Oh-So-Good Organic: Calistro Offers Healthy Food That Packs A Tasty Punch

Above: Photo: Calistro Restaurants | 1 Dec, 2009 |

Although we all know organic food is good for us, sometimes it’s hard to accept this healthy alternative to our bad-for-you favorites. Well, Calistro has broken the cycle by offering healthy, organic and, best of all, great-tasting meals.

All the products in the restaurant’s fresh Mediterranean-inspired fare are sourced through local and regional organic and sustainable farms in Arizona and the Western United States. In addition, Calistro is taking its dedication to sustainability a step further by being a member of the Green Restaurant Association and doing its part in promoting green business practices to help the environment.

The restaurant’s decor is both modern and warm. An oversize wine rack sits at the center of the dining room floor, adding stylish touches to the inviting and elegant layout. The heart of the open kitchen is the wood-burning oven, and together these elements set the stage for a laid-back environment that’s perfect for a relaxed meal.

My dining companions and I began the evening with my personal favorite — hummus. Comprised of a delicate balance of lemon, cumin, tahini, tomato and sumac the hummus was served with warm, freshly baked flatbread. The dish had just the right consistency, taste and texture that I would expect from a great hummus, with the added bonus of being organic.

We rounded out our choice of appetizers with crab cakes and lamb meatballs. All the dishes we chose were tasty, but the fresh crab meat, made with panko, seasonal tomato salad and avocado mousse took the cake, so to speak, as everyone’s favorite.

Next, we sampled the salads. The calistro caprese salad, made with organic heirloom tomatoes (from Arizona farms), mozzarella (made in house), pickled shallots and topped off with an herb pesto vinaigrette made an impression on the table. But it was the Caesar salad, a mixture of romaine (organic, of course), tapenade croutons, fresh lemon and a light Caesar dressing that really had us singing its praises. The lettuce was crisp and fresh and the soy-based dressing had just enough kick.

Though we’d already had quite a few items from the menu, we were ready for the entrées. The organic meal was satisfying to our taste buds and the freshness of the products was savored in every bite. Each entrée had something to offer and gave us a glimpse into the appetizing possibilities of organic cooking.

The chicken was very well received, with sweet and crispy prosciutto enveloping the all-natural chicken breast. The chicken’s delicious balance of flavors was topped with caramelized fruit, pommes puree and Madeira jus. But it was the Doc Crosby short ribs that took the prize as the table favorite. The impossibly tender, red-wine braised ribs, complemented by pommes puree, seasonal organic vegetables and horseradish breadcrumbs, simply melted in your mouth.

Always a sucker for dessert, we rounded out the meal with dairy-free rice pudding, butterscotch crème brulee and, my personal favorite, the chocolate soufflé cake. Each dessert was heavenly and since it was organic, sampled all three guilt-free.

The cuisine at Calistro is a testament to what all food should be — fresh, healthy and tasty. The ingredients truly do “speak for themselves” and serve as the basis for Chef Devin Walsh’s belief that what tastes good can also be good for you.

If You Go:
18221 N Pima Road, Scottsdale
(480) 502-0325

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