At last, a restaurant worth blogging about!! It’s been a long dry spell filled with mediocre meals, and a few real losers. In fact, my despair was so great it drove me to diet. We’d go out occasionally, but it was always easy to order a salad (my fat free dressing traveled with me) and not feel deprived. So it was with low expectations that we went to Bonfire Grill and Bar.
This five month old newbie is in Old Town Scottsdale, occupying the building that had housed Furio. That it is close to The Mission (see my 7/1/10 blog “Kiss My Grits) is no coincidence. Matt Carter, executive chef and proprietor of both The Mission and
Zinc Bistro created the menu, and his former sous chef Eric Guerin is now Bonfire’s executive chef. Carter mentored the manager of Bonfire, Jimmy Swann, a firefighter and newcomer to the restaurant business. It’s rare to find a team so eager to please their customers.
Bonfire serves elevated American comfort food. Many of the selections are cooked over a pecan wood fire, and this divine smell greets you in the parking lot. There were so many temptations on the menu, I knew my diet dressing would remain hidden in my pocketbook. We started by sharing a grilled artichoke ($8) filled with sun dried tomatoes, and served with a delicious garlic aioli. It was quite large, perfectly tender, and fed three of us.
It wasn’t easy to select our entrees. One of everything would have been nice. But eventually I ordered the BBQ Short Rib Skewer sandwich ($9) served on MJ bread with beer braised onions, Tillamook cheese and a chipotle BBQ sauce. It came with fries, lightly dusted with onion powder and a homemade chipotle ketchup. The chipotle taste was evident, but the heat level was happily low. The chunks of short rib were tender and moist even though all the fat had miraculously disappeared. Ken had short ribs too, but his entree came from the brunch menu - Short Rib Hash With Buttermilk Biscuits ($10).
The chef obligingly put the potatoes on the side in a cute little iron pot. The biscuits were both chewy and fluffy. Ernest decided on the Skewered Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($7) With Roasted Tomato, Bacon and Arugula. He seemed very pleased. Anna’s Pecan Grilled Harris Ranch Burger ($9) looked good, but her Honey Mustard Coleslaw was the real hit. It was lightly dressed, yet full of flavor. Given the size and quality of these dishes, the price was truly a bargain. The only nit I might pick here (I had to find one so you wouldn’t think I’d lost my edge) is the over-use of the skewer concept.
Since I’d already blown my diet, why pass up desert? A Cast Iron Toasted Marshmallow Smores dish with Shaved Chocolate, Graham Cracker Cookies (homemade, not the flat board-like kind), and Malted Vanilla Ice Cream ($6) went with the Bonfire concept, but Jimmy urged us to try the Chocolate Bread Pudding with Banana Ice Cream ($6). Good choice! A huge portion of warm, gooey chocolate with hints of banana and caramel paired perfectly with the ice cream. Eventually I gave my spoon to Ken and told him not to give it back no matter how much I begged.
The ambiance is pleasant. Lots of dark wood, with an impressive wooden collage on the wall behind the bar, commissioned from a local artist. I think it would be nice if more art work took the place of some of the innumerable TV sets lining the walls. But at least their sound was muted, and enjoyable music was being played at a reasonable noise level (live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights). There’s a communal table, booths, high and low top tables, and very comfortable upholstered chairs. A good thing if you can’t bring yourself to leave between lunch and dinner service.
Bonfire Grill and Bar
7210 E. 2nd St. Scottsdale 480-945-6600
Lunch daily 11-5
Dinner Sunday - Thursday 5-10, Friday & Saturday 5-11