November has arrived and with the new month, here’s a list of new Phoenix restaurants to try including a down-home Tempe ramen shop and an Arcadia-area cocktail bar that’s also a great restaurant.
From a great restaurant masquerading as metro Phoenix’s hottest new cocktail bar to a homey spot for ramen in Tempe, here are three new restaurants to try in November.
You can thank Arizona Republic dining critic Dominic Armato for the list. Every month he scours the Valley for great new restaurants to try and this month there are at least three spots you might want to check out for yourself.
In addition to an Arcadia neighborhood bar with a menu crafted by one of the city’s top chefs, there’s also a new midtown Phoenix dinner spot from a talented husband-and-wife team and a cozy Tempe restaurant spun off from a popular food truck.
Isn’t it nice when the place everybody’s buzzing about actually turns out to be buzzworthy?
It started about three years ago. Jason and Katherine Dwight took up residence at the Uptown Farmers Market, serving sandwiches, sausages, pickles and baked goods from a brick oven mounted on the back of a vintage military trailer.
Persepshen, they called themselves, and marketgoers quickly glommed onto the husband-and-wife team’s fare, carefully crafted by a couple of longtime industry veterans with a commitment to cooking seasonally and locally.
It wasn’t long before Persepshen’s reputation outgrew the market. Early this year, the Dwights took over the quirky Midtown building that once housed Hula’s Modern Tiki. They set to work giving the modern space a rustic retrofit and designing a menu that would reach beyond the limitations of their market encampment.
Now, Persepshen is finally here. The care and character in the food match Persepshen’s previous efforts, but now there’s much, much more.
PESEPSHEN LIVES UP TO THE HYPE: Here’s what to order
Details: 4700 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-935-2932, instagram.com/persepshen.
Century Grand, Arcadia’s new 1920s-themed cocktail bar, wasn’t really meant to be a restaurant. It just kind of worked out that way.
From the early look of things, we’ll all be glad it did.
Chef Sacha Levine, who left her post as co-chef of Ocotillo in early 2018, was last seen slinging technicolor produce at Singh Meadows. There, she offered a wild list of paper plate fare assembled with fine dining precision and served in a verdant outdoor oasis where the kids could run and play, making her a hero to food geeks and parents alike.
An assortment of Levine’s concoctions can be found not on the menu, but on gilded carts that sidle up to your table.
Chilled shrimp, poached in dashi, come with slivered cucumber and a kind of creamy-textured green curry vinaigrette to dip. Korean meatballs are marinated like bulgogi, grilled, braised, dusted in rice flour and finally fried to give them a crisp texture, set against a backdrop of lightly fermented kimchi. And piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna salad get a lusty romesco and a shower of crisp, salty fried capers.
It’s fun to pick and choose from the selection laid out before you, but there’s a compact menu as well with some chuckle-inducing dishes.
CENTURY GRAND IS MORE THAN A BAR: The ambitious cocktail destination is a great restaurant too
Details: 3626 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-739-1388, centurygrandphx.com.
Yatai Ramen may have temporarily parked its yatai (Japanese for “shop stand”) but its plucky spirit now lives on in more permanent fashion.
Since 2014, Mark and Judy Kondo have operated the popular food truck, named for yatai — Japan’s tiny, late night ramen street carts that are handed down from generation to generation. The Kondos have long sought a brick and mortar space, and in late August, they finally claimed one.
Ramen is the thing, and in addition to an off-menu vegan broth, Yatai offers three primary varieties, all based on the 20-hour pork stock.
The signature Yatai ramen is a tonkotsu base with a “secret” tare, fragrant and a little sweet, milky and rich with some nice body, bearing skinny noodles with a solid bite. Slabs of pork belly chashu are joined by classic companions like menma, slivered wood ear mushrooms, pickled ginger and a tender egg that’s set but still deep golden at its core. This isn’t the porky arms race of trendy tonkotsu joints, but a humble, unassuming bowl with next door character.
RAMEN FOOD TRUCK FINDS A HOME: Here’s what to order at the new restaurant near ASU in Tempe
Details: 1101 W. University Drive, Tempe. 480-967-7409.
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