Michael O'Dowd of Urban Vine: "I'm Trying to Be Normal, But It's Hard."
Lauren Saria Michael O'Dowd
If you've experienced chef Michael O'Dowd's food already it was probably in one of two different contexts. Either you dined at Kai, when the chef was heading up Arizona's only Forbes five star and AAA five diamond restaurant, or you dined at Renegade by MOD, the short-lived restaurant that closed last year.
Now he's a opened new restaurant, Urban Vine -- and it's not like what he's done in the past.
But that's not a bad thing. The restaurant, located in a historic home in the Coronado neighborhood that used to house the Coronado Café, is a blank slate for the chef and he's already putting his own stamp on the space. O'Dowd spent about a month gutting the building and refinishing it. He moved the bar, replaced nearly everything in the kitchen, and painted just about everything. He even brought artwork from his own home to put up on the walls.
Lauren Saria The new bar at Urban VIne.
For O'Dowd the 80-seat space means the opportunity to interact with his customers in a way he never could before. Come in and you might see him seating diners, running food, or, of course, working in the small but functional kitchen
"It's really like we're at home for me," he says.
The menu is concise but unique. There is a handful of set dishes that are available all day, but the real action happens in the evening when the chef serves up his Chef's Special menus. It changes daily, but dishes are divided into three categories (land, air, and sea) with two or three dishes in each.