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Recap: Chef Peter DeRuvo’s Spring Lamb Dinner at Prado

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by Amy Martin 1 Comment

On Friday, May 13th, Taryn and I headed out to one of our very favorite Valley restaurants for Chef Peter DeRuvo’s Spring Lamb Dinner at Prado. For the dinner, Chef Peter paired up with Pat Duncan of Duncan Farms for fresh, spring produce and he sourced his lamb from Pozzi Farms out of Sonoma. Roman Kettler, Prado’s Sommelier, thoughtfully chose wines for each course.

The evening began at 6pm with a Wine and Hors D ‘Oeuvres Reception with Pat Duncan himself. Heirloom TomatoesBaby Back Ribs with balsamic and rosemary (my favorite) and Fried Shishito Peppers were presented to each table. After the reception, we headed out to the restaurant’s patio (a little worrisome as we filled up on hors d ‘oeuvres at the reception), as the 8-course dinner began.

Chef Peter gave a short introduction and a tease of the dishes to come while everyone snickered at the thought of having to eat lamb brains by the end of the night. After Chef headed back to the kitchen, Roman Kettler visited each table explaining his intricate process of choosing wines to complement each course (look for an interview with him soon on PhoenixBites!).

We were quickly presented with our first dish: Crispy Ris de Veau with Duncan Farms “Ciambotta” eggplant, gypsy peppers, burnt tomatoes, and finished with a blood orange agrumato.

  • Amy: The sweetbreads were phenomenal, making this colorful dish a fantastic start to the evening. Loved the char on the tomatoes.
  • Taryn: A playful tease of what was to come!

Crispy Ris de Veau

Next up, Lamb Tartar made its way to our table with Yucca, sugar snaps, tomato conserva, Pinole nuts and Trapani salt.

  • Amy: This was, perhaps, the course that received the most scrutiny (well, really the only scrutiny) at our table only for the mere fact that the locality of the lamb (Pozzi Farms – Sonoma County, California) tends to produce a less game-y flavor, therefore some thought that a tartar wouldn’t be the best preparation for it. But, since I’m not actually a fan of the “gamey-ness” of lamb to begin with (shocker! ),I found it very flavorful and appreciated the sweet crunch from the sugar snap peas.
  • Taryn: Very rich and decadent.  Surprisingly flavorful. I was nervous with all the talk at the table, but since I had nothing to gauge it against, I ate on and really enjoyed it.

Lamb Tartar

Then, the course everyone had on the brain… (get it?) arrived! The Brain and Tongue with brown butter and sage, pastrami-style with artichokes, arugula, sheep’s milk cheese, lemon oil.

  • Amy: The most fantastic course overall, in my opinion. I’m still excited anytime I get to talk about ‘the brains’. I first started with the tongue because it seemed less “scary” at first and finished it quickly as it was delicious and so tender (so not what I had expected!). I braved up for the brains and I’m fairly sure that I let out an “OMG” after my first bite. They were surrounded by a deep-golden crispy fried crust and inside, were so rich and creamy. If I could have had seconds, thirds and fourths, I would have!
  • Taryn: Sinful!  The crispy outer texture played off the smooth and creamy consistency of the brains.  We would have gladly asked for more and spread it on some crunchy bread. The tongue was tender and paired very well with the accompaniments.

The plates kept rolling out as it certainly was not a waiting game. Next up, the Agnolotti (Braised shoulder, peas, carrots, mint, corn nage, pepper cress).

  • Amy: A hit at our table. Delicious!
  • Taryn: You could absolutely taste the freshness in the ingredients.  Everything played so well together.  So good!!

An Intermezzo was presented as a refresher that was much appreciated: Blackberry granite with Sambuca mist.

  • Amy: A nice “breakaway” from the meaty goodness (not that we needed it) The Sambuca left me wanting 5 more… and smiling ear to ear.
  • Taryn: Always a sucker for Sambuca, this made me a happy girl!

The feast continued as the Scaloppini arrived: Oregon mushrooms, greens, Sicilian Marsala, tomatoes, Oregon black truffles, spiced oil.

  • Amy: Rich, earthy flavors. As a non-truffle-lover, I ate every bite and wasn’t the least bit offended. I’ve finally come to learn that my aversion to truffles can absolutely be averted by Chef DeRuvo!
  • Taryn: Chef Peter is changing my mind about truffles!  I loved the subtle role they played.

Scaloppini

As the last meat-course, everyone oooh-ed and ahhh-ed over the Trio (Chop, Roulade, Tenderloin accompanied by Tabouleh and Tatziki lentils with dried fruit, mushy peas and crispy onions).

  • Amy: The last bang of the evening and it was a big one! Other than the brain, the delicate tenderloin with mushy peas was my second most favorite of the evening. Oh, those mushy peas!
  • Taryn: I would have resported to physical violence had someone tried to take this away from me.  The lamb of course, was perfectly prepared – tender and delicate, and the addition of the Tabouleh and the mushy peas – Genius!

Trio | Chop, Roulade, Tenderloin

Lastly, the Milk course: Sheep’s milk cheese Pana Cotta with Local stone fruit, almonds, local honey

  • Amy: I may have reached my limit since I cleaned almost all of the other plates put in front of me, so I couldn’t enjoy this “last hoorah” as much as I wanted to, but it really was fantastic. Very rich, so decadent – “cloud 9” kind of material!
  • Taryn: Such a delightful way to end our gluttonous meal.  The pana cotta was so creamy and delicious – especially when paired with that local honey.  A perfect ending to a perfect meal!  Bravo!!

Overall, a winning meal! Each wine, carefully chosen by Roman accented every dish that made it to our table.

I must say, the restaurant was rather busy that evening and as much attention as the Lamb Dinner diners got, I took a peek inside and noticed that Chef Peter was visiting his inside guests as well and no one was left un-noticed! No matter if you are visiting the restaurant for small plates/tapas or selecting the elaborate Chef’s Tasting Menu, you are sure to leave with a personal connection with the Chef. On a recent visit, I did my best to buddy-up with another one of the staff in hopes to find out what Chef Peter is really like. I did everything in my might (short of bribing) to get him to talk, but he said that he’s honestly exactly how he seems. He cares about every single person that steps foot into the restaurant and is just as friendly and amiable behind the kitchen door as he is with his diners. My new friend even went as far to say that he’s really never seen Chef Peter mad or angry. In times of frustration, you’d never know. So, with all of that being said, if there’s anything wrong with this guy, we have yet to find it!

I highly encourage you to visit Prado soon if you haven’t been in recently. The tapas menu is phenomenal and the dinner menu is equally fantastic.

Check out Taryn’s recent interview with Chef Peter DeRuvo by following this link.

For more information about Prado, visit pradolife.com. For reservations, call 480-627-3044.

Prado | 4949 E. Lincoln Dr | Paradise Valley, AZ | 480-627-3004 | pradolife.com

*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.

About the Author - Amy Martin

Author of Her Plate, Amy's love of food, cooking and all things culinary keeps her endlessly plotting what her next meal will be. Her pastimes include creating in (i.e. demolishing) her own kitchen and baking far more sweets than her tiny family could ever eat.

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