Each season introduces a wonderful debut of dishes at one of my favorite restaurants - Artizen at The Camby Hotel. As I've previously spotlighted here and here, I'm a huge fan of Executive Chef Dushyant Singh and his globally-inspired dishes. A collaboration with his talented Chef de Cuisine Michael Winneker, the current menu is divided into Snack (small plates), Soil (vegetable dishes), Artizen Entrees, and Butcher's Block (steaks and chops), and I've had the delicious pleasure over two visits - once with the lovely ladies of Know Tribe, and more recently a hosted chef's tasting - to explore the new additions.
But while you're here, there's another new menu you need to pay attention to - Lead Bartender Justin Arellano's excellent cocktails. Justin brings to Phoenix the knowledge and experience taken from his time spent in New York City working with some of the cocktail greats, such as Sasha Petraske, founder of renowned Milk & Honey. You'll learn more about Justin in my upcoming cocktail article in the September issue of Phoenix Home and Garden, and can cheer him on when he competes in Bar Brawl at the Sanctuary Resort on July 29.
To celebrate Negroni Week, Justin created an outstanding limited-edition variation called the Nopal Negroni, made with Campari, hibiscus-infused-gin, Antica Carpano vermouth, prickly pear reduction, and a pinch of salt to heighten flavor, and garnished with dried hibiscus and orange zest.
On his list, you'll find classic and creative drinks such as those I have most recently tried - the Corpse Reviver #2, Painkiller, Bin & Gitters, and Dry Heat. If I had to pick a favorite, it might be the Skinny Dip, a finely-tuned union of mezcal, lime juice, and Punt e Mes accented with maple and pineapple.
His cocktails are the perfect precursor before diving into your meal, and with Executive Chef Singh and Chef de Cuisine Winneker in the kitchen, I predict you'll be as impressed as I am. Here is a photo recap of some of the fabulous dishes you can expect to enjoy.
A light and bright starter perfect for our hot summer months was a Crab Salad stacking sweet and delicate Dungeness crab tossed with lemon, tarragon, and chives and colorfully complemented with pepperonata, sorrel, and mint oil.
Might I suggest a surf and turf combo? The Yellowtail Crudo delivered melt-in-your-mouth slices glistening with chile oil and a tangy yuzu vinaigrette with pickled Fresno chili, ginger, yuzu gelee, garlic chips, and ice lettuce, a leafy lemony succulent, while tender Crispy Baby Back Ribs were glazed in an umami-rich BBQ sauce of French Banyuls vinegar and Chinese Hoisin sauce.
Parisian Gnocchi are made with a pâte à choux base (the dough used for eclairs and profiteroles) versus Italian potato gnocchi. This means that they are light and airy and were absolutely fantastic paired with crispy sweetbreads, corn velouté enhanced with smoked butter, and bedecked with thinly-sliced green grapes and micro cilantro.
I think more people should be talking about the superlative vegetable dishes on the menu at Artizen, which can be ordered as sides or as a course. They are guaranteed to please vegetarians and entice carnivores, and I could easily have a glass of wine and not stray from this section of the menu. Depending on what is in season, you may find options such as cauliflower with date jam and curried shallots or baby carrots with cherry-cardamom chutney, and perhaps these four delicious plates:
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts drizzled with Caesar dressing and adorned with chives, Pecorino Romano cheese and brown butter breadcrumbs
- Asparagus blanched, grilled and tossed in a pistachio vinaigrette, nestled in a creamy black garlic aioli, and dressed up with charred shiitake mushrooms, pumpernickel croutons, cured egg yolk, and celery leaves
- Crispy Potatoes tricked out with nuggets of bacon, fermented Fresno chiles, Taleggio cheese sauce, and a dusting of blue cheese powder
- Velvety Potato Puree with creme fraiche and an oozy center of melted Comté cheese.
Happily for me, my favorite from last season has stayed, and that is the Sunchokes. Also called Jerusalem artichokes, they're a nutty root vegetable which at Artizen are confited and seared, draped in a beurre blanc spiked with Amaretto, and showered with Marcona almonds.
ARTIZEN ENTREES AND BUTCHERS BLOCK
I highly recommend following chef's suggestion for sharing the Lamb Bucatini as a pasta course. Lamb necks are smoked before being braised to tender richness and combined with a smoky charred tomato sauce studded with sultanas. Bucatini, a fat tubular spaghetti, is tossed with this savory sugo, and finished with finely grated cheese and garlic flowers.
A steak for my husband and fish for me is our usual restaurant MO and at Artizen, we were extra happy, feasting on a juicy, perfect medium-rare 8-oz New York Strip with the optional decadence of foie gras butter, and a beautiful filet of Poached Snapper with fennel pollen, tomatoes, and patty pan squash in an aromatic Thai basil and coconut broth. Surprisingly, as chef explained, no butter or oil was used in this light but extremely flavorful dish.
I must also give a shout-out to our gracious server on both visits, Jeff Menzer. Be sure to let him guide you with wine pairings and suggestions!
Longtime pastry chef Julie Emiliano has been baking indulgences at this hotel since its days as the Ritz-Carlton and through its transformation to The Camby. If you've planned well and left room for dessert, try her Goat Cheese Cheesecake with its tangy creaminess topped with a tropical fruit glaze and paired with fresh berries and pistachio cream.
Artizen at The Camby never disappoints and I think my husband summed it up best when I asked him what he thought of our latest visit - "There should be a line out the door." I agree.