On the summit of Phoenix’s North Mountain sits a restaurant that serves up culinary experience that rivals the dining room’s breathtaking view.
Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort’s Different Pointe of View restaurant (11111 N. 7th St.) sits on the edge of the cliff, where an open-air patio looks out over the Valley of the Sun. It was just
moments before “The Golden Hour,” when shadows play into the creases of the mountains, the sky turns to rich hues of yellows and purples and neighborhoods slowly become iridescent in the distance as the sun sets.
This is the kind of place for special occasions and trying new things — be it something off the restaurant’s 16-page wine menu or one of Chef Anthony DeMuro’s new summer menu items (many of which are being offered as part of a prix-fixe $39.95 special.)
DeMuro is the kind of chef where if he offers to do the ordering for you, take it. He began with a kicky amuse-bouche: seared ahi tuna with peppery cabbage and wasabi aioli. If first impressions are everything, this plate meant we were in for a night of creative combinations with a little kick of modernism.
The dish was followed by a basket of three breads and spreads: a delicious olive oil and goat cheese dip, subtle pomegranate butter and savory tomato basil sauce.
DeMuro’s signature is an artistic stroke of flavor, swiped across the plate to underline the appetizer or entrée.
The first entree of the night was pork belly with an asparagus puree and polenta. The pork belly, while it doesn’t sound like the finest dining option on paper, was some of the juiciest, most tender meat of the night. The pork, delicately punched up with a smoky sweet sauce, really spoke for itself, but its plate-mates, a cheesy polenta cake, a sweet endive and baby asparagus served over a drizzle of asparagus puree, were perfect companions.
Next up was a refreshing chopped salad. While the art of a salad lies in the surprising pops of flavor made by forkfuls of its ingredients ― this salad was really about the decadent lemon vinaigrette that tied them all together.
At the suggestion of Luis, our waiter and extremely entertaining wine enthusiast, we cleansed our palates before the fish entrée with a Treana white wine. This made way for a three-story tower of lobster (a lobster tail beneath a spicy lobster ravioli topped by a sweet and delicious lobster knuckle) over a cauliflower and saffron puree and two crisp broccolini.
Once again, we cleansed our palates with a tiny scoop of lemon sorbet before taking on the hangar steak. With this, Luis suggested a smoky white Albarino wine that smelled just as lovely as it tasted. The hangar steak was served cross-sectioned over a bed of English pea risotto with a Chipalini onion redux and mandarin oil to boot. The steak, known for being the cut of a cow that butchers like to keep for themselves, was so tender. Its bark was flavorful and a great, smoky match for the bite of the pasta beneath.
We were then poured a thick, raisin-esque wine ― a Pedro Ximenez ’85 ― that could have been a dessert in and of itself. Much like fernet, but with more of a prune than black licorice taste, the Ximenez is said to aid digestion. It certainly prepared our taste buds for one last adventure into an even more decadent point of view (this time, of pastry Chef Lara Coleman) ― a Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée topped with fresh berries and served with a lemon cookie. While that dish was gloriously smooth and the perfect way to end a night ― the real finale was the chocolate cheesecake topped by peanut butter ice cream paired with chocolate caramel corn and strings of fudge.
Chef DeMuro’s summer prix-fixe meal includes a choice of three courses (appetizer, entree and dessert) from selected items on the summer menu for $39.95. The real “insider view” kicks off in September, DeMuro says. For these dinner experiences, 15 guests can watch the chef prepare a five-course meal with the view of the Valley behind him. Make reservations here.