FnB - discuss

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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azhotdish
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7 years ago

It's pretty shameful that we don't have an FnB thread here yet, so I'm starting one.

I've been going since the beginning. During their first year, I went somewhere between 25-30 times. There's really not a whole lot to dislike - Charleen puts out consistently delicious food, and Pavle and team are stellar at front of the house.

We recently went and had about 13 things on the 20 item menu. The standouts for me were their killer aleppo lamb riblets, the jidori chicken (always good), spicy broccoli with tangelo aioli and pistachios and a duck confit salad w/purslane.

Since the menu changes so much, discussion of particular dishes may be pointless, so I'll ask the question - what's everyone had lately that they've loved? I don't nearly get there nearly as much as I'd like anymore.

FnB
www.fnbrestaurant.com
7125 East 5th Avenue
Scottsdale, AZ 85281
480-284-4777
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Joel
@azhotdish
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sir_eccles
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7 years ago

Those riblets are insane.
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

FnB is so consistently good it's kind of absurd (Full Disclosure Department: I've spent a goodly amount of time hanging with Pavle and Charleen).

I was just poking through the files for some photos and discovered that I have 173 of them. Sadly, I had the second string camera on our last visit and the photos didn't turn out (forgot how to shoot low light with the old one). Still, we had some fabulous stuff. We had a salad of fennel and mache with citrus, avocado and olives. Very straightforward pairings, but man, does Charleen make these salads sing. They're always so delicately crafted and lightly dressed... it's one of the few places where I actually appreciate every little sliver of vegetable that goes into it. She lets that raw, natural character come through, yet somehow does just enough to keep the salads lively rather than having them come across as a pile of shredded veg. So, so good. I remember we also had a fabulous quail dish, though I don't recall how it was prepared. Both times I've had quail at FnB, it's been truly excellent. They know how to handle those little fellas.

This is the kind of place that needs a nice, long thread so we can always see what they're up to. I'll get better photos next time :-)
Dominic Armato
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Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
emmaAmethyst
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7 years ago

Broccoli. Seriously, broccoli? How can broccoli be that good? How can a hunk of broccoli be so good that I'll get full on just a big ol', perfectly prepared, awesome, yummy, lovely hunk of broccoli?

It's just absurdly good.
meleyna
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7 years ago

I mourn about how little time I have spent here. The menu is exactly what I want, all of the time, yet nothing the other half is interested in...
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HeidifromSavoryTv
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7 years ago

meleyna wrote:I mourn about how little time I have spent here. The menu is exactly what I want, all of the time, yet nothing the other half is interested in...
I know how you feel. My technique: She: "Hey, I'm hungry, jump in the car, we are getting dinner." He: "Where? I hate so many places. I'm really not up for much". She: "C'mon! We are going to eat. Get in the car. (opens door)"

This usually works. Especially if he is hungry. It's my simple manipulative technique. He usually thanks me later and 70 percent of the time wants to go back.

I think many people have ideas of what the like and do not like foodwise, perhaps embedded since childhood. Change is hard. Sometimes a little nudge is all that is needed.
M_L
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7 years ago

I have been going to Baratin more frequently as you can get a slice of FnB with out all the commitment. I have never had something I did not like there and I have frequently been surprised when something is recommended that I would not expect to like and it turns out great.

The Butterscotch pudding probably deserves it's own thread it is that good.

I also like going to their Late Night on Sunday's depending on what they have, really unhappy I missed the crawfish one they had a few weeks ago.
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Lunchbox
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7 years ago

Charleen made scallops with peaches last year around this time... Amazing... I never would have thought to pair the two...

We're probably going this weekend so Charleen if you're listening... Remember that peaches are in season right now... :)

LBX
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meleyna
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7 years ago

HeidifromSavoryTv wrote:
meleyna wrote:I mourn about how little time I have spent here. The menu is exactly what I want, all of the time, yet nothing the other half is interested in...
I know how you feel.

