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Haute Cuisine

Designer Dishes Rule the Menus at Fine Dining Destinations Across Scottsdale

Stylish people aren’t the only ones turning heads in Scottsdale. Local chefs are sourcing some of the world’s most coveted ingredients to ensure each of their dishes is not only picture perfect, but a perfect bite, as well.

Roka Akor, for example, is out to prove flavor is always in fashion. The high-end Japanese Robata steakhouse holds one of only 30 total U.S. licenses to source Kobe Beef directly from the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. This highly sought-after cut is treated with the utmost respect, grilled with very little preparation in order to let the meat’s natural buttery flavor shine. For those out for an even more adventurous meal, there is also an Omakase experience. Loosely translated as “to entrust the chef,” this tasting menu is offered nightly and features exclusive in-house premium, chef-selected ingredients, and is meant to showcase premium sushi and sashimi, as well as items from both the robata grill and tempura kitchen. RokaAkor.com

Similarly impressive when it comes to coveted steak and seafood offerings is Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Executive Chef Sara Garrant and Resort Chef Conor Favre, along with the Egyptian-born Mina, are masters of melding exotic and exquisite ingredients into unforgettable evenings for every single diner.  Bourbon Steak is of the very few restaurants around the Valley to feature real A5 Japanese Wagyu, showcasing it in different ways each season. For those who prefer an elegant alternative to red meat, Bourbon Steak also features a grand shellfish platter. Served one of two ways—chilled or broiled—this platter has a taste of all the delicacies the ocean has to offer, including four ounces of king crab, half a lobster, four shrimp, and four oysters. (Also an insider tip: do not miss Mina’s signature decadent duck fat fries amuse before the meal, they are his luxe alternative to bread and butter.) MichaelMina.net

Though Mina is one of the biggest celebrity chefs to choose Scottsdale as a dining destination, he is not alone. Acclaimed restaurateur Laurent Halasz, known for his national Fig & Olive brand, award-winning cookbooks, and the lauded Farmhouse in Los Angeles, made his way to Scottsdale in 2019 to launch Francine. Located in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, Francine offers a fine dining experience inspired by Halasz’ own childhood in the South of France. The name itself is homage to his mother, Francine Halasz, and the dishes are a nod to the sumptuous ingredients that she used when preparing meals during gatherings with friends and family. Among the most impressive offerings on the menu are the soups, anything with lamb or duck, and especially the extravagant Uni Bucatini. After being lightly cooked, the locally sourced pasta is bathed in indulgent uni, or sea urchin roe, as well as lemon, butter, and Aleppo pepper. Once plated, it is topped with Applewood smoked trout roe bursting with umami richness, in addition to house-cured Two Wash Ranch red pepper egg yolk, fresh basil, and a final garnish of Uni. FrancineRestaurant.com

Rounding out the runway-ready restaurants is Talking Stick Resort’s Tash, which is pronounced TH-O-SH and means sun or day in the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s O’odham language. Talking Stick Resort chose this name for its newest eatery in homage to the Tribal Community and to best describe the venue, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and an expansive patio, both providing stunning views of the sun setting against Camelback Mountain. Here, as with Francine, indulge in European flavors without leaving Scottsdale. Among its signature dishes is Paella Mixta, which starts with bomba rice and saffron, both imported from Spain. They are combined with chicken stock, garlic, piquillo peppers, onion, Campari tomatoes, and spices, and simmered in a frying pan before butter, shrimp, littleneck clams, chicken, and Spanish chorizo sausage are added, then simmered again. After being garnished with olive oil, halved lemons, and parsley, the pan is presented tableside, allowing guests to feast with their eyes first. TalkingStickResort.com

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