Every once in awhile I get invited to discover a new Valley restaurant. Last week I was given the chance to test drive the menu for Drexyl Modern American the new restaurant that now lives at Scottsdale and Doubletree Ranch Roads in The Shops at Gainey Village. Executive Chef Robert Eckhardt, who hails from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, has developed a beautiful and thoughtful menu. In Arizona, he was previously at Tonto Verde, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, Desert Mountain Club and Las Sendas Golf Club. He’s already got some serious culinary street cred. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t live any closer to Drexyl, or I would be there every night checking out anything and everything that Eckhardt and his crew were dishing.
The starters brought to the table kicked off with a chef’s board, beautifully arranged with havarti cheese, soppressata salami, herb crusted goat cheese, pickled vegetables, calabrese sausage, gorgonzola, fig jam and toasted bread. It was the perfect representation of what as to come and the combination of flavors and textures was a wonderfulprelude to the rest of the meal.Other starter dishes that came out included chicken arancini with fire roasted chicken, crispy fried risotto, tomato jam, cilantro cream and candied jalapeno. What a taste sensation! Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed the ahi tuna taco trio which came in two shell versions – one with a jicama shell and one with a crispy wonton shell. I personally loved the jicama shell and thought the crispy shell tasted great, but something about the nature of the crisp wonton distracted me from the fresher ingredients tucked inside.
Salads brought to our table included a fresh caprese salad, which was fresh and flavorful. A very cool (or warm surprise) was the seared salmon salad which was a sustainable salmon glazed with blood orange puree, set atop a bed of baby lettuces and roasted tomatoes with warm bacon vinaigrette. All of that was on top of a bed of warm, red bliss potatoes, and that was truly unexpected for a salad! It worked beautifully and this is the salad I would most recommend for its out-of-the-salad-field thinking. Bravo, Eckhardt!
The entrees came out en masse on one beautiful festive platter to be shared per table and it was a feast to behold! Individually-sized entrees included jade pesto halibut with cilantro pesto, forbidden black rice, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok-choy and coconut curry. Honestly, how do they come up with such fantastical recipes and taste combinations? It is Eckhardt’s secret, so you’ll just need to come discover it for yourself at Drexyl Modern American.
We also noshed on Pacific coast sole with hand-squeezed lemonade pan sauce, fried capers, whipped potatoes and veggies. All those at our table also raved about the roasted street corn. Equal parts sweet and savory; I could have eaten a pound of this, except I knew there was dessert and had to save some room in my tummy… I was quickly running out of space.
Then there was the pork chop. To call it a pork chop is probably a disservice because I think Eckhardt and company actually created some new meat with this offering. This is unlike any pork I have ever tasted. The chop was house smoked, double cut and served with grilled apple butter, truffle goat cheese orecchiette pasta (your kids or the kid in you will LOVE this!) candied bacon and seared Brussels sprouts. Be prepared, this is one pork chop that is definitely big enough to share. Okay, I’m not going to call this a pork chop. I will just christen thee a “Drexyl chop.” Can Eckhardt patent this? He should.
I was stuffed to the gills, thanks to that “Drexyl chop,” but dessert arrived and I had to partake. Local vanilla, chocolate and coconut gelatos, along with strawberry sorbet were served on individual waffle cones. They were not as heavy as I was expecting, but were light and refreshing instead. This would be a fantastic dessert choice for spring and summer. Next up was the bread pudding, a simply sinful combination of milk chocolate, roasted banana (although it tasted more like plantain to me), candied pecans and maple whiskey butter sauce. Seriously, how do they come up with these recipes? It was sticky, ooey, gooey, with a little bit of crunch… everything that a bread pudding should be. Wowzers.
Finally, although most of the media members in attendance were ready to roll out the door, along came a salted caramel brownie. I’m all about salted caramel, so I simply had to find that last square millimeter in my stomach and fill it with this last bit of chocolate-y heavenly bliss. It included a “barely-set” fudge brownie, vanilla gelato with a bourbon pretzel crumble and cider salted crumble.
It’s Drexyl Modern American and it’s amazing, it’s tasty, it’s a culinary journey and more. Go. Now.
Drexyl Modern American is located at 8877 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale. But it may as well be located in heaven, because that’s what it tastes like. Visit www.drexylusa.com or call (480) 840-1861 for additional information.
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