Elements of Taste
elements at the Sanctuary delights guests with its fresh, local ingredients
By Noelle Coyle
Set scene: A wood-paneled ceiling, hues of gray, black
and white, and wall-to-wall windows
offering views of Mummy Mountain, Piestewa Peak and the praying monk at Camelback Mountain. Asian accents can be found throughout — each table is adorned with a bamboo arrangement and a little Yin and Yang dish containing salt and pepper; paper lanterns hang overhead; and modern Japanese screens separate the dining area from wait staff. It’s just enough to get the point across without being overwhelming. This is the just the beginning of what guests will experience at elements, a restaurant concept at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.
I must admit, our party was looking forward to the evening. As would anyone familiar with the background of Executive Chef Beau MacMillan. The Massachusetts native has an impressive background in the culinary industry, and in recent years he has put elements in the national spotlight with appearances on NBC’s “Today” and The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” In fact, MacMillan battled against Iron Chef Bobby Flay to see who had the best American Kobe beef, and MacMillan came out on top with his critically acclaimed short ribs.
For our salads, we chose contrasting flavors — the organic spinach and frisee salad, served with Mandarin oranges, beets and pistachios for a sweet indulgence, and the more tangy farmer’s market, served with cucumber, carrots, daikon radish and soy vinaigrette.
While the entree menu (which changes seasonally) is a diverse selection of enticing meals, once I discovered they were serving MacMillan’s braised beef short ribs, I looked no further. I was curious to find out how award-winning short ribs would taste, and I was not disappointed. They were juicy and tender, so tender that the knife by my plate wasn’t necessary. Served with skillet roasted vegetables and grits (one of my all-time favorite foods), they were the crowd favorite at our table. The other winner of the evening was the bacon-wrapped filet of beef, served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, balsamic onions, mushrooms and blue cheese.
My favorite part of any meal, the dessert, was just as satisfying. If you order the chocolate peanut butter decadence, it’s best to share it with someone, due to its overwhelmingly rich ingredients. On the other hand, if you like having the dessert all to yourself, try the passion fruit cheesecake. Served with fresh strawberries, mango and a strawberry sorbet, its light textures and sweet flavor are the perfect way to end the evening.