Prado Restaurant at the Omni Montelucia Resort is located right in the middle of Phoenix and Scottsdale in the stunning enclave of Paradise Valley. The restaurant supports the Spanish village theme with a wide-open communal atmosphere that houses both the restaurant and the lounge. A cozy space is carved out for the lounge where live music is often being performed. Adjacent to the lounge is the bar area, while the back half of the space is for formal dining. There is also a patio that takes advantage of the stupendous views of Camelback Mountain (an iconic landmark in the Phoenix area). The patio is kept warm by a large fireplace and heat-lamps for those colder desert evenings.
The interior of Prado is decorated in various richly colored earth tones, from supple leather to old-world hardwood furniture. In one corner of the restaurant a sous chef mans a wood-fired oven, where those interested in seeing the action can sit and be entertained.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to do a lot fine dining. From my experience, some chefs try to get a bit too creative, not with the presentation, but rather with the ingredients. Many chefs learn classic French techniques, which often includes the use of organs and other parts, such as liver, tongue and brain. While I’ve tried a vast array of “gourmet” dishes, I tend to shy away from delicacies like foie gras, escargot, ris de veau (aka sweetbreads) and tartare. I gravitate toward foods I know and love, that are spectacularly prepared and presented. It’s sort of like attending a concert…you go to hear the music you’re familiar with. A couple new songs is fine, but not the entire set. The meal I had at Prado was spectacular, it was a series of ingredients I know, but would never be able to prepare or present at this level on my own. Each item my guest and I tried was uncomplicated, yet with an air of sophistication. Each dish was clean and healthful, allowing the natural flavors of the food to shine through. As they say, sometimes less is more and that is certainly the case at Prado.
First up was a couple of signature cocktails along with some tapas:
- Sheepish Boulevardier – Sheep Dip Scotch, Antica sweet vermouth with some aperol. The vermouth and aperol really balanced this drink out…it was smooth and delicious.
- Figstation – Malfy lemon gin, Figenza and Contratto bianco – This subtle fig-flavored cocktail was a little bit old country with a splash of rock ‘n roll.
- Medjool Dates – Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds is such a tasty treat while sipping a couple of sophisticated cocktails.
Next up we tried the Crab Timbale – Huge lumps of crab gently seasoned with no unnecessary fillers. This dish was topped with avocado, micro salad with a gentle drizzle of gazpacho vinaigrette. I washed it down with a glass of Paco & Loco (100% Albariño from Spain). The wine was fresh with an intense citric fruity mouth with an elegant and slightly bitter finish. It was the perfect accompaniment to the crab. Kudos to our server for the pairing recommendation.
The next salad/appetizer dish we tried was a spicy Ahi Tuna in a citrus vinaigrette. I absolutely love Ahi and found this sushi grade tuna to be prepared to perfection. It was so lean, tender and full of flavor that it required little effort to chew. This dish was accompanied by a glass of Landmark Overlook Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley. On the nose, this wine had notes of Meyer lemon tart, marzipan, toasted almonds and maybe Asian pear with a hint of vanilla. On the palate, I tasted apricot and honey with well-balanced acidity.
For entrees we had:
- Roasted Seabass glazed with thyme, garlic and fresh lemon juice accompanied with artichoke hearts, baby spinach and goat cheese. I was in seafood heaven…another outstanding dish.
- Lastly, we had the New York A La Pimiente steak with peppercorn mashed potatoes and glazed asparagus. This was yang to the seafood yin. The steak was enjoyed with a bold and flavorful glass of Sangre de Garnatxa from the Priorat region of Spain.
- For the denouement, we shared a piece of chocolate layer cake with fresh berries and Chantilly creme. It was a fantastic end to a sensational meal.
If you’ve ever been to Prado, please leave a comment below and share your experience.