En garde! Our dueling diners love each other when they’re not reviewing restaurants, but when the meal comes, their flaws are totally game.
Strolling through Old Town Scottsdale you’ll find some in-your-face clubs, dive bars playing the subtle game and hoity toity upscale restaurants with noses stuck in the air.
As a longtime local, I mostly avoid Old Town due to stereotypes that have proven true over the years, so I’ve rarely—if ever—traversed the back walkways of Old Town. Scottsdale is known for its culinary scene, which is worth enduring the frat boys and cougars on occasion, but only if you park as close to your destination as possible.
So when we had to search for Park Place behind the more obvious joints in Scottsdale, I was less than pleased. It was hot. I was thirsty. Plus I wore heels. My complaining made me sound like a bandage-dressed club-goer, so I sucked it up.
Park Place is like a vacation from the rest of Old Town Scottsdale. Offering breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner options, the patio-centric spot is a best-of-all-worlds situation with a full bar, diverse menu and an easy breezy atmosphere. Since we’re never up before 10 a.m. on weekends, breakfast was out of the question, so Andrew and I dropped into Park Place for their 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily happy hour.
Andrew wasn’t hungry. Earlier he had ordered two milkshakes, had them delivered and made his way through half of each. His little milkshake-loving belly was full, but that didn’t stop him from ordering like he was coming home from war once he saw the Park Place menu. With a little bit of everything he loves (Meat! Potatoes! … and that’s pretty much it), he ordered a serving appetizer hot wings to himself.
Looks like we’re both ordering an appetizer and entree! It’s a duel… duel.
He pretended like it was cool for me to have some wings, but he totally wanted them for himself, and I could see why. Shockingly healthy compared to other wing joints, the grilled wings were flavorful on their own but were enhanced by the sauce that came to the side.
Apparently we set out to order more food than any two reasonable humans could handle, but since we’re not two reasonable humans, I also ordered the hummus appetizer. Truly authentic with its chickpea, tahini and garlic recipe, the plate was brightened by chopped tomatoes, olives, cornichons and served with pita crackers. Already feeling full, we dove into our entrees.
Andrew went big with the server-recommended Loki sandwich. Traditional corned beef was awakened by jalapeños, horseradish-dill mayo, pickled red onions and provolone cheese. The corned beef is grilled to render its typically fatty taste, and the Loki ends up being a southwestern taste of Irish culture. Plus, it was accompanied by crispy shoestring fries.
In comparison, my salad wasn’t as sexy, but still packed a punch with slices of fresh garlic, tomato wedges and a house-made mozzarella. (That’s right, Park Place is a cheese expert, too!)
After both of us ate approximately half of each plate, our server lovingly packed it all up for us to go—after which we left it all behind, drove halfway home and turned around for our Park Place bounty.
Hey… we never claimed we were a smart couple.
Park Place is a cheery little bar and restaurant in Old Town that specializes in cocktails, live music and food with a monopoly on flavor. Yes, I just made that pun. Yes, I can sense your anger through the paper.
I’ve been eating a lot of chicken wings ever since I discovered they aren’t that difficult to make if you’re willing to sacrifice your figure. I’ve become exceedingly skilled at butchering those little wings and dropping them into blistering hot oil. The problem with my method is they are bad as hell for you and the process covers your entire kitchen in a millimeter thick layer of vegetable oil.
It had been nearly a week since I’d had chicken wings so I was jonesing pretty hard. Park Place’s grilled wings are a much healthier and less greasy alternative without sacrificing on flavor.
I inhaled a few wings and rubbed some ranch on my gums while Christina took on her hummus plate. A generous portion of the chickpea spread is served with a mix of pita crackers.
We took our time on our appetizers, sipping on a few cocktails and taking in Park Place. An acoustic duo was just out of sight crooning late ‘90s and early ‘00s covers.
The Entertainer! spares absolutely no expense on Christina and I when we do our restaurant reviews. We are choppered in and wait in our private, mobile green room until it’s time for our reservation where we drink goldleaf and saffron tea. I have become accustomed to this lifestyle, so I never think to order off the Happy Hour menu. But you should consider. Seven smackers will get you a wide selection of martinis, manhattans and wines. If you’re already drunk (And who am I kidding? Of course you are!) aforementioned smackers can be spent on sliders, tin roofs or a Dueling Diners favorite, fried calamari.
The waiter did a quick, effective job of talking me into the “Loki” sandwich, a southwestern take on a classic deli rueben. It sounds basic on paper, but the dish is quite well-thought-out. Pickled red onions brighten up the sandwich. Jalapeños spice up the familiar corned beef with a layer of smoky complexity. And finally, the provolone cheese and horsey dill mayo cool it all down again.
Christina unsurprisingly opted for the mozzarella salad. She eats some amalgamation of basil, tomatoes and cheese every week, so it was the obvious choice for her. If you love garlic as much as Christina does, you’re in luck. Large slices of the bulb are tossed in with house greens, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette. A classic but never boring combo, the salad shines because of the freshness of the ingredients.
As Christina has no doubt mentioned on the other side of the page over there, we are not Old Town regulars. In fact, if we didn’t have to make money and feed ourselves, we’d probably never leave the house. So believe me when I say that Park Place is worth overcoming your rippling agoraphobia. Swing by, grab a glass of wine, order some wings, enjoy some music, do not pass go and do not collect $200. Sorry.
Park Place Bar & Grill, 7373 E. Scottsdale Mall, Suite 6, Scottsdale, 480.424.6819, parkplacebarandgrill.com