FnB - Local Vegetables and Much More

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

[NOTE: Due to the FNA nomination period coinciding with FnB and Baratin moving in together and continuing to operate simply under FnB, this nomination was changed from Baratin to FnB midway through the nomination period. As such, while early commentary addresses only Baratin (now lunchtime at FnB), later posts will consider both FnB and Baratin, since they are now the same entity. -Mod]

You don't need a comprehensive menu to put out exciting food and I think Baratin Cafe in Scottsdale is a perfect example of this. What you'll find here is a very simple menu that changes regularly, comprised of seasonal dishes with Chef Charleen Badman's special joojoo, as co-owner Pavle Milic might say. Their sister restaurant, FnB gets most of the press around town, but Baratin deserves just as much praise.

Baratin is a french word that means: "To sweet talk". The food they serve is the perfect embodiment of this credo. I think Skillet Doux says it best in the quote below:
Skillet Doux wrote:Do less, do it better.
It's the "Do it better" part of the quote which I think justifies a FNA nomination. The high quality of what comes out of the tiny kitchen will sweet talk you into coming back again and again.
M_L wrote:This is probably my favorite thing about Baratin, the small, limited, take it or leave it menu. I think this goes to what people have said in the FnB thread, not to crosstalk, but let Charleen tell you what to get and just enjoy it. Here you are essentially getting that and nothing else.
Take a look at the discussion thread, you'll see a common theme throughout but several different dishes that illustrates what M_L says above. Chef Badman will take you on a carefully crafted journey whether you realize you're actually on a journey or not.

Another reason I feel they deserve a nomination:
Skillet Doux wrote:So why isn't Baratin packed to the rafters on a Saturday afternoon? Travesty.
Given the beliefs that this board was founded on, I couldn't agree more. A restaurant putting out food of this caliber should have Pizzeria Bianco type waits... I'm glad that it's a little bit of a secret but it most definitely shouldn't be.

FnB Discussion Threads:
FnB - discuss
Lunch at FnB [Formerly Baratin]

FnB
www.fnbrestaurant.com
7125 East 5th Avenue
Scottsdale, AZ 85281
480-284-4777
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
themis
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6 years ago

I totally agree the place should be packed, but I'm thrilled that it's not. I like to meet girlfriends here for weekday lunches and I'm glad we are not packed in and jostled the way you get at every 'to be seen' spot in DC Ranch.

It's minimalist, zen, perfect, friendly - I go when I want to eat something and feel good about it, when I want to even peripherally bask in Charleen's glory, and when I just need to slow the f*ck down and enjoy the next couple of hours.

Bonus - Bodega right next door, so I can buy pickles or Muneca Mexicana cajeta or AZ wine.
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

I also heartily support this nomination. LOVE the small menu, because every bite is perfect! And I agree with themis that it's nice that it's not packed, although I doubt it will stay that way for long, given its acclaimed sister restaurant, FnB is moving in next door! But whatever...the more the merrier!
M_L
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6 years ago

I have to say I really hope this does not go away now that FnB has moved into the space. I spent more than a few Saturday's or random weekdays when I was less than busy hitting them up for lunch/late afternoon snack or just sneaking bye for a late evening butterscotch pudding.

It is a rare place where you are actually happy about it having a limited set of choices. It is the perfect place to have a relaxing afternoon as you work your way through the entire menu. The fact that you can get amazing wines on top of it is just a bonus. I know my GF is a huge fan of the half bottles they have as it is the perfect amount for what she generally wants to drink.

Baratin either never leave us or at least still exist for lunch or on the weekends?

Stupendous choice Zach.
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

M_L wrote:I have to say I really hope this does not go away now that FnB has moved into the space.
Exactly what I was thinking, Matt! I really don't know how they're going to keep them both going, however. But I sure hope they do! Each has its own unique "style".
M_L
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6 years ago

I went in last night and forgot to talk with Pavle about it but I know they are still keeping lunch hours so I am hoping that will fill the void and be operated in the fashion of Baratin.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Hey, all!

We need to make a slight adjustment to this nomination. As most of you are no doubt aware, FnB just moved in with Baratin last week, and rather than keep the two spaces separate, they've chosen to merge them into one, now serving the old Baratin menu at lunchtime and the usual FnB menu at dinner. (Most of) the FNA panel has conferred (including Lunchbox, who made the nomination), and since the two menus remain unchanged and are now simply being served in the same space under the name FnB, we've decided the most logical thing to do is change this nomination from Baratin to FnB, consider commentary for both establishments (since they're now one), and take into account both the Baratin and FnB discussion threads.