So when do you want to get dinner? :)
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mjmartinez72
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7 years ago

Ahh yes, an FnB thread. I knew joining this forum was for me. I am also disclosing that I spend time with the crew at FnB and have a lot of love for those guys. Many times I have mentioned to friends/colleagues that I have dinner plans at FnB and they ask, "with who?" When I say I am going there by myself, I hear the response, "You are going to dinner alone?" Of course, most of you know that when you go to FnB for dinner, you never eat alone. You are in the company of the FnB family: Pavle, Charleen, Brian, Minerva, Sasha, Shantal, the list goes on... They are all super top notch human beings and of course, great at what they do: Food and Beverage. I always end up leaving having made friends with whoever is sitting next to me at the counter. In fact, I have a coffee date later today with a friend acquired that way.

I attended the wine dinner the other night with Caduceus Cellars. Charleen had a misto fritto with this amazingly clean white wine. The Squid and Squash blossoms were so delicately fried, so delicious!! The Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad was stellar as were the Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Freekah. The rosé wine was amazing as well. I know we've all been raving about peaches being in season right now, but so are apricots and Charleen made this little puff pastry with apricots and creme fraiche ice cream. :D :D
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Michelle Martinez
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Welcome, Michelle... it's great to have you here!

Yeah, it sounds like you've found your tribe, so to speak :-)

I'm supremely envious of the fritto misto. That's one of my favorites when it's done well, and it never, never is. I've no doubt that Charleen nailed it. Any idea if it's made an appearance on the regular menu, or was it just a one-off for the wine dinner?
Dominic Armato
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M_L
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7 years ago

mjmartinez72 wrote:I attended the wine dinner the other night with Caduceus Cellars. Charleen had a misto fritto with this amazingly clean white wine. The Squid and Squash blossoms were so delicately fried, so delicious!! The Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad was stellar as were the Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Freekah. The rosé wine was amazing as well. I know we've all been raving about peaches being in season right now, but so are apricots and Charleen made this little puff pastry with apricots and creme fraiche ice cream.[/attachment]
Sounds awesome, I wanted to go to that but could not make the time/$. I am not a huge drinker but I have liked pretty much everything I have tried from Caduceus, next time! Glad to hear it was a great experience.
ericeatsout
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7 years ago

Haven't been to FnB in months and I'm going this weekend. Can't wait to see what's on the menu, and it's always nice to have Pavle fuss all over me.
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

ericeatsout wrote:Haven't been to FnB in months and I'm going this weekend. Can't wait to see what's on the menu, and it's always nice to have Pavle fuss all over me.
Report back!
Dominic Armato
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mjmartinez72
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7 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote: Any idea if it's made an appearance on the regular menu, or was it just a one-off for the wine dinner?
I grabbed a Spring 2012 menu on my way out, and it was not on there. :(

The socca, a fried quail, grain salad, and pasta with duck confit are on there and sound yummy.

The Braised Leeks dish was on there, but Charleen made a post on Instagram the other day that made me think it may be coming off, and squash blossoms are available now, so who knows?

I could post a photo of the Spring menu, or would that be giving away too much? There is something kind of magical when you don't know what's on there and Brian Reeder recites it to you like poetry. Sigh. :ugeek:
Michelle Martinez
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petitfromageaz
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7 years ago

There is no other place that I enjoy dining at more, than our beloved FnB.

It has all the elements that I love about a good restaurant. Charming, yes... but in a very genuine way. Nothing is contrived. It's an amazing balance of creative energy and passionate teamwork.

The dishes are always thoughtfully constructed and well-balanced. I've pretty much given up looking at the menu. Instead,I usually have Charleen send out whatever she thinks I'll like. I highly suggest that you all try this, as I have learned to love many things that I otherwise would have scoffed at or ignored.

