I’ve had a few followers and readers ask me to talk about the best restaurants in Scottsdale, so I’ve decided to start a blog series called, most originally, “Best Restaurants in Scottsdale”
The beauty of having your own blog is that “Best” can mean whatever you’d like for it to mean, at any given time; which helps a lot considering that I mostly wing it on these reviews.
For my first post in this series, my choice of restaurant is a no-brainer – Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, a Scottsdale-based national group of excellent restaurants where they describe their food as where “Modern Asian Meets American Comfort” and that the food and the experience is “Not for Boring People.” Like all great restaurants, they take the dining experience seriously, but not themselves. I love this about them.
In the interests of full disclosure, I lack objectivity about this restaurant specifically, and the brand in general. First, Ling & Louie’s is a client of my wife’s amazing branding company Miss Details Design. Second, the pulse and chi of the Ling & Louie’s brand is a guy named John Banquil, who I consider to be one of the most gifted restaurant operators in the country – and that is not hyperbole. And he and his lovely wife also happen to be dear friends of ours.
So, one quick thought on “conflicts” and a “lack of objectivity” when writing dining reviews. I understand the potential for a skewed review, but I’m going to take the opposite view that “conflicts” can be – and often are – good things for both the reviewer and the reader/follower.
The best dining experiences are I believe a complex confluence of variables – light, taste, company and companions, ambience, energy, environment, personal outlook, attitude, food quality, alcohol, age, disruption, and a lot of other invisible and immeasurable things that make dining out so interesting and memorable. And often times, the best dining experiences I’ve had are due almost entirely to the people around me during the meal, which means not only the people at the table, but the people who are milling around – the customers and the staff.
Simply put, I love restaurants like Ling & Louie’s in part because I have a personal connection to the people, who are also at times, my friends. And my friendship/relationship with the people and the restaurant doesn’t render my taste buds useless to the point where I will write an excellent review of a restaurant that sucks. That won’t happen. I’m perfectly capable of acknowledging my bias, and then giving you my opinion on the dining experience. It won’t be objective, but it will be honest.
As for our dinner, about every couple of months, Ling & Louie’s offers a wine-pairing dinner. (Click here for one of my favorite charts for wine-pairing basics.) This most recent dinner featured Classico Fine Wines, a Tempe, Arizona – based wine & spirits distributor. The wines we enjoyed at the dinner were I believe mostly Italian, but it was great because the wines were unique in character – particularly the 2014 Rose D’Anjou, which I dare say was the one of the best Rose wines I’ve ever consumed. Quite spiritual.
The food was as always, flavorful, properly warm but not scalding, fresh, textured, and importantly for wine-parings, extremely well paired. Here are some of the photos of the food:
The menu was mostly off-menu items, and as you can see, delectable. And I highly recommend that you start to follow Ling & Louie’s on Facebook where you will receive notifications of their upcoming wine-pairing dinners; which are very competitively priced, especially when you consider the quality of the food and wine, and the high level of service. These dinners fill up quickly, so be warned!
I could go on and on about Ling & Louie’s but I think you get the point. Just do yourself a favor and go, then go again, and then keep going. You’ll not regret a second of your experiences there, and you will most likely come to think of the staff as friends whom you get to see from time to time when you’re enjoying a stellar meal and dining experience; which is what it’s all about.
Here’s their information, no more excuses for not trying this most sublime restaurant. You’re welcome:
Ling & Louie’s Scottsdale: http://lingandlouies.com/scottsdale/
9397 E. Shea Boulevard, Suite 125 – Scottsdale, AZ 85258