I have not been to Phoenix, Arizona in 12 years. A lot has changed. Sprawling desert would be the best description. It is a mecca of people who have moved there for the life style and the cost of living. I believe Phoenix is now the 5th largest city in the US.
We stayed at the Phoenician which is where we stayed 12 years ago too. The food has gone down hill and way over priced for what you get but the facility has been kept up. High service, great golf course, great rooms, nice amenities.
We took advantage of the city and went mountain biking in the desert one morning. What a wonderful activity for the family. The desert is beautiful. The ride isn't that hard but to see a different part of the country and the topography was very cool. The kids loved it.
One of the areas that is in the process of major construction is called the waterfront. Waterfront meaning a warehouse type area being build along a man made water canal. Bunch of new restaurants have opened there which have all gotten rave reviews. I made reservations at one of them called Sea Saw.
What a find. This place could make it in NYC with no problems. Nobuo Fukuda is the chef and owner. The restaurant is stark and simple. The kitchen is open and set in the middle of the one room. Around that is seating like a bar but it is for dinner. There are about 4 tables surrounding the bar but that's it. Simple and stark.
The food concept is everything is to be shared. Right up my alley. Total grazing. Our waitress recommended that we order 2 plates per person. We began with the oysters which were the special of the night. 4 oysters that were served individually in white soup spoons on a simple square white plate. Each spoon had a broth and an oyster that was topped with uni. The flavor combinations were incredible.
Then we had the Hamachi. Each piece is to be eaten in one bite, says the chef. One slice of Hamachi served over a small slice of avocado and a braised slice of grapefruit with a thick ponzu oil. Incredible. We were wishing for bread so that we could soak up the sauces on the plate but bread was not being served here. What you order is what you get, no changes, ever.
We continued with more. Soft shell shrimps that were fried whole over a spicy green papaya slaw. No peeling just pop the entire shrimp in your mouth. Baked black cod marinated in a miso that had been baked and cut up into 5 pieces so we each got our own taste which was good. The Tako and Tomato was a big hit. Braised octopus served over a slice of buffalo mozzarella and a small slice of flavorful tomato and a wasabi oil poured over that. Wow. The textures and the tastes just worked. There were some cooked items too. Sliced duck, pan seared, sliced and placed over a pinot noir reduction. Oooh.
There were a few other things that we had but I can't recall since it has been a few days. When we left we all agreed that this place could definitely make it in NYC. We'd go. The only drag is that Fred and I were fine and satisfied but the kids were ravenous. It just wasn't enough food. So, we went back to the hotel and had dessert. Not a bad option. If you are in Phoenix, Sea Saw is a must go to.