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He Said: Feeney’s in Phoenix is an instant favorite for food, atmosphere

(Facebook Photo)

Every now and then, we stumble upon a restaurant which has been hidden away down a street on which we have never driven.

Twelfth Street, just north of Bethany Home Road in Phoenix, is one of those streets and just so happens to be the home of Feeney’s Restaurant & Bar.

Feeney’s looks very small on the outside but, surprisingly, has a good amount of tables and a very old-world ambiance. Walking in, we found ourselves surrounded with lots of rooms with multiple tables, which allows a good number of guests to still feel as if they are in a private, small environment.

While big grand rooms are beautiful to see, it is this small quaintness that instantly makes you feel comfortable.

If that wasn’t enough, we were greeted immediately and treated like we had been coming there for years. Friendly is an understatement at Feeney’s and we never waited for anything.

The other patrons I swore were repeat visitors but, given the way we were treated, I might have been wrong, because from the outside I’m sure we looked like regulars given all the discussion going on between the staff and our table.

The menu is full of your favorite meats and seafood items. There is a Greek theme to show off the owner’s home country, but if you aren’t a fan of Greek food, don’t worry: The menu is clearly built for a steakhouse.

Once we got to ordering, that comfortable level of service came into play as we were given suggestions on how we should have our different meats cooked.

When we ordered, our server let us know that she wouldn’t put in the main course orders until we finished with our salad bar and appetizer. Nothing annoys me more than when a restaurant puts it all in at once and you haven’t even finished one course before the next one comes to the table. Feeney’s clearly wants you to enjoy your meal and not feel rushed.

We made our way to the all-too-classic salad bar. It even came with the old-style cold metal salad plates! I was immediately reminded of going to dinner with my parents to steakhouses and running over to the salad bar for all the pasta macaroni.

I made my salad and added all my simple salad toppings and covered it with that ranch dressing that you just can’t buy anywhere or make yourself.

I’ve tried to find the answer to my ranch quest, but each time, I’m told it’s a simple Hidden Valley ranch mix with buttermilk. I’ve tried that and it just doesn’t taste the same. At least I know now where to go when I must have my fix.

We enjoyed our salads and then the fried zucchini appetizer came to our table, nicely displayed in a wax paper cone and stand with two sides of that amazing ranch dressing for dipping. Freshly-cut zucchini with just the right amount of breading, it was a hit at the table.

Our main courses arrived and the beautiful display of lamb chops and prime rib were a sight to behold. My lamb was perfectly cooked and those Greek seasonings were prominently on display on my taste buds.

I have had some amazing lamb in countries known for the dish, such as New Zealand, but this may have been one of my favorite examples of it. Three chops were included and each contained quite a bit of meat with just the right amount of fat for flavor.

The prime rib was thick and juicy, the type that melts in your mouth with each bite better than the last. With both plates, we chose the twice-baked potato as the side item. It has been a long time since I saw a twice-baked potato on the menu and, again, it brought back memories of childhood dinners.

It’s important to note that this potato is big! My memories are always of a smaller (maybe four-inch) potato when I think of a twice-baked potato but this was a two-fist, full-size vegetable and had fully-scooped insides.

The browning on the top of the potato was probably the best browning I’ve ever seen. It was not overburdened with toppings, but just the right amount of bacon swirled in the soft center. Suffice to say, I will definitely be getting it again.

Given the size of our main entrees and the appetizer, we didn’t get a chance to try out any dessert options. However, this restaurant created such a great memory with the entire table that we immediately agreed it gets our seal of approval.

If you are thinking about visiting for lunch, keep in mind that their menu is different and focuses more on salads, burgers and sandwiches. So if you want to try the meat and seafood options, I’d stick with dinner.

The lunch menu looks amazing and I can’t wait to return and try that out as well.