New Fall Dishes at The Parlor
Although I don't get to The Parlor Pizzeria as often as I would like, it's a spot I always love to visit (see my 2010 feature in AZ Wine Lifestyle magazine here). The kitchen is currently helmed by Executive Chef Miguel Yeo, and he and his culinary team have introduced over a dozen new dishes to welcome fall. Bar Manager Bryan McCarrick also embraces a seasonal philosophy and has created seven new cocktails, some using fresh herbs plucked from the onsite garden.
On a beautiful November afternoon, I welcomed the opportunity to explore some of the new dishes and libations.
Although I love the interior with its cozy retro details and nods to the restaurant's origins as a mid-century beauty parlor (note the stools facing the open kitchen), the pretty patio beckoned us to enjoy an al fresco lunch.
As we settled in and perused the cocktail menu, I knew I had to order the Pineapple Express. Made with Plantation Pineapple Rum Stiggins’ Fancy (a personal favorite using both pineapple rind and flesh steeped in two types of rum), fresh lime juice, and some of the fragrant Thai basil I spied in the garden, it was a perfect refreshing sipper for a leisurely lunch. My husband, a fan of the classics, was just as happy with his Parlor Old Fashioned. This cocktail changes weekly and on this November day it was accented with apple, while we were told a blackberry Old Fashioned would be planned for the following week.
I started with one of the new dishes from the Antipasti menu, Cozze, and I can see this fast becoming a best-seller. Plump, tender mussels arrived in a smoky tomato broth spiked with pimentón and Spanish chorizo and topped with a rowdy tangle of fresh fennel and tarragon. Slices of grilled Noble bread assured that every drop of the wonderful broth wouldn't be wasted.
The Parlor is known for its wood-fired pizzas and new to the menu is Autunnale. Order this pie and you'll feast on a pizza layered with a creative combination of sweet potatoes, prosciutto, caramelized onion, ricotta and fig jam, garnished with sliced almonds and arugula.
Handmade pastas are another Parlor signature and the Beet Agnolotti was my favorite dish of the day. Silky packets of rosy-red pasta made with beets were stuffed with Swiss chard and roasted parsnips. Nestled in a pool of carrot top pesto, they were drizzled with a sweet-tart fig vinaigrette and showered with beet microgreens. Yes please.
Inspired by paella was the Risotto di Mare. This vibrant dish plated creamy saffron-scented carnaroli rice, shrimp, and mussels with the classic Spanish ingredients of chorizo, piquillo peppers, and zesty salsa verde for a colorful and harmonious blend of flavors.
Too full for dessert, but we did leave some room to enjoy after-lunch beverages and a chat with Bar Manager Bryan. As I sipped my new favorite cocktail at The Parlor, Give My Love to Rose with smoky mezcal complemented by Meletti amaro, sweet vermouth, and a floral grace of rose water, I learned about Bryan's love for both food and cocktails.
Previously at North and Postino Central, he has been at The Parlor for three and a half years. "We're into craft cocktails, but not so craft that they take 20 minutes to make," he emphasized. "We try to find that balance." Bryan also introduced me to a cocktail he was developing at the time of our visit that has since been added to the menu. Be sure to try his Lost Letter. "It's made with equal parts Aperol, armagnac, rye, and Madeira, and garnished with grapes to signify the armagnac and Madeira," Bryan described. "We want to use ingredients that are approachable, but then also get people out of their comfort zone." It's warming and spirit-forward - my kind of fall cocktail.
Visit The Parlor Pizzeria for lunch, dinner, or Happy Hour (3-6 pm). The Parlor is located at 1916 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016 and is open seven days a week.
I received a complimentary media invitation to try the new menu.