The Joy of a Short Menu

Tom, Andre, and I have a long tradition of turning into foodies whenever we're together. This dates back to my visits to their apartment in Brooklyn. They knew so many great, moderately priced restaurants in New York--and I happily went to whichever restaurant they suggested. I was never disappointed.

A couple of years ago, Tom and Andre moved to Phoenix. I love that they live closer to California and that they live in what still feels like my hometown, and they've discovered some really great restaurants in central Phoenix. I recently went to visit them, excited to finally see the house they had purchased last winter--and to eat with them.

The first night I was there, we went to St. Francis, a new restaurant on Camelback. I love restaurants with dark wood, brick, and soft lighting, and there was a nice outside bar that projects episodes of Julia Child's cooking show.

I like a small menu--I guess because it seems like the chef (in this case, Aaron Chamberlain) can focus on making a few things really, really well. Big menus make me crazy--it's usually hard for me to decide and it feels like the restaurant is trying too hard to please everyone. St. Francis is the kind of restaurant that just concentrates on getting a few dishes absolutely right.

Andre had a dish called "Forbidden Rice," composed of sauteed vegetables, ginger, garlic, and a sweet and spicy dressing. He loved it--and it looked so healthy to me.

Andre and I both had the corn chowder. I especially loved the veggies that were used to garnish the soup.

I also had the chopped romaine salad: romaine, summer vegetables, and smoked bacon dressed with buttermilk cheddar dressing. I loved everything about this salad.

Tom had what I would have ordered if I'd been hungrier: the french onion burger topped with smoked bacon, gruyère, and crispy onions. He gave me a bite--and it was fantastic.

I recommend this restaurant. It has a comfortable ambience, attentive wait staff, and delicious food.

St. Francis
111 E. Camelback
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Tlf. 602-200-8111

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