A Taste of Prado’s New Tapas Menu

Posted on: March 3rd, 2011 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

Upon walking into Prado you immediately forget that you are in Phoenix (or rather Scottsdale).  The vibe in the restaurant in calming almost on an other-worldly level.  The low lighting and intimate atmosphere makes this the perfect backdrop for a romantic date or an anniversary celebration.

We were welcomed into the Tapas Bar, which is a nice size, plenty of seating, with an open view into the wood fired oven and clear view of the Tapas preparations.

We were offered one of 4 beverages for the Tapas Menu unveiling. Amy opted for the Red Sangria and I for the White. I found the White to be very refreshing and light and I quite enjoyed it.  We were overwhelmed with Tapas options and not wanting to let our readers down, we made sure we had a little bit of everything. Thankfully none of this made me sad, not even for a moment.

The first item we had the opportunity to taste was not described to us until after I had I had finished it and that was the Head Cheese served in MJ Bread with pickled vegetables and grain mustard.  I found it to be pleasant – surprisingly so after our sneaky server Scott gave us the complete rundown of the sample.  I was quite proud of myself for having something that in normal circumstances I would have not even entertained the idea of.  This was just the first such accomplishment of the evening!

Chef Peter was amazing throughout the entire evening, explaining the dishes during preparation as well as upon serving. He always provided a great deal of information, without being overwhelming or condescending and was ready wand eager for all our questions.  You can tell that he is really enjoying what he does and that he has a great passion for food and creating great dining experiences.  He shared with us that they always have 5 fishes on the menu and that while the regular dinner menu is not as aggressive as the Tapas menu, he has had a hand in all of the items and stands behind each and every one. I for one cannot wait to share all the greatness that is Prado with my someone special very soon and often!

Other items we were served:
*Please note that all pricing reflects Mbar’s Happy Hour (Monday-Friday 5-7pm and 9-11pm)

Crispy ‘Oysters | Horseradish & Caper Aioli

Crispy ‘Oysters | Horseradish & Caper Aioli | (2 per $6)
Taryn: I loved that the outside had this gorgeous crispy texture while inside the Blue Point Oyster still retained its original form. Not tough just perfect. The horseradish and aioli offset the texture perfectly.
Amy: When these were first passed, I was hesitant because I’m definitely not a fan of raw oysters. But, since I’ll give anything fried a try, I grabbed one – and I’m so glad I did. These were among my favorites of the night – the crispy, golden-brown batter completely took away every thought in my head that I was about to eat something that makes my Top 10 least-favorite foods. The horseradish aioli was especially delicious… so much so that I had at least 3 more.

Beef Tongue Sandwich | Pickled Vegetable | Sriracha

Beef Tongue Sandwich | Pickled Vegetable | Sriracha ($9)
Taryn: I have to admit, I was a little scared to try this, but I wasn’t going to give in to my inner monologue and from now on I may have to put that on mute, because I was so pleasantly surprised by this bite.  It was so delicate and the little bit of spice from the Sriracha and the bite from the pickled vegetables gave it a great overall flavor.
Amy: I must be honest – I wasn’t crazy about this one, but only because of the tongue’s texture, and nothing of the Chef’s creation. However, the accompaniments were fantastic.

‘Huevos Diablos’ Deviled Egg | Caviar

‘Huevos Diablos’ Deviled Egg | Caviar ($6)
Taryn: Huge fan of Deviled Eggs and these were so decadent and perfect that I may never try to make them again.
Amy: I am absolutely not a fan of traditional deviled eggs, I’ve never been able to taste more than a bite without immediately deciding that they are not for me. That being said, I loved these and even went back for seconds.

Fried Shishito Peppers & Heirloom Tomato

Fried Shishito Peppers | Sea Salt ($7)
Taryn: I let Amy take the lead on this one – not a huge fan of straight peppers so I didn’t try it.
Amy: I adore Shishitos and these certainly did not disappoint. For me, this is the ultimate snack – I could eat several of these without thinking twice. Note: Make sure you have a glass of water handy – they pack quite the punch!

Heirloom Tomatoes | ‘MJ’ Bread | Olive Oil | Sea Salt ($5)
Taryn: A phenomenal bruschetta alternate. Lovely.
Amy: Just as Taryn said, these were lovely.

Marcona Almonds | Spiced | Honeyed

Marcona Almonds | Spiced | Honeyed ($4)
Taryn: What a great bar snack. Beware, they are sweet with a little kick and highly addictive!
Amy: The almonds were a definite hit in our group. A perfect mix of sweet and spicy.

Razor Clams

Razor Clams from Rhode Island with Bacon, Red Onion, Bread Crumbs and Meyer Lemon
Taryn: This dish, as were they all, was beautifully presented and had such a delicate flavor that was nicely rounded out by the bacon and hint of Meyer lemon. So good!
Amy: When this dish was presented to us, immediately I could smell all the goodness it had to offer. The combination of the clams, bacon, bread crumbs and red onion was so indulgent – the added touch of Meyer Lemon really brightened the dish.

Grilled Mortadella ‘Fazzoletti’ | Robiola | Chutney ($9)
Taryn: The chutney served with this (I was getting an Apricot sort of vibe) was nice and sweet and was great with the smokiness of the meat. Very nice.
Amy: Smoky, salty and perfectly complemented by the chutney.

Grilled Prawns | Garlic | Sea Salt | Arbequina Oil

Grilled Prawns | Garlic | Sea Salt | Arbequina Oil | ($12)
Taryn: These creepy little guys (heads on) were very nice.  Your basic grilled prawn, good flavor – nice light alternative.
Amy: Another one of my favorite dishes at Prado. The prawns were prepared perfectly, slightly crunchy and had a great flavor. Beautiful presentation as well.

