Friends and I kicked off Arizona Restaurant Week Saturday night in the best way – with a fantastic dinner at Crudo. For RW, this hidden gem (tucked away behind a strip mall in Arcadia) is featuring many of their signature dishes, along with three optional supplements. The first and second course consist of four options each, with the third ending on a sweet note with a choice of Tracy Dempsey desserts ($30 pp, each additional course $10).
With four in our party, we didn’t have to miss out, and sampled it all.
First Course, “Crudo or Mozza”: Crudo means “raw” in Italian and our two choices of pristine seafood were rosy slices of raw albacore tuna dotted with earthy black garlic, slivers of tangy green apple and a light drizzle of truffle oil or silky butterfish strewn with slices of slow-roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula and nuggets of salty-crispy lardo.
Cheese lovers will have a hard time deciding between the other two first-course options – creamy homemade ricotta with eggplant caponata and basil or fresh mozzarella with caramelized onions and addictive smoky-sweet bacon relish.
Second Course, “Cotto or Griglia” (cooked or grilled): Moving on to the heartier courses, we feasted on a mushroom and potato gratin topped with melted mozzarella and a softly-cooked egg, briny squid ink risotto with chili and tuna confit, rich pork belly with smoked tomato agrodolce on polenta, and grilled and braised short rib over olive oil-mashed potatoes garnished with freshly shaved horseradish.
We couldn’t say no to the three supplemental specials and they also didn’t disappoint: Flavorful veal sugo over polenta ($14), crispy arancini with squash ($10), and escargot “Roman style” ($12) served in a light tomato sauce over a thick slice of grilled bread.
Third course, “Dolce”. With just enough room for dessert, we finished up with Tracy’s decadent flourless chocolate cake enrobed in chocolate ganache and an airy sweet corn panna cotta with juicy berries.
For a RW week menu done right, Crudo wins. Wine specials ($7 a glass, $20 a bottle) and cocktails ($8, such as the classic Italian Negroni) are a nice added RW touch. Can’t make it for Restaurant Week? No worries. Crudo offers a reasonably priced tasting menu option as part of the regular menu (3 courses $35, 4 for $45, or 5 for $55).
Christina Barrueta is an avid Chowhound, passionate about food, wine and spirits. A transplant from Boston, she loves finding new locations to whet her appetite. You may follow her as Rubee on Chowhound.com or @Rubee100 on Twitter.