Market Street Kitchen
I've been a fan of Market Street Kitchen (I chose to spotlight it in a 2014 issue of AZ Wine Lifestyle), but a revisit to this North Scottsdale gem has been long overdue. Well, now I have an even bigger excuse to get here more regularly. A neighborhood favorite, it's also destination-worthy, with a new combination of Garrit Gutherie mixing up superlative craft cocktails and Chef Michael Hunn working his magic in the kitchen.
We started with an exploration of MSK's "Happiest Hour" specials, offered daily from 3 to 7 pm.
The classic Deviled Eggs were elevated with a creamy filling enlived with the tangy heat of Tabasco aioli and served on grilled green onions. "One of our top sellers," Chef Hunn told us, and it's easy to see why.
Another signature dish and Happy Hour favorite is the Green Chili Pork Stew. Order this and you'll be served a cast-iron crock filled with tender chunks of braised pork shoulder nestled in a flavorful sauce of green chiles, garlic and onions, topped with a blanket of melted Monterey Jack cheese and a roasted serrano pepper, and flanked by warm flour tortillas.
Happy Hour specials also include $14 combos of a sandwich, a side, and a glass of wine or a beer, like the Wood-Fired Roast Beef Dip stacked high with prime rib cooked on Market Street Kitchen's wood-fired rotisserie, sliced to order, and layered with horseradish cream, white cheddar cheese, pickled onions and arugula.
With the craft libations Garrit is stirring and shaking, you'd be remiss not to pair your food with one of these wonderful cocktails, such as the refreshing, expertly-balanced Spaghetti Western with Altos Reposado tequila, mezcal, Aperol, orgeat, and lime garnished with fresh mint. The Falernum, Damn Near Killed 'Em combines Falernum, Hamilton 151 rum, Pamplemousse grapefruit liqueur, lime and bitters and was decorated with dried citrus wheels and an amarena cherry. One of Chef's favorite cocktails, it's now one of mine too and a perfect example of Garrit's cocktail craft with his use of Falernum, a spiced rum syrup, citrus accents, and the amber richness of Hamilton's Demerara Overproof.
And if you're looking for the The Best Daiquiri You’ve Ever Had, look no further than MSK. What made me agree with this ambitious moniker was Garrit's use of Stiggins' Fancy Plantation Pineapple rum (a personal favorite) and wood-roasted pineapple syrup with Maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
A special showcase to experience Garrit's skill is MSK's Secret Book Club Cocktail Menu. Those in the know will find creative cocktails inspired by a rotating selection of classic novels. Previous books included Catcher in the Rye, featuring rye-based cocktails. Currently, ask for a copy of Treasure Island from the bookshelf behind the bar and open it to find the secret tiki menu.
Our group of four headed to the tropics with The Hispaniola, an addictive and complex tiki drink mixing Azuñia reposado tequila with demerara rum, Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur, and apple brandy, sweetened with orgeat almond and maple syrups, and brightened wtih pineapple, lime, and passionfruit. Just as delightful and easy-sipping was the Dead Man's Chest shaking up Evan Williams single barrel bourbon, falernum, Montenegro amaro, lemon, pineapple and Angostura bitters - a bourbon-based tiki celebrating all the hallmarks of this tropical elixir.
Garrit has perfected a Mai Tai Fizz with his Pieces of Eight made with Demerara rum, Gosling's Black Seal rum, lime, lemon, chai syrup, and blackstrap bitters, and it's now at the top of my list of best tiki drinks in Arizona. If you have a chance to try this brilliantly transformed classic, you won't be disappointed.
Chef Michael Hunn, born in Hawaii, makes sure that guests can dine on perfect tiki food pairings.
Although the Slider of the Day can range from crispy battered cod to a recent Caprese with shaved prosciutto, on our visit Chef Hunn displayed his Hawaiian roots. I can't think of a better partner with tiki cocktails than his fabulous char siu pork tenderloin enhanced with rotisserie-roasted pineapple and crunchy slaw.
He also brought a taste of the islands to our table with teriyaki-glazed Piggy Wings and the Market Crudo daily special of Salmon Lomi Lomi and Tuna Poke.
The Piggy Wings are fast becoming another signature dish - slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone pork shank gilded with a sweet-salty teriyaki glaze. For a take on the traditional Hawaiian dish lomi-lomi, Chef Hunn started with sockeye salmon which he cured into velvety slices and topped with a salad of heirloom cherry tomatoes, watermelon radish, and cucumber. His poke was likewise another home run- perfect bites of fresh big eye tuna tossed with diced mango, leeks, serranos for a gentle chile kick and a shiso leaf wrap. "The cocktails are phenomenal, so we have to make sure the food is right there too," said Chef Hunn. Mission accomplished.
Chef Hunn also emphasized his deft skill with seafood in the Market Fish daily special. On our visit, we were treated to a gorgeous crispy-skinned filet of opakapaka (Hawaiian pink snapper) napped in a fragrant ginger and vanilla bean beurre blanc and accompanied by a sweet potato, sugar snap pea, and Portuguese chouriço hash.
For turf to go with surf, this visit also coincided with Whole Beast Wednesdays. Happily for us, that meant a suckling pig special from their wood-fired rotisserie, a mound of tender, juicy pork crowned with crunchy cracklings and paired with roasted patty-pan squash and green chile mac.
For dessert, we indulged in Patti's Rum Cake with crème anglaise and cajeta, and a creamy Cheesecake of the Day with raspberries and bittersweet chocolate.
And we couldn't leave without a cocktail finale, and another winner: The Black Spot melding 151 Hamilton Demerara rum, BroVo Boomerang herbal-cherry liqueur, chai syrup, and lemon finished with Bittercube Jamaican bitters.
"We're growing," said Chef Hunn, "and we're only going to get better and better." I can't wait.
Join Market Street Kitchen on Thursday, August 4th, as they kick-off Tiki Thursdays with special guest bartender Travis Nass (click here for more information and what your Hawaiian garb will get you). "You can't be in a bad mood when you're drinking a tiki drink, " Garrit tells us. "Regardless of whatever else is going on, you drink a tiki drink, your day is that much better." Wise words.
Market Street Kitchen is located at Market Street at DC Ranch, 20825 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, and is open 7 days a week. Phone: (480) 278-7044
I received a complimentary media invitation.