When returning to a place I’ve traveled in the past I always look forward to a few restaurants or bars that were "discovered" on previous trips. And it was the same for this most recent trip to the Phoenix area for my annual spring training trip.
One place I was really looking forward to experiencing was the J Bar in the James Hotel. Last year we had made a quick stop in the J Bar as it was one on a list of places that we wanted to check out. As we looked back over that evening we wished we had just stayed at J Bar. The food was amazing and the drinks creative, plus it had a very cool vibe with James Bond movies silently playing on big screens and lots of pretty people meeting and greeting.
So this year we anxiously made our way to the James Hotel but as we approached we could see that things had changed. There was no J Bar sign where we expected to see one, the colors and outdoor furniture was different, and as we rounded the corner to enter through the main doors we found that the hotel is now the Mondrian and all of the restaurants have changed.
Mondrians are nice, though, so we made our way to the bar on the main floor. It was sleek and beautiful but they do not serve food. So instead we chose to enter the restaurant, Asia de Cuba, a chain of restaurants that can be found on the East and West coasts as well as in London.
We each ordered a cocktail -which were expertly prepared – and a couple of appetizers. Everything was wonderful: the Beef Dumplings Two Ways provided nice contrasting textures and flavors using one simple center ingredient; the Asian Spiced Spareribs were succulent, tender and a little spicy.
Everything was really great – except the tab. Not that we were unprepared, we had read the menu, but our bill for two drinks and two appetizers was $70, before tip. Although everything was really good that cost is just out of line. There are plenty of other great places where $70 will buy me a whole lot more and I’d rather take my business there.
Asia de Cuba
7353 East Indian School Road
480 308 1131