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Distrito hosts prix fixe barbacoa dinner next week

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by Amy Martin No Comments

Calling all carnivores! One of our favorites spots – Distrito at the Saguaro Hotel – will be hosting a Barbacoa Tasting Dinner in celebration of the Fourth of July.

The special three-course prix fixe dinner (plus dessert) will be offered for four days, Wednesday July 4th through Saturday, July 7th, from 5-10pm. Diners will enjoy Distrito’s barbacoa (aka Mexican barbeque) menu of slow-cooked smoked meats and are guaranteed to leave full, satisfied, and meat-happy.

For $45 per person, you’ll enjoy the following menu and cocktails:

  • First Course | Chilango Chopped Salad, Shrimp Ceviche
  • Second Course | Yucatan-Style Smoked Chicken, Cochinita Pibil, Esquites
  • Third Course | Black Angus Beef Brisket, Berkshire Pork Spare Ribs, Ejotes, Frijoles Charros
  • Dessert | Churros (yum!)
  • Cocktails | Distrito Diablo and Pineapple Cherry Sidecar

I had the opportunity to preview the menu and taste several of Distrito’s barbacoa dishes prepared by Chef Michael Fiorello (Chef Jose Garces’ right-hand man on Iron Chef America) and Distrito’s Executive Sous Chef Nathan Johnson. Chef Fiorello learned to BBQ in preparation for an Iron Chef battle at Kitchen Stadium when Garces told him they’d be BBQ-ing a pork shoulder for the challenge. Now, barbacoa is one of his favorites and speaking for myself, I can say he has definitely mastered the ‘que!

The tasting was held in Distrito’s private dining room which is used for private parties, banquets and overflow from the restaurant. The space is festive and peppy, yet still sleek and sophisticated. Very “Ugly Betty.”  If Mode Magazine threw a fabulous party for Betty Suarez, it might be held here at this hip restaurant. The private room opens up to the patio where the grills and smokers are kept, offering a clear view of the smoking action.

During the meal, Chef Fiorello shared stories of how he came to work with Chef Garces and their battles together at Kitchen Stadium while demonstrating dish preparations from the barbacoa menu.

Chef Michael Fiorello demonstrates barbacoa dishes

My first taste was the Cochinita Pibil and the Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken (look for it as your second course on the Fourth of July menu), perhaps the best plate of the night.

Cochinita Pibil and Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken

Cochinita Pibil and Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil

The Cochinita Pibil – meaning baby pigwas unbelievably good. Using a Berkshire pork shoulder, they prepare a loose, acidic marinade to break down the pork using citrus juices including orange and pineapple, and a variety of spices for warmth and heat like achiote and cinnamon. The pork is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked sous vide. Once plated, it’s topped with red and green peppers, jalapeno and red onion, pickled in a simple marinade of lime juice, sugar and olive oil. Each tender bite exhibited the bright flavors of the pork’s marinade and its spices added welcomed warmth to the dish. Absolutely amazing. Take one of their dense, house-made tortillas, a bite of pork and pickled veggies, and sop up some of its juices, and you’ll truly have the perfect bite. The Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken packed a hotter punch than the pork, but was well-rounded by the sweetness of the citrusy BBQ glaze.

Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken

Orange Guajillo Glazed BBQ Chicken

On the side, we enjoyed spoonfuls of the Esquites – sweet corn with queso fresco, chipotle and lime juice.



I also had a chance to taste the Tender Belly Berkshire Pork Spare Ribs (offered in the third course of the Fourth of July dinner) and the restaurant’s Chorizo. The spare ribs had the perfect amount of char and its chipotle-cider mustard BBQ sauce was absolutely mouthwatering.

Berkshire Pork Spare Ribs

Berkshire Pork Spare Ribs and Chorizo

The chorizo had a bit of a ‘snap’ to it that I loved and its sauce was slightly sweeter than the space ribs. As a girl who isn’t a huge fan of chorizo, I even came back for a second bite (and thirds and fourths).



Alongside the Spare Ribs and Chorizo, we got to taste this magnificent dish:

Don’t forget the greens!

Don’t forget the greens!

Sauteed spinach with garlic, green apples and juicy, tequila-soaked raisins. Holy goodness. With all the meat in front of us, you would think I’d scoff at something so innocent looking and… green. Not this dish. It deserved its own praise and definitely earned a ‘wow’ in our group.

To finish, we sampled the Black Angus Beef Brisket with a dry adobo rub that was out of this world good and a grown-up version of a lollipop: Distrito’s co-op raised Colorado Lamb Chops. Make sure you save room for the brisket in the third course of the Fourth of July menu.

Black Angus Beef Brisket

Black Angus Beef Brisket

Chef Michael went into great detail explaining the preparation of the brisket and the importance of smoking fresh meats daily. If at the end of the day they haven’t sold out of brisket, the staff enjoys the leftovers, but it is never served the next day. You’ll only enjoy freshly smoked meats here. The brisket was so tender and especially delicious once it soaks up some of its own jus. No matter how meat-full I was, I couldn’t resist finishing every bite.

Partnered on the side were the plantains with queso fresco:

Plantains with queso fresco

Plantains with queso fresco

Of the cocktail pairings the Distrito Diablo was my favorite made with tequila, ginger beer and crème de cassis – refreshing and almost too easy to drink!

For $45 a person, with three courses, dessert and drinks, I can’t think of a better way to spend the Fourth. The prix fixe menu is available Wednesday-Saturday, July 4th-7th, from 5-10pm. Make your reservations by calling 480-970-4444.

To learn more about the restaurant and its upcoming events, visit jdvhotels.com

Distrito at The Saguaro | 4000 N Drinkwater Blvd | Scottsdale, AZ | 480-970-4444

This meal was provided 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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