For quite a while now I’ve driven past a residential building in Old Town Scottsdale, at the base of which is an unassuming red and white sign that reads “POSH Improvisational Cuisine.” After having asked several friends what this place was all about and gathering random bits of information about this mysterious restaurant that “has no menu,” “is really expensive,’ and my personal favorite “I have no freaking idea,” I added it to my list of places I wanted to try out.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet several friends for dinner and POSH was the consensus restaurant choice, so to POSH I went! Arriving First in my group is unusual for me but arrive first I did. The “lobby” in POSH is well..POSH, with several comfy chairs and a view of what’s going on in the restaurant.
After a few minutes my group arrived and we were shown to our preferred counter seats (the better to see Chef Joshua Hebert create our dinner), brought cocktails and given the rundown on how things worked. Presented with sushi style menus, we were instructed to strike through any proteins that we didn’t like and note at the bottom any allergies or things we didn’t prefer to eat. That was it, a menu would be created individually for each diner in the party by the Chef and his crew of culinary mad scientists.
I ordered the six course tasting menu sans wine pairing for $65, and wondered what gastronomical delights awaited. My wait was not long as the amuse bouche arrived in short order. After a few minutes our first course arrived, potato viscosuisse with chive oil & arugula pesto, a surprisingly lite, chilled soup with a silky texture that begs to be consumed.
All conversation stopped as the members of my party hungrily consumed a variety of tailor made dishes and just as suddenly resumed amidst a chorus of “oooh’s,’ and “ahhh’s,” while we discussed the day’s events and waited for the next course which in my case was an Heirloom yellow tomato sorbet, sweetened with a little bit of simple syrup, mint oil & tomato caviar garnish.
I must say, I never knew tomatoes could taste so exquisite. The flavor was bright, sweet and fresh with just a hint of acidity and was topped with tiny red tomato caviar which burst on the palate providing just the slightest bit of sourness.
On to the next course of Santa Barbara spot prawns served with a shrimp demi-glace, preserved lemon, capers & baby artichokes. Now I’ve eaten a lot of shrimp in my time and more than my fair share of prawns yet I’ve never had them cooked so perfectly. The temperature was spot on making them succulent and moist , the rich and flavorful demi-glace tasted faintly of the ocean and combined with salty capers had me envisioning waves of flavor washing over my palate.
While awaiting the next course we discussed the different experiences each member of the group had had to this point. There was general agreement that there were flavors, textures and presentation elements that we hadn’t had previously and all were eager to move on to the next course which was Fois gras.
I’ve always heard people waxing poetic about the virtues of foie gras and have generally been ambivalent but no more, the crunchy brulee’ was the perfect textural compliment to soft, slightly sweet foie gras (the texture and flavor of which I’m STILL at a loss to adequately describe), served over a sweet coulis of papaya with tiny house pickled grapes and topped with a beautiful garnish of hand spun sugar. I’ve thought about this dish many times over the last few days but the only thing I’m able to say is that you must try it!
My next course was lamb which I normally find improperly prepared leaving it with an unpleasant taste and texture but masterfully prepared here. Served with broccoli, fingerling potatoes & a mustard dill sauce with Chile flakes. Unfortunately, I wolfed it down so fast that I forgot to take pictures. I will say that having lamb prepared in this way gives me cause to add it to my list of “likes!”
The next course happened to be duck, another protein that I typically dislike due to poor preparation which leaves it greasy with an unpleasant flavor. Here the duck was bacon cured served with bok choy & apricot sake sauce.
This dish was both visually appealing and absolutely delicious (I’ve said this about several of the night’s items with good reason), it was perfectly prepared, tender enough to cut with a fork, with just the right amount of salty smokiness which went well when paired with the accompanying apricot sake sauce.
Following the duck was a surprise course of Scrapple (a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite), served with Fava beans and the Boar bacon that I’ve heard so much about.
This crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside staple of the Pennsylvania working man was elevated by Chef Joshua Hebert, to something extraordinary. Topped with a crispy poached egg yolk, crunchy boar bacon bits and bright, fresh Fava beans, scrapple at POSH is one of my new favorite things to eat.
Sadly, as they all must, my meal came to an end but with it came a dessert of upside down cognac soaked fig cake, cinnamon creme anglaise and hand spun sugar garnish. What can I say? Soft cake and flavorful figs with a delicious cinnamon creme sauce and crunchy spun sugar, how could this be bad?
So, I’ve finally been able to arrange my opinion of POSH Restaurant into some semblance of order but I’ll tell you one thing, you simply MUST make the time to dine with Chef Hebert, the sheer use of technique, innovation, imaginative use of ingredients and execution must be experienced to be understood.