Gather around the Bonfire for some wood-fired comfort food, great company and, of course, mouth-watering s’mores – but eliminate the dry, desert heat and the constant upkeep of that roaring, crackling flame.
Instead, add a roof over your head and marvel at the sight of a more than 6-feet-tall bonfire projected on one wall. Replace the ‘round-the-campfire tunes and log seating with the bump of a live DJ (if you so happen to show up on Sunday nights) and large, high-back seats, respectively. And replace the twinkling night stars with vintage, rustic-style television sets dating back decades –with modern monitors, of course – flipping through images of Arizona’s past and present.
Welcome to Bonfire Grill & Bar, recently opened establishment in Old Town Scottsdale. Bonfire occupies the building where Furio, one of Scottsdale’s beloved Italian restaurants, once thrived.
After more than a year of construction and finishing touches, Bonfire opened its doors in March, revealing and introducing Scottsdale to a new concept: a vintage, yet simultaneously modern All-American, Arizona-themed restaurant.
Here, Arizona past meets present in a classy, chic environment, embracing an earth-tone color scheme that will relax you, making you feel at home. The food is simple but boasts bold, smoky flavors and a clean presentation.
Bonfire’s menu, created by The Mission’s chef, Matt Carter, offers common household, barbeque favorites with a twist — dishes including tri tip chili, grilled corn on the cob, skewers with nearly every type of protein topped with unconventional glazes and seasonings (that work), sandwiches (with the Ranch Burger a hit among patrons), six kinds of mashed potatoes and the Vermont White Cheddar “Mac and Cheese,” another favorite.
For our appetizer, we decided to go with the House Cheddar Bisquits, starting off small to save room for dessert. But we were convinced shortly after that the Twice Baked Left Over Mashers were worth ordering, so we asked for a sample of that as well.
After what felt like a mere 10 minutes, the waitress came back with our two appetizers as well as, to our surprise, two beautifully presented deviled eggs. Initially thinking this was customary, I asked just to be sure. It was, in fact, complimentary due to the fact the appetizers “took longer than expected.”
Two words: incredible service.
The House Cheddar Bisquits were an instant hit with my dinner companion who tried them first. The bread was moist and had a sea-salt, butter taste. What really resonated with the two of us was just how soft, warm and simple the flavors were.
It was now on to the Twice Baked Left Over Mashers, pancakes of mashed potatoes with a crispy exterior. The appetizer came with three sides including cheddar fondue sprinkled with Benton bacon, house-made ranch and charred scallions. I was much more partial to the cheddar fondue and scallions, a pleasant combination of flavors I was pleased to try for the first time.
Already stuffed, we knew we had to find room for our dinner entrees. It was highly recommended by our waitress that I try the Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple skewer dish, so I went with that, with a side of butter and chives house-mashed potatoes.
I had my reservations about how bacon on pork tenderloin would taste. Overwhelming? Probably. And as for the pineapple mint glaze, I thought to myself how those flavors could possibly complement the dish. But based on how incredible the appetizers were, I knew I had to be wrong.
And I was.
The pork was so moist, it slid right off the skewer, juices pouring out once cut. The meat, pineapples and Maui onions were so perfectly marked from the grill, it was evident a lot of care and attention went into preparing and grilling the food.
The skewer had a smoky, peppery aftertaste, and the pineapple fruit and the mint glaze gave the dish the perfect amount of sweet touches to balance it out. I didn’t think I could put it away due to the amount of food we devoured up to that point, but the dish was quickly wiped clean.
My dinner companion ordered the Rosemary Smoked Pork Loin, shaved thin with hot pepper jam. The sandwich came complete with olives, provolone and roast garlic aioli. Again, the meat was tender and moist, and I increasingly appreciated the chef’s care and attention to detail. The pepper jam gave the sandwich a spicy kick.
Pushing our plates aside, we breathed deep; we knew what was coming, and we knew we had to find room to try it due to the raving reviews — the Cast Iron Toasted Marshmallow S’mores.
Before the s’mores arrived, our waitress brought out two plates and two spoons, carefully setting them down before us. It built the anticipation to the point where we were suddenly hungry once again.
The cookies, made in-house with Golden Grahams, chocolate shavings and ice cream were presented so elegantly, far from the nostalgic yet messy campfire s’mores one may be accustomed to. The marshmallows were a lightly-coated golden brown. It tasted as you’d expect a s’more to taste, just sweeter with the Golden Graham cookies the star of the ensemble.
Bonfire Grill & Bar is highly recommended for those seeking to indulge in classic dishes in a sophisticated, chic atmosphere — great for both a romantic dinner date and late night drinks.