Not only was our trip to J Bar not what we expected but our night at Furio was a bit disappointing, too. The food is still great, the staff pretty friendly but the clientèle is just not quite right. Nice people, I’m sure, just not bringing the feeling that I hope to find in the place – at least that was the case on this most recent visit.
So we found ourselves at loose ends, not having had enough for dinner yet not quite sure where we wanted to go. I’d seen a place on my morning walks called WildFish. Now it was in Fashion Square Mall which normally would not be my first choice of locations for a dinner but when we drove by we noticed that it was very busy – usually a good sign.
So we made our way (through pouring rain) into the restaurant and found that it was indeed very popular! There was a 90+ minute wait for a table and even the bar was jam-packed. We put our name on the list and starting cruising the large circular bar, looking for a place to squeeze in.
We found a little stand-up spot near one of the server stations. In no time the bartender was serving us and making us feel right at home. Standing wasn’t really an issue except that we wanted to eat; but the bartender was taking care of us! He told us that the next two open seats at the bar would be ours. We ordered drinks and kept our eagle eyes open especially focusing on two women across from us who had closed out their tab. And then they sat and chatted. And chatted.
We decided to order half a dozen oysters before Happy Hour ended. They were served with horseradish, cocktail sauce and a mignonette – all very good! And the horseradish was so fresh it nearly made me cry! And that’s a good thing!
In the meantime we struck up a conversation with three crazy Canucks sitting next to us. One offered a chair and then the bartender secured another for us from a nearby table. We were set! We ordered a few bites to try – some at the recommendation of our Canadian friends who were quasi-regulars.
We started with a blast-from-the-past, a wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing. It was served with marinated tomatoes on the side. The combination of the fresh, clean lettuce, the tangy blue cheese dressing and the vinegary tomatoes was heaven! There are good reasons much of the food that was popular in the 50s deserves to be included in today’s menus!
We followed our salad with Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp, a deep-fried, with Ginger, Scallions, Red Chiles and Sugar Snap Peas – it was very good. We also ordered a side of Truffled Macaroni & Cheese "Gratinata". Apparently we weren’t worried about anything like fat or cholesterol this night! It was yummy – rich and creamy; smooth and satisfying.
Desserts are not something we normally order – by the time we’ve tried the savory there’s generally not much room for the sweet! M had a hankering though and I knew a bite or two would be fine with me! So we ordered Hot Chocolate Godiva Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. We’d been warned that this dessert took 20 minutes or so but we just chatted with our new friends and patiently waited. I only had a couple of bites but I can tell you the dessert was well worth the wait!
We liked this place so well that we actually stopped in the next night for a little nightcap. Again the place was packed but the bartender remembered us and in a flash the manager was hauling chairs over to the bar for us. You gotta love a place that treats you that well!
If I lived in Scottsdale I’m sure I’d be in here on a regular basis. We will at least try it next year but after this year’s experiences of trying to return to places we like who knows what we’ll find. One can always hope, though.
WildFish Seafood Grille
7135 E. Camelback Road