dinner at t. cook’s

Two nights ago I had dinner here in Phoenix at T. Cook’s (at the Royal Palms Resort). Ratings (out of 5) follow the break.

Fresh pesto and warm bread

Decor/ambience 4.5
Service 4.5
Wine list 5
Food 3.5
Dessert 3

After a leisurely stroll around the gorgeous grounds of this exclusive resort (I arrived early) I was seated in a courtyard behind the main dining area. Large gas-powered heaters helped banish the 3 degree Celsius weather from spoiling my meal. Service was prompt and thorough.

Sadly I was unimpressed with what the menu had to offer. I made my way through not-the-freshest escargot and sweetbreads, a delightful watercress, walnut, fig and bleu cheese salad, some overcooked ahi with a unique southwestern polenta round, corn and baby turnips, and finished with a sumptuous almond raspberry torte that should have been decorated with marzipan, not plastic-tasting white chocolate. Next time I may take up the staff’s recommendation of the short ribs or the veal; that night I just wasn’t up for a large chunk of land meat, and the other fish on the menu was uninspired, perfunctory whitefish.

The wine list was extensive and supportive with many helpful tips and lists of staff favourites. For my 3 3-oz glass tasting, I tried an 04 Hatton Hawke’s Bay unoaked chardonnay that broadened my horizons – though it was just acidic enough to cause problems with my GERD. I moved on to a safe 04 Casa Lapostolle syrah, and finished with an 02 Chalk Hill cabernet, both of which were a bit heavy for my entree choices, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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