The 5 Best Restaurants of the Year (So Far) in Greater Phoenix
What do the stars of this year's Valley dining scene look like so far? Like many across the country still adapting to the effects of the recession (so long, fine dining) and reacting to a culture more informed about food than ever (11 seasons of Top Chef and counting), they're cooking street snacks with culinary flair, re-imagining comfort food, and putting bold spins on dishes from around the globe -- and they're doing it with top-notch ingredients and lots of local love.
Jackie Mercandetti, Laura Hahnefeld Deliciousness from five of the best restaurants in Phoenix -- so far.
In no particular order, here are five of my favorite Valley restaurants so far. And with just four more months left in 2013, I'm glad I won't have to wait long to see what the rest of the year will put on my plate. Enjoy.
Carefree's Cafe Bink may be more French-inspired, and Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek may draw a more affluent clientele, but Bink's Midtown, the newest restaurant from James Beard Award finalist Kevin Binkley, is the hands-down headquarters of the three for reimagined local produce in Phoenix. And like any hub where vegetables and fruits meet the future, Binkley's food is a mix of science and seasons -- perhaps chunks of melons lit up with pepitas, chile piquin, ricotta salatta, and sangria granité; roasted cauliflower accompanied by almonds, dried currants, and curry foam; or zesty butternut squash bread, celery, and sliced strawberries interspersed with dollops of foie gras mousse. The innovate fruit-focused desserts, like layered push-up pops and a sorbet "soup" frozen with liquid nitrogen, are some of the best in town. And although there's never been a better time to eat our vegetables, it's still good to know that on Saturdays, the kitchen puts on an all-you-can-eat gourmet pig roast of epic proportions.