Medjool Dates | Serrano Ham | ‘Cabrales’ Blue Cheese | ($6)
Taryn: I would have cut someone had they kept me from these little lovelies.  I loved the combination of the uber sweet date with the smoky goodness of the blue cheese and the salt from the Serrano.  if you see me eating these in the future, kindly wait until I am done as I will be in another world entirely unable to acknowledge your existence!
Amy: These were heavenly – all of the flavors that I love. Sweet, salty, smoky… amazing. We both snatched these up so quickly that we missed our photo opportunity. I’ve been reminiscing these dates ever since my first bite – completely delicious.

Baby Back Ribs | Balsamic | Rosemary

Baby Back Ribs | Balsamic | Rosemary | ($10)
Taryn: These were super tender and melty and had great flavor!
Amy: Favorite of the night! I have been talking about these meaty ribs ever since. The tangy glaze of balsamic and rosemary was out of this world – I might even give up BBQ sauce for this. No words can say how fabulous these were.

Sweet Breads | Parsnip | Lentils | Hon Tsai Tai | Blood Orange

Sweet Breads | Parsnip | Lentils | Hon Tsai Tai | Blood Orange | ($9)
Taryn: I would once again be lying if I said that prior to this evening I would have laughed were someone to say that not only would I try this delicacy but that I would love it.  As the Fates would have it – this is just what happened. I really enjoyed the contrast of textures that the parsnip puree and lentils lended to the sweetbreads and the flavor was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  Hats off to the Chef for opening my mind to these wonderful little treats and I will now be trying them wherever I go!!
Amy: I’m not a fan of sweet breads, but I will say that they had a nice texture and gorgeous breading. My attention was completely occupied by the lentils – which were almost peppery and prepared wonderfully, just a tiny bit of bite. I loved the parsnip puree equally. It was apparent that the Chef really put some attention and detail into this dish as every flavor was intricately complementing.

Beef Heart | Pickled Radish | Arugula | 20 Year Balsamic

Beef Heart | Pickled Radish | Arugula | 20 Year Balsamic | ($7)
Taryn: This dish had it all, it was smoky, tender and shockingly delicious.  Adding another notch to my “can’t believe I ate that and liked it” tally.
Amy: When the beef heart was brought out to us, we made a face. The staff promised that it’s known to be “better than beef tenderloin”, so we put it to the test. The meat was so soft and delicate, almost melting in my mouth. The 20 year Balsamic added punch to the pickled radish and arugula that was presented beautifully atop.

Suckling Pig

Suckling Pig

Suckling Pig stuffed with 3 different kinds of sausage.
Taryn: Chef gave us a full run down of this dish and even invited me behind the bar to get all up close and personal.  He shared that he had removed the bone structure and then filled with the ground sausages and laid a Fennel Frond through the middle.  Not only did this make for a beautiful photo, but it was ridiculously delicious.  The combination of the three sausages with that salty goodness from the pig was not comparable to anything I have ever had.  Amazing!!
Amy: My only complaint was that this was served to us last, after we were completely stuffed from all of the previous dishes. But, the anticipation had been building up to this moment and I can’t tell you how excited I was to dig in to this. The verdict? It was worth every agonizing minute that we sat through, stare at this pig waiting for a bite. Salty, spicy, with a little bit of peppery heat from the sausage…INCREDIBLE!

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate
Taryn: This cheese plate was so beautifully presented that we hardly wanted to taste from it as it would have marred its beauty. The cheeses were all delicate.
Amy: Our delectable cheese plate included both sheep’s milk and goat’s milk cheeses and a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano. A lovely way to end the beautiful meal.

Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Churros with Chocolate Sauce
Taryn: Holy moly that was some chocolate sauce.  The churros were perfect and that sauce was so rich and decadent I felt almost high after just one bite. A chocolate lover’s dream!
Amy: I almost fell over in my chair from these chocolate dipped churros… completely in love. When I finished the last bit from our shared plate, Chef Peter asked if I wanted more ( was too embarrassed to say that I did since I scarfed them down so quickly, so I politely declined). I only wished that I had had a spoon to finish the last bit of chocolate sauce. Just as Taryn said, these ARE a chocolate lover’s dream. I will be back for many, many more!

Taryn’s favorites overall: Although everything that I tasted I found to be stellar, I would have to say my top three were the Sweetbreads, the Grilled Bejeweled Dates and Suckling Pig.

Amy’s favorites overall: My absolute favorite of the night was absolutely the Baby Back Ribs. These, plus the Crispy ‘Oysters, Medjool Dates and the Suckling Pig will make me a happy girl any day of the week. Oh, and I can’t forget the Churros and Chocolate Sauce!

Chef Peter DeRuvo, Prado Chef de Cuisine, was such a charmer and incredibly friendly and approachable. He was a delight throughout the evening and provided such a beautiful meal- an expereince we’ll never forget. Look for an interview with him soon on PhoenixBites!

Prado | 4949 E. Lincoln Drive | Paradise Valley, AZ | 480-627-3200 | pradolife.com

Re-cap by Taryn Jeffries with commentary from Amy Martin, PhoenixBites Staff

*This meal was provided to us complimentary as a part of a media invitation. However, this has no effect on our opinions and comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for further explanation.

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About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen. Now, her own kitchen is teeming with food related magazines and countless cookbooks (dog-eared and full of post-it notes) as she tests new recipes to share with her husband and two boys.

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