This was not my first rodeo…so to speak. I had previously been a fan of Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek, AZ. When I heard he had opened a new venue in Phoenix, I thought it was certainly worth a visit. The setting for this restaurant is intimate and inviting. Due to the time of season, we were unable to begin the meal in their garden or patio, but that didn’t negatively affect our experience at all. You are invited to enjoy the whole property and allowed to peruse through any area at will, which I found to be quite accommodating!
This is not your everyday dining experience and is best appreciated by someone with a discerning and creative palette! You are served about 25 courses, some no larger than a small bite, but all are thoughtful, delicate and artistically presented. The dishes used for each course are created specifically with its contents in mind. Many are handcrafted by local artisans and each dish presented is it’s own work of art.
As one might expect, with 25 courses, there are some that you like more than others. However, each course was well thought out and designed to showcase the ingredients in an original and elegant manner. It was certainly impressive! We decided to select our own wine pairing and what I loved was that they serve wine by the ounce allowing us to try a multitude of different selections without having to over indulge. The Sommelier and service staff were wonderful. Chef Binkley, himself, came out to present the details of many of the dishes and each server also presented the information on the other items quite well. The attention to detail is exceptional with a new napkin placed for us every time we left the table. Since we were there for 4 hours, we got up several times and must have gone through quite a few of their napkins!
There were several food items I had not tried previously which was quite a treat for me. I’m always up for trying something new and that’s usually a difficult thing for me to find since I am such a foodie. Some of the more unusual items that evening were goose barnacles, guinea hen wings, Sawagani crabs, uni, frogs legs and sweetbreads. This was the first time I have eaten sweetbreads and liked them. They were served chicken fried on a biscuit with caper aioli and charred onion relish. Nothing wrong with that!
I would say that my favorite items of the evening were their grilled oysters, truffle jalapeño popper with pepper jelly, sweetbreads, sweet onion polenta focaccia with basil oil, tomato consommé, mozzarella/tomato, dueling crab blt’s, corn puddin’, and slow cooked prime rib. I absolutely loved their saffron siphon, a tea made solely from herbs that was absolutely incredible!
Along with their dessert of caramel plantain empanadas with dates, pistachios and Mexican chocolate, they brought a flavored liquid that they poured into a gravy boat in the center of the table creating a mist of smoky aroma to enlighten your senses while enjoying the tea and dessert. It was quite a show!
Upon leaving, we were given an adorable gift bag with some organic local fruit, coasters and a menu of the evening meal. I was even called the next day with a thank you for attending and ensuring that we enjoyed our experience the night before. Yes, this was an exquisite dining experience with remarkable service, amazing food and attention to every detail!