Dining Guide | Poetry on a Plate: Best Charcuterie in Scottsdale
Charcuterie, the fancy French name for preserved meats, may have an intimidating air based on the name of what appears to be a basic hors d’oeuvre plate. Truth is, charcuterie is so much more. At its core, it is a delicious selection of meats that are smoked, cured, braised, chopped and sliced. At its best, it represents an awe-inspiring combination of unique flavor combinations and stunning presentation.
The Valley is rampant with culinary masters that have created a smorgasbord of charcuterie combinations that push textural boundaries. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites places for you to check out this poetry on a plate…or board, slab or slate.
Five of the Best Charcuterie Boards in Scottsdale
8877 N. Scottsdale Road | Scottsdale | 480.840.1861
Since opening earlier this year, Drexyl has been impressing diners at Gainey Village with their menu of classic comfort dishes. There is a great deal to love about this spot – the large inviting dining area, their interesting array of signature cocktails and great wait staff – but the Chef’s Board is definitely worth the visit on its own. Mix and match soppressata salami and calabrese sausage with Havarti cheese and herb crusted goat cheese or gorgonzola. The herbaceous nature and creaminess of the goat cheese will go straight to your head, but not before marrying with the slight peppery heat from the soppressata. Your board will arrive with tart pickled vegetable, a rich fig jam, candied pecans and toasted bread. Add in a glass or two from their wine menu and you are well on your way to a peaceful food coma.
Second Story Liquor Bar
4166 N. Scottsdale Road | Scottsdale | 480.945.5555
This hidden gem overlooks the action of Old Town Scottsdale offers an escape from the expected as far as nightlife in the area goes. The sleek modern interior and chef-driven menu has those in the know flocking to try anything new and immerse themselves in the vast whiskey offerings. While the drinks here are immeasurable, you’ll want to do more than drink. Chef Rusticus has created a complex combination of meats and cheeses for his Chef’s Board. The meats and cheeses vary based on availability and caliber but the thick crusty country bread, seasonal pickles and drunken cherry mostarda are standard. The boozy cherries and a touch of mustard give this mostarda an extra zip and really go great with everything, so make sure to incorporate in as many combinations as you can with your board. Settle in with a whiskey flight and you are in for some prime nibbling.
The Bourbon Cellar
32409 N. Scottsdale Road | Scottsdale | 480.595.5868
Chef Doug Smith has created a bastion for seafood and steak lovers alike in North Scottsdale. The area was begging for an upscale restaurant with a neighborhood feel and Chef Smith answered that call with a farm-to-table menu. Many of the eateries menu items are flown in fresh daily or procured from local markets and lovingly and expertly prepared by the kitchen. Before you dig into those oysters on the half shell or golden scallops, consider starting with the Chef’s choice cheese plate. The selection changed frequently, but you’ll always be impressed with the Chef Smith’s selection of balanced and unique components. You’ll find a great balance of textures; decadent, tangy and smoky. Pickled vegetables act as a palate cleanser and the jams add a touch of sweetness with the freshly baked ciabatta serving as the perfect complimentary delivery system.
The Herb Box
20707 N. Pima Road | Scottsdale | 480.289.6180
7134 E. Stetson Drive | Scottsdale | 480.289.6160
Both of the Herb Box’s locations have been a welcome place for omnivores and carnivores over the years. The menu reads like a love letter to vegetables and their entrée menu features the perfect balance of both protein and veg that will have the most hardened vegetable hater changing their tune. If you’re not ready to fully commit to an entrée or all of that veggie love, their cheeseboard of the moment is a perfect place to start. Much like with other restaurants, the kitchen switches these boards up from time to time to keep things interesting, A few constants on the board are their pan-fried Crow’s Dairy goat milk cheese. The mild flavor is the perfect accompaniment to any of the meat options and adds a nice texture contrast to the crisp crostini along with the bold olives marinated in lemon, honey, rosemary and Aleppo chilies.
The House Brasserie
6936 E. Main St. | Scottsdale | 480.634.1600
Nestled away in a quiet corner of Old Town is a beautifully repurposed vintage home that now inhabits romance, culinary artistry, and an impressive menu. Begin your dinner with any one of their 5 charcuterie boards ranging from smoked burrata with leeks and black truffle vinaigrette to Finocchiona salumi with ciabatta and fermented pepper and fennel mustard. One of the more unique and interesting boards is a combination of baked St. Andre cheese, basil, peanut, and kumquat. The slightly sweet and tart combination of the kumquat (similar to a cross between a lime and tangerine) and the fresh peppery tones of basil creates additional complexity to the flavor of the cheese and meats. No matter which combination you decide on, make sure you get your requisite Instagram photo in, these boards are too beautiful not to share with the world!
Do you have a favorite spot in Scottsdale to get your charcuterie fix? Let us know so we can check them out!
This article, written by Taryn Jeffries, originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of So Scottsdale Magazine.
© Taryn Jeffries 2016