The Gladly, Sadly, a Hit-or-Miss First Taste

Categories: First Taste

Photos by Laura Hahnefeld
Paprika Cured Pork Belly
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: The Gladly
Location: 2201 East Camelback Road
Open: Over three weeks.
Eats: New American
Price: $30 to $60 per person

The Gladly, opened over three weeks ago at 2201 East Camelback Road (formerly Ruth's Chris Steak House) in the Biltmore neighborhood, has a lot to live up to.

Its owners, chef Bernie Kantak, Andrew Fritz, and mixologist Richie Moe are the trio behind Scottsdale's Citizen Public House, which, soon after opening in 2011, became noted for its inventive cocktails, kicked-up versions of familiar American foods, and outstanding desserts (courtesy of Tracy Dempsey Originals).

So it stands to reason that expectations for The Gladly are high -- that it will be a kind of Citizen Public House 2.0.

For now, it isn't. At least not entirely.

See also: Henry's Taiwan - Taiwanese Cuisine in Tempe by Way of Seattle

Octopus Salad
You could start and stop with a Richie Moe cocktail. The mixologist remains on his game here, serving up intriguing concoctions like a Negroni on draft, a Thai Margarita, and the Salute, a lovely gin-based cocktail with notes of floral and citrus and a Prosecco float.

On the food side, The Gladly's menu reads a lot like Citizen Public House's: an eclectic mix of familiar American foods with a twist, many with inspirations from around the globe. Some dishes are more straightforward than others. And if, like mine, your server recommends them over the restaurant's more intricate plates, it's probably because, for now, they are the most successful.

The Pigstrami
Consider the Pigstrami ($14).

Featuring pecan wood-smoked pork butt, Swiss cheese, Brussels sprout sauerkraut, and Dijon mustard on rye, this lively, pig-centric sandwich is enough to make you wish Kantak would just open up a sandwich shop already. Get it with a side of very good fries with housemade ketchup or spring for an excellent bowl of Bernie's Mac 'N Cheese ($10), lit up with stewed tomatoes.

Perhaps wanting to be what the pork belly pastrami starter is to Citizen Public House, The Gladly's very-little-paprika paprika-cured pork belly appetizer ($12) with beets, horseradish, and forgettable housemade Hungarian cheese doesn't quite hit the mark. It does, however, fare better than the octopus salad ($13), which, despite listed ingredients such as Szechuan peppercorn, avocado, and bitter orange, tastes mostly of fennel.

Location Info

The Gladly

2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

A lot to live up to at the Biltmore?  Like Bruegger's bagels?  We have almost nothing over here. I have been in the Biltmore area for many years and we welcome the new spot for all the promise it brings.


A lot to live up to at the Biltmore?  Like Bruegger's bagels or Potbelly by The Rack?  We have almost nothing over here. I have been in the Biltmore area for many years and we welcome the new spot for all the promise it brings.

John Maus
John Maus

Charging for valet parking is a major fail when regular parking is not obvious or convenient.

Cheryl Cole Hussey
Cheryl Cole Hussey

Very accurate review. It was fine, but that's the best I can say. Nice atmosphere and the service was perfect but the menu was just not that appealing. The food was ok. Unfortunately, there was nothing compelling to make me want to go back. That said, with the talent behind this restaurant, I am optimistic that they will take note, regroup and figure out what works.

Yvette M. Ratliff
Yvette M. Ratliff

That's what I heard. Hopefully they get the message. The menu looks amazing.

Justine Hankerson
Justine Hankerson

Very spot on review. The scallops are incredible though and the happy hour looks promising.

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