The Second Story Liquor Bar Opens Tonight in Scottsdale: Classic Drinks, Well-Composed Food

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Lauren Saria
`Niman Ranch Bone-In Lambchops
Last night we got a taste of the latest venture from Tommy Plato, who owns the four-store mini-chain of Gelato Spots in the Valley. Above the Old Town Scottsdale location of Gelato Spot, Plato's built an intimate restaurant with a cool retro vibe. Plato describes this new spot as "Mad Men-inspired" and story-driven, which means you can expect an impressive lineup of classic cocktails that compliment (if not outshine) the menu of well-composed food.

Called the Second Story Liquor Bar the restaurant and cocktail lounge stars the talents of chef Josh Bracher and "Whiskey Man" John Christie, whom you might already know from his time at the now-closed Old Town Whiskey at The Saguaro Hotel.

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Lauren Saria
Scallops Carbonara
See also: The New Pink Pony in Scottsdale: Playful Food That's Worth a Try

Bracher's menu features 11 appetizers and just nine entrees that range in price from a $15 Vegan en Papillote to $29 Scallops Carbonara. "New American" might be the best way to sum it all up, with appetizers including soft shell crab with sweet chili coconut curry next to Italian-inspiried dishes such as the "Inside Out Caprese" salad. From our sample of dishes we found the menu easy to enjoy with plenty of mass appeal -- though in some cases it did feel overly complicated and perhaps in need of a little more editing.

We tried the Asian Chopped Salad, a dish loaded with different ingredients including butter lettuce, wasabi peas, forbidden rice, tomato, Lotus chips, and a honey ginger dressing. We also tasted the Niman Ranch Bone-In Lamb Chops ($27), which come atop a bed of orange basil gnocchi, mushrooms, and goat cheese.

The standout dish that we tried had to be the Duck Breast Roulade ($24). Wrapped in perfectly smoky-sweet bacon and stuff with caramelized onions and golden raisins, the dish showcased tender duck over a creamy parsnip puree and an orange gastrique.

The Scallops Carbonara were a close second favorite -- the tender scallops were fresh and flavorful, complemented well by English peas, mushrooms, and fennel. It's one of two dishes that feature the restaurant's housemade gnocchi, in this case black pepper and Peruvian potato varieties. The flavors in both (especially the black pepper) were on point, though the texture just missed that ideal pillowy-ness wanted from ideal gnocchi.

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Lauren Saria
Duck Bread Roulade


Location Info

Second Story Liquor Bar

4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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