Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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Posts: 170
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Scottsdale, AZ

1 year ago

I was originally super exited to try this as I love craft cocktails and awesome ramen.

With Dom’s reviews, my expectations were tempered. I was in no rush to get there. We did try it in Tucson a few months ago & liked it better then.

We were at Press across the street and it was getting late on Sunday so we said what the heck.

I guess I’d say OBON is.....fine....

The food was mostly good but, as only the second location, it already feels too “chain”-ish. It felt like there was an absence of head or heart leading everything.

(Skip the monkfish liver though as it was served in a soup spoon and completely overwhelmed with everything paired with it. It might have been good but we couldn’t taste it at all.)

My drink, old fashioned a la Thai tea, was good too.

The servers were all young & good looking. Ours attempted to be nice on the surface but seemed a little “Scottsdale fake”. Definitely got the feeling that we were an inconvenience for her to suffer. Not that customers were the reason they were all there...thus the lack of heart comment.

I was a bit frustrated with the cocktail options too. They have a selection of about 6 Asian-flavored cocktails. These are printed on a laminated menu so it is not like they change daily. They were out of the Asian sazerac so I’m guessing most of the cocktails are batched. Understand that. Just a bit of a bummer they were out. There wasn’t really anything else that was spirit forward so I asked if they could do something other than the 6 that was Asian inspired and spirit forward. Got the big nope. Only what you see though they could do non-Asian cocktails. For a place whose name was in large part made on their cocktail program (with the Asian influence), that was a bummer. I’d have thought they’d have had the onsite expertise (head) there to do something?

And then after we were pretty much done, my son I ordered 2 more orders of nigiri sushi. Most of the time, folks try to wrap up a meal (so they can turn the table or whatever) but it was straight FIFO here. We probably waited another 1/2 hour before we got our last pieces. Just a bit of obliviousness to context (head again).

Maybe I had elevated expectations (though I’d gotten feedback that probably should have level set me) but it was just a but of a bummer. Felt like with only their 2nd location, they’re already systematized (good for them on that though) but without any head or heart directing everything.
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Posts: 392
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa

1 year ago

I've been to Obon in Downtown Tucson and really enjoyed it. I sat at the bar, ate the restaurant's eponymous ramen, and had a spicy cocktail called "One Night in Bangkok" that was made before my eyes. Part of my positive experience may have been, as you suggest, that things are just going to be better at the original location. Part of it may have been also that I was going to a show as the Rialto, so having a good dinner option a block away (and within walking distance of my hotel) just made it all the more appealing.

Obon is now working on a third location, which will be in Tempe, on the north side of Tempe Town Lake:

http://www.statepress.com/article/2018/ ... k-in-tempe
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