*SHOCKER* I have NOT always liked everything I have eaten. Yet, I've never had an experience that wasn't way above average. Almost always, it was not because the dish wasn't great, it was just "not my thing". For example, gilfeather rutabaga= not my cup of tea. And I SO wanted to "like" it. Everyone else LOVED it, and I can appreciate the flavors and the dish, conceptually.
Worthy of mentioning, I dislike lamb. All lamb. I try it over and over again, hoping that someday my taste buds will align with my desire to appreciate this noble beast. Last time we were in, I tried the aleppo lamb ( something of that variety) and it was AMAZING.

My point being, I suggest that you broaden your horizons and those of your dining partners by trying whatever it is that FnB is putting out these days. Out of the 100+ things I've tried since they've been open, I'm happy to report, the meals are damn near perfect.
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mjmartinez72
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7 years ago

petitfromageaz wrote: I've pretty much given up looking at the menu. Instead,I usually have Charleen send out whatever she thinks I'll like. I highly suggest that you all try this, as I have learned to love many things that I otherwise would have scoffed at or ignored.
I do this too. Even if I look at the menu, I have a hard time making up my mind. I have yet to be disappointed with the choices they have made for me. There was a pasta dish I ordered once and thought it was OK, but not spectacular. This may have been because my partner order the Jadoori chicken, and I couldn't keep my fork away from it. I still am not sure if the pasta was truly underwhelming, or if the chicken was just that spectacular that evening, that it upstaged the pasta.

I am determined to try the ribeye when its offered, though. I am also a little addicted to these wine dinners. I went again this past Tuesday. It was a very sexy meal, with spot prawns and quail. The heirloom tomato salad is the dish I keep thinking of, though. Each kind of tomato was dressed a bit different so the flavors and textures all brought a unique character to the plate. It was topped with fried zucchini chips. Wonderful. I hear there will be a beer dinner in June sometime, and plan to go.

I thought of all of you when the entire table I was dining with (mostly food writers) pulled out their cameras. ;)
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Michelle Martinez
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cactuschowdah
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7 years ago

Do they still do free corkage for AZ wines, or was that only during that weird period where they realized they didn't actually have the right liquor license?
M_L
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7 years ago

cactuschowdah wrote:Do they still do free corkage for AZ wines, or was that only during that weird period where they realized they didn't actually have the right liquor license?
I believe that was only when they were BYOB.
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

I really miss the old days. This "open 'til 10" thing is less "Late Night Love" and more "Slightly Later Than Usual Love." It'd make it easier for me to do this more often. But I suppose if that's my biggest complaint, I'm doing more than fine.

Great stuff last night at FnB, as usual.
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Lamb Manti
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I finally got a crack at the manti everybody's been talking about, and yeah, they're pretty awesome. I have no idea how these are traditionally done, and I don't care because when it comes to these kinds of dishes, Charleen's one of those people who gets away with breaking the rules, because traditional or not, they're so damn good. It's a lamb filling, the wrappers have some substance and are browned to a light golden crisp in places, there's yogurt and mint and pine nuts and a whole lot of butter, and they're really delicious.
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Really Crispy Chicken Wings
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The "late" night special was the Really Crispy Chicken Wings (their appellation, not mine), which led to this exchange, not involving me:

Q: What makes this rice Colombian?
A: The Colombian made it.

I'm pretty sure this was more glib than factual (even if Pavle did, in fact, make the rice), but as usual... whatever, as long as it's delicious. The wings were, as billed, extra crispy -- just how I like 'em -- served dry for maximum crisp but scented with five spice, paprika and something else I missed. I thought I got cardamom. Could've been my imagination. In any case, I loved that they weren't heavily spices, but just scented -- you got a good whiff and just a little taste as you ate them. The rice was oily (not a pejorative) and topped with chunks of pineapple and cucumber and some other fruit and slivers of Fresno chiles, I believe. Good stuff.

Incidentally, I believe word is out that Brian Reeder is headed up to Park City, Utah to pursue what sounds like a pretty exciting opportunity, and I think last night was his last in the house, though he mentioned he'll be back quite a bit. Best of luck and safe travels to him!
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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