As such, here is the FnB discussion thread, also for your consideration:

FnB - discuss

Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for your patience!
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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uhockey
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6 years ago

...like FnB wasn't a shoe-in for this award, anyhow? :-) Just saves someone from nominating it.

Now, someone nominate Bianco for goodness sake.
M_L
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6 years ago

uhockey wrote:...like FnB wasn't a shoe-in for this award, anyhow? :-) Just saves someone from nominating it.

Now, someone nominate Bianco for goodness sake.
He makes good points here.
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

To back up what Dom has said, I have agreed to the FnB nomination change after we talked yesterday at lunch... (Lest anyone think Dom is the puppetmaster here. :mrgreen:) Baratin was a concern when I made the nomination, knowing that a change was imminent... And I'm surprised FnB didn't get nominated sooner... But I'm happy to support Charleen, Pavle, and the whole team over there.
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
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uhockey
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6 years ago

Lunchbox wrote:To back up what Dom has said, I have agreed to the FnB nomination change after we talked yesterday at lunch... (Lest anyone think Dom is the puppetmaster here. :mrgreen:) Baratin was a concern when I made the nomination, knowing that a change was imminent... And I'm surprised FnB didn't get nominated sooner... But I'm happy to support Charleen, Pavle, and the whole team over there.
While the Baratin menu has still never inspired me to walk past the threshold of the restaurant and I'm not quite as wowed by FnB as many it is probably the most 'important' restaurant in Arizona aside from Pizzeria Bianco and from the wine list to the protein and produce it is pretty much the definition of a local food-nerd restaurant.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

With the officialness out of the way, I don't want to forget to weigh in on a personal level!

As if I wasn't already a full-throated supporter of Baratin, getting the two-for-one of what used to be Baratin and FnB feels kind of like stealing -- two of my absolutely favorite places in town all rolled into one nomination.

The heavy quoting above pretty much demonstrates how I feel about the new FnB's lunch. And I can think of no place more synonymous with Phoenix's foodnerdia than FnB. The food, the people, the vibe, the local sourcing... I cannot possibly imagine a more worthy or appropriate place to be deemed Food Nerd Approved.

Enthusiastic thumbs up!
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
ciaomari
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6 years ago

Think of it this way: FnBaratin by day, FnB by night. Lunch = bare tables, paper napkins, the 5-6 item café menu. Dinner = tablecloths, full place settings, the whole shebang.

Full disclosure: It's great to be back in AZ and even better to be working for two of my favorite people, running the Bodega/AZ Wine Merchants retail shop. Will get a bio up (finally) very soon!
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chrislee
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6 years ago

This should be a no brainer. One of the very finest we have. I always refer to a quote of Dom's that I saw on Chowhound that pretty much wraps up how we feel about it. It was in response to someone who didn't get FnB and preferred fancier places.
The wow's in the wisdom and the subtlety, Bill. It's in Charleen's ability to extract full, honest flavor from every ingredient. It's in combinations of flavors and textures that are smart without getting cute. It's because every item on the plate is treated with the utmost respect and allowed to speak with its own voice. The wow's in the fact that not only did all of those vegetables just come out of the ground, but they actually taste like it... harder to come by than it should be, even at big name establishments.

I don't mean to suggest that it's superior to more overtly creative and process-heavy cuisine. It's different. It's a little more humble and grounded. And it takes just as much skill to make that rutabaga shine with just a few simple supporting ingredients as it does to assemble a fine dining dish with a dozen components. It's not an intellectual experience, it's a soulful experience. To give a jazz analogy, FnB isn't about where the notes are, it's about where the notes aren't. If you go in looking for flash and wow, you're going to completely miss the point.

There are plenty of restaurants (maybe not quite so much in Phoenix) that do food like Kai (and I like Kai!). But a place like FnB is a far rarer bird.
For us, it'd be hard work to find food better than Charleen prepares and service better than Pavle and the crew provides.

Figure it's a shoo-in for the FNAs but had to add our support.
Erin
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6 years ago

This is a no brainer. Everything is so fresh and delicious every time. I love how there is always something new to try, yet there are always some familiar appetizer and vegetable dishes that I love. The food is consistently wonderful and the service and ambiance can't be beat.
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MyLifeOnVacatio
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6 years ago

As Baratin or FnB, supporting this FNA nomination is very easy to do. One can also take home so many of Charleen's (and other local) goodies from Bodega next door for a little 'FnB at home', which is just an extra bonus when making a visit.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

FnB has been named to the 2013 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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