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A seat with a view…

February 6, 2010

Want a good seat at a hot restaurant? Bypass the wait and pull up a chair at the kitchen bar at St. Francis. There are only four seats, and they are first come first serve, but it is dinner and a show if you can snag one. We had the same great service sitting there and it provided a wonderful stage view of a well run kitchen at work. I would always sit at the kitchen table in a restaurant if possible. Cooking has become my spectator sport, and I never tire of watching the pros at work.

It does, however, make ordering a difficult task. I kept consulting the menu and changing my mind as I watched their staff at work. I didn’t catch the name of the cook who was manning the large brick oven that is the centerpiece to their kitchen, but he had a beautiful rhythm going preparing different dishes and moving them around in the heat. He had so many different dishes coming through at once and made it all look so easy. It was a choreographed dance with food.

If I could have, I would have ordered one of everything going through that oven, but I finally settled on the Roasted Chicken with the Green Garlic Mashed Potatoes in a heavenly mushroom sauce. In that wood-fired heat, the chicken skin was perfectly roasted while the meat remained so moist and tender it fell off the bone. All of the flavors melded together perfectly. Sean’s Arctic Char salad was the same. He had a beautiful piece of Char that was atop a colorful salad of beets, potatoes and herbs with a light lemon vinaigrette that really complemented the fish. All of the other dishes we had to admire as they were ushered in and out of the heat, but I made mental notes of what I hope to try in the future. I do have some serious lust now for my own brick oven. There is no substitute for wood-fired cooking.

Oh… and good news! St. Francis is now serving lunch. They have a fixed lunch menu available Tuesday thru Friday from 11:30am to 2:30pm. There is also a three course Business Lunch Special available, that looked wonderful, especially the part where they promise that you can be in and out in 30 minutes. Although there were no promises that you won’t want to linger.

My step-mother Lisa booked a lunch there this past Wednesday. She said it was incredible and that they made good on their 30 minute promise. They even sent her off with a small bag of warm cookies. She loved it so much (in particular the salad) that she booked a second business lunch there for Friday.

St. Francis

111 East Camelback Road

Phoenix, AZ 85012


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