Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All points point to yes

I may have been a bit tipsy last night, but I meant everything I wrote.

I'm still in Phoenix and had a very splurgey dinner last night. I stayed at the hotel and went to The Compass restaurant. A rotating restaurant on the 24th floor of the hotel. It was a pleasurable night.

Let's get started. First. The rotating thing. Barely noticeable. I think the rotation is one full rotation an hour. After the first hour, it's the same view. Still pretty. Phoenix is a very large, FLAT city with dots of mountains in the city and around the city. Having no car, I can't go...and having no time due to the conference I'm here for...that's ok...I'm getting out at lunch and dinner today.

First thing. They brought me a little cornbread. With it came this cute tray. L-R, regular butter, honey butter and sea salt. The cornbread was ok, not the best, but the butter and sea salt combos were fun.

I ordered a half bottle of wine. They have DRYLANDS Sauvignon Blanc...oh, but wait, they didn't have it. So I found this funny. The waiter actually brought the next sauvignon blanc for me. He saw it was an SB and said, hey, why not...or the bar said that...but it wasn't anything like the New Zealand wine I love...it was a Californian SB and very smoky and a little woody. I had to turn it away, not what I wanted. So, I went with a red. Craneford Cabernet Sauvignon from Barossa Valley, Australia. A spicy red with a higher alcohol and low acid. Notes of dry fruit and warm spice. Tasty.

This was my appetizer and I could have eaten a second one. Braised Bacon with Marjoram-Maple grits and a poached pair. YUM. Now, Braised Bacon? Really. Well, it's not bacon in the fact of sliced, fatty pieces of pork. It was more of a meaty piece of pork belly that was placed under the broiler for a minute to caramelize the fat. Divine. Savory, with a hint of smokiness and sweetness. Paired perfectly with the grits and pear. I didn't get the overt flavor of marjoram and maple, but the subtle sweetness was lovely. The pear was just another sweet layer. YUM. The grits were some of the best I've had. This dish fought with the wine. That's ok, I'll save it for the entree.

My entree was a bit more on the standard side. Roast chicken breast with two shrimp and an onion ring. The shrimp were great. Seasoned lightly and grilled until perfectly crisp. The Chicken was seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper. The salt might have been on the higher side for some, but it was perfect for me. Especially when paired with the cheesey, creamy polenta. The skin on the chicken was very crispy. The onion ring was a fail. Boring flavor, flabby and dry. The wine worked very well with this dish. They played like good friends.

Then I was presented with the dilema of dessert. J-lo wanted me to try the pumpkin cake with maple gelato. I wanted the creme brulee. The waiter said there was a trio I could try. Pumpkin Cake, Creme Brulee and another Smore's dessert. Here's the deal. I don't know if the waiter had all the information right. When he told me the specials he said something about a "three onion risotto" which sounded tasty. After I ordered the wine he mentioned it again and said "three onion couscous." Not as exciting sounding to me. Here, I think he got things wrong again.

1) The cake was great. Should have just ordered it! Lovely spiced pumpkin flavor and a light, maple gelato. Perfect.
2) The creme brulee...when presented, the waiter said it was flan. OK, I asked...he said it was BOTH? BOTH? What? Well...the creme part was nice, but there was no brulee. The syrup with a flan is usually a light caramel. This was more of a dulche de leche, which is fine, but it was too heavy, creamy things coming together and it was too much.
3) The smore thing. Skip. The Marshmallow on top looked nice, but I can't eat marshmallows yet. (Got sick when I made them last year...still churns my stomach). The cakey part...could barely get my spoon into the cup. Very firm. And the chocolate flavor...for a dark chocolate it was too sweet and boring.

Overall, if I were to rate the restaurant on a scale of 5...I think I'd do 4. The desserts were hit or miss. The wine issue turned me off a little bit. Overall though, with the few and the good food, a very nice place.


Dancer in DC said...

Sounds wonderful! I love how adventurous you've become with your dining choices. That appetizer looks awesome.

Stef said...

yeah, that appetizer is totally Top Chef-worthy. Sounds like your waiter did need a little more prep, or maybe he's not used to patrons as knowledgeable? Either way, sounds like a good overall experience. Have fun out there in AZ, we'll miss you at book club!