet-Flavored Fruit Leather with Goat Cheese” amuse bouche made for a mouth watering start to the evening.
Less successful was the Miso-Glazed Pork Belly, which lacked the crispy texture on top and was over-sauced. My Frog’s Leg with Peas and Morels was a nice change of pace and something only seen on the Don & Charlie’s menu down the street, but it was slightly undercooked and the morels were overpowering for such a delicate meat.
Although I specifically noted that I didn’t want venison, I got it anyway. Chalk it up to the fact that the kitchen was dealing with its first busy week after Howard Seftel’s very positive review. And, candidly, I’m really glad they screwed up because I really loved the venison. Served with a rhubarb sauce and Japanese eggplant, it was probably the first venison I’ve ever enjoyed and was cooked to a perfect medium rare.
The Soft Shell Crabs were served with a cauliflower puree and fresh Squash Blossoms from McClendon Farms, but I really thought that the Squash Blossoms should have been cooked. Instead, I’m fairly sure they were there as a colorful accent but I ate them anyway.
One of the absolute highlights of the meal was the Cheese Course. I’m kicking myself for not writing down what cheeses were served because they were all delicious. One was a blue that was VERY “blue” and had an almost crispy texture, one was a soft cheese and there was also a Spanish cheese. I don’t know what they were but they were all great, the presentation beautiful, and a very welcome surprise. The cheese was followed by a Meyer Lemon Lollipop made on-the-fly using the Grant Achatz-inspired “anti-griddle”…fabulous.
For a restaurant so new, staffed by such a young team, I have to give Joshua credit for getting so many of the details right. His wife, who was helping with the front of the house, was gracious and checked-in on us to make sure the evening was going well. The wine pairings were thoughtful and unique, ranging from Alsace to Greece and many places in between. Joshua was friendly and engaging, even though he went to Brophy. (it’s an inside joke) And the room has a very cool urban vibe that befits its surroundings.
Will the concept of “improvisational cuisine” stand the test of time? It’s very tough to say and if I had a crystal ball you can be sure that I wouldn’t be using it to predict the future of a restaurant. But I wouldn’t bet against Hebert and his team. Their energy, youthfulness, and desire to push the boundaries may serve them very well.
Henry Louis Mencken once said “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable.” The folks at Posh will challenge your fear of the unknown, and you’ll thank them for doing it.
Additional details and photos available at www.ericeatsout.com