After dining at enough eateries in my life that have rude waiters and sub-par cuisine, I was wary to spend an evening at a restaurant featuring the word “Arrogant” in its name. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Arrogant Butcher dishes out just the right amount of attitude.
The newest of Sam Fox’s creations, The Arrogant Butcher is located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix at CityScape. It’s a hybrid of a neighborhood eatery and an upscale fine-dining venue. A chalkboard runs alongside one of the restaurant’s walls, including a running “Straw Poll” for who will be Phoenix’s next mayor. Combined with a full bar in the middle of the room and a television broadcasting sporting events, it makes the restaurant feel homey and perfect for co-workers looking for a place to spend happy hour.
In contrast, the dim lighting and quiet booths in another section of the restaurant, as well as private dining rooms toward the back encased in slightly transparent curtains, set an intimate atmosphere for those wishing to conduct an important business meeting. The restaurant also features a hard-to-miss open kitchen and a wait staff dressed in business casual, never forgetting to ooze the over-the-top confidence that is its namesake.
Refreshingly, despite its name, The Arrogant Butcher’s wait staff is comprised of friendly servers who checked the table my dinner companions and I shared often and seemed genuinely concerned with whether we were satisfied with our meal. My dinner companions and I kicked off our meal with salumi and prosciutto appetizers served with house-made mustard and crusty bread, as well as a plate of marinated olives, grilled asparagus, roasted almonds and crescenza cheese. I ate a good portion of the salumi and prosciutto, intrigued by how well the zesty mustard and flavorful bread complemented both types of meats. Both the creamy crescenza cheese and juicy grilled asparagus were table favorites.
Before ordering our main courses, our table ordered two salads: one prepared with green apples, beets, arugula, pistachio and gorgonzola vinaigrette and one served with avocado, corn, white asparagus and crab cakes. Both salads met our high expectations. The apple and beet salad satisfied with its variety of flavors, and the savory crab cakes in the other salad were the ideal combination of soft, flaky bread and a warm, crab filling.
Despite how tasty our appetizers and salads were, the real treat came when our main courses were served. I ordered the crab-stuffed chicken served with spinach, caper berry and lemons. The blend of seafood flavoring and chicken crunch made for a very unique and enjoyable dish. My dinner companions ordered the bone-in dry aged ribeye, served with roasted mushrooms and shallots; the sweet potato tortelli, served with mushrooms, brussels and hazelnuts; and the special of the day, fried chicken and honey biscuits.
The ribeye was one of the best I’ve tried, very tender and flavorful. In fact, I normally eat mine with steak sauce, but the flavor on this one was so fine that none was needed. The table seemed to come to a consensus, though, that the two best dishes were the tortelli and the fried chicken. Now, I have never been a big fan of sweet potatoes, but the tortellis were divine. The subtly sweet and soft inside, served with nuts and mushrooms, was a refreshing change from the typical meat-filled tortelli to which I am accustomed. The fried chicken didn’t want for surprises, either. With the first bite I was hooked. It was prepared in an interesting way with honey-infused skin, making it a slightly sweeter version of the American classic.
Following our main dishes, our table ordered the blueberry cheesecake and warm peanut butter cup desserts, per recommendation of the wait staff. As an avid dessert-eater with a keen sweet tooth, I was impressed. The creamy cheesecake was served in a medium-sized cup with a sweet graham cracker and tart blueberry topping. The peanut butter cup, though, was my personal favorite. The dish consisted of a scoop of chocolate gelato bathed in a warm peanut butter sauce and served with two chocolate peanut butter cookies. It was like having a Reese’s peanut butter cup in melted form.
I would recommend this restaurant to professionals looking for a comfortable restaurant to conduct business, as well as to those visiting the US Airways Center or Chase Field who are looking for a nice place to take friends or loved ones before or after a downtown event.