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She Said: Adding Mowry & Cotton to favorite Phoenix-area restaurants

(Mowry & Cotton Photo)

Expect the unexpected: That’s what I keep saying after my visit to Mowry & Cotton located inside The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale.

Chef Tandy Peterson has created a menu full of dishes that reveal flavors one bite at a time and take you on an exciting culinary ride.

As you make your way through the upscale Phoenician lobby and down the stairs to Mowry & Cotton, you instantly see and feel a shift in the atmosphere, as a welcoming and more casual environment awaits.

Patrons are in a mix of cocktail and casual attire, thanks to the mix of hotel guests and locals. The décor is inviting with that country-chic vibe, making the restaurant approachable and relaxed.

This is exactly the kind of spot us locals have been waiting for when we staycation the Phoenician.

As you look over the menu, you might be surprised at the variety of items. But I found, as the courses arrived there seemed to be one underlying theme: earthy and rustic. Each ingredient is paired with complimenting and sometimes surprising ingredients to enhance their natural flavor.

A must is the buttermilk buns. These delicious buns are straight from heaven — Executive Sous Chef Rebecca Tillman’s family recipe that has been handed down for generations — and are accompanied with mouthwatering citrus sea salt butter and duck fat fig butter that will have you scooping and spreading until it is all gone.

Next, we experienced the kale and butternut salad. This is one of the best kale salads I have ever eaten — smoked blueberry, marcona almond, Rogue River blue.

Literally, I want to eat this salad every day.

When the grilled black cod arrived, it was stunning: Bright flowers sprinkled onto a charred meaty piece of cod and paired with parsnip, spinach and drizzled in wildflower honey, cashews and finger lime.

The hint of honey and the sprinkle of cashews took this to another level. Each bite unfolded into a flavorful dance in my mouth.

The charred hanger steak with chanterelle mushroom, pickled blueberry topped with sunflower pesto arrived and was plated beautifully. I was getting extremely full at this point but needed to see if it was as good as it looked.

It was phenomenal. The hanger steak, which can be a tougher cut of meat, was tender and the juicy. The mushrooms gave a wonderful earthy balance as the surprising pickled blueberries added just the right amount of sweet and tangy.

It was such a surprising — but marvelous — combination.

For dessert, the apple crumble — traditional crumble with chunks of apple accompanied by molasses ice cream in the shape of a small golden apple that is both delightful and a delectable — was the perfect sweet ending to the meal.

Other must try items:

  • Oven-fired cauliflower with citrus, calabrian chile and pinenuts
  • Roasted squash with watercress, pickled onion, garlic and whipped feta.
  • Bison carpaccio with turnip, radicchio, grapes and fruit crostini.

This has been added to my list of favorite restaurants in the Valley, which I rarely say.

I did my best to describe the exciting creative culinary experience that is happening at Mowry & Cotton, but sometimes words fall short. You must just go and try for yourself and I won’t be shocked if you add it to your favorites as well!

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