black chile - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Spicy And Sweet – Black Chile Mexican Grill

Black Chile Mexican Grill at Biltmore Fashion Park provides an upscale environment to wind down.

It’s 5:30 p.m. mid-week, and the Biltmore Fashion Park has proven to be more than merely a place to turn off Camelback Rd. to wait out the post-work, rush-hour traffic. Business-suit-donned professionals aplenty are heading straight to Black Chile Mexican Grill to relax al fresco on the restaurant’s patio while indulging in both the happy hour specials (with a Black Chile Margarita in hand) and owners Michael McDermott and Jason Merritt’s upscale, Mexican cuisine.

Black Chile began in McDermott’s kitchen over a four-month period, as creations now found on the menu were developed. McDermott’s most memorable dish?

“The skewers were one of those dishes we couldn’t stop picking at in the kitchen,” McDermott recalls. “I kept going back for more.”

Upon hearing this, my dinner party and I agreed we must try the carne asada skewers as one of our appetizers. We also followed suit with the rest of the dinner patrons that night who opted for either the high tops in the bar or the patio seating, which was already nearly full by 6 p.m. Not to mention it was a comfortable 75 to 80 degrees that night; with gorgeous, rare weather like that, how do you pass that up?

But back to the food. The appetizers that arrived to our table, all recommended by McDermott, included the aforementioned skewers as well as the Cotija grilled corn, the fresh guacamole and the avocado egg rolls.

Upon first bite of the skewers, we all agreed McDermott’s anecdote was far from exaggerated. The marinated carne asada was so juicy and tender, we only wished we had the same opportunity to have seconds, and thirds, and fourths … but maybe that was just me. Thankfully the corn took our minds off the longing for a moment as the sweetness of the corn was perfectly subdued by the aioli, cayenne pepper and hints of lime as well as the abundant, thick layer of Cotija cheese caked atop.

Post-appetizers, we were treated with six dishes, including the fish tacos with sweet cabbage slaw and chipotle mayonnaise, which seemed a bit too overwhelming for me, although everyone else enjoyed it; the shrimp diablo, a rightfully named, hot-and-spicy combination of chipotle cheese sauce, chiles, onions and garlic; and the baked salmon filet rubbed with chipotle sauce. (Notice a common ingredient yet?)

The final two entrees, however, were the favorites of the table.

First up, the meatloaf — a unique combination of ground beef, chorizo, sausage and sauteed onions, topped off with Oaxaca cream sauce.

The finale of our entrees were the enchiladas with shredded chicken, roasted poblano cream sauce and two types of cheeses — Asadero and Manchego. McDermott mentioned during the night that this was Black Chile’s No. 1 seller; and we definitely believed it. The entree was mild, flavorful, and as one of my dinner mates put it, “If you don’t like spice, you’ll love this dish” — but in a positive way, considering the rest of the entrees we tried that night were more on the spicy side.

Combine the meals with Black Chile’s attentive service, clean representation and comfortable environment, and you’ve got yourself a winner. We weren’t the only patrons who felt this way, though; Black Chile was voted best patio dining, best upscale Mexican restaurant and best margarita (the Black Chile Margarita) by the 2011 Best of Phoenix.

Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself, and end the night as we did with the churros, which were so light and soft, and the rich chocolate and whipped cream sauces we dipped them in could almost rival the sweetness of the corn found in the sticky rice side.

Never before Black Chile Mexican Grill has Mexican food ever tasted so spicy-sweet.

For more information on Black Chile Mexican Grill, visit Black Chile Mexican Grill’s website at

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012