After our less than thrilling trek to Mucho Gusto, Neil, Dave and I were still craving something Southwestern. Mexican, New Mexican, etc. Any or all would have sufficed.
I had heard some decent things about the Blue Adobe Grille and there was a location in North Scottsdale, so we got into the car and headed out to Shea and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevards to find the Blue Adobe Grille and enjoy some New Mexican cuisine. It was a bit of a drive, but we were enjoying the chit-chat in the car, mostly about Madge’s new hairdo which, as her hair grows, seems more and more like a Beehive style. I think she’s auditioning to be an extra in the B-52s.
We arrived and parked in the lot that was shared by Blue Adobe and a small strip mall. The building Blue Adobe was housed in was free standing, but I still would have put it in the category of a strip mall restaurant. The entrance was poorly lit (and designed) and so we fumbled our way around a bit to determine which door lead to the hosting station. Upon success, we were immediately greeted by a gentleman and taken to a booth along the far wall. The place was fairly busy but, thankfully, we weren’t overwhelmed by the level of noise.
Our server gave us menus and told us our server would be with us shortly. In a matter of minutes, our server arrived with water and a bowl of chips and salsa. She took our drink order and Neil and I had Iced Teas ($2.25 each) while Dave had a Diet Pepsi ($2.25). Dave also decided to have a Prickly Pear Margarita ($6.00). Our server said she would return in a moment with our drinks and to take our order. As we reviewed the menus we took notice of the variety and it seemed like good mix of New Mexican and Mexican favorites with plenty of warnings about spice level.
While we toiled over our decisions, we munched on the chips and salsa. I was rather disappointed with the chips. They weren’t bad, but they seemed rather stock and bland. The salt level certainly needed to be ramped up a bit, but they just didn’t strike me as particularly fresh or stellar. The salsa, on the other hand, was quite good. There was a lot going on in that small bowl with its spicy edge and just a hint of sweetness. We liked the chipotle aspect to it and found the salsa to be a different twist in flavor.
Our server arrived with Dave’s Prickly Pear Margarita and it barely hit the table before he tried it. Sipping his first taste through the straw, he smiled and said it was “wonderful.” This brought a smile to the server’s face. Neil and I tried a taste and it was excellent. It wasn’t cloyingly sweet, but it did have a nice sweetness that was balanced out by a bit of tartness. It was a very well executed margarita.
With that bit of enjoyment, we were set to order. Dave had the Grande Chicken Chimi Dinner ($14.00) and Neil went for the Spooning Rellenos ($13.00) with the New Mexican Caesar Side Salad ($2.00 add on). I was going pure New Mexican and ordered the Carne Adovada ($12.00) topped with a fried egg ($1.25). We also decided to get a Cheese Crisp ($6.00) and I couldn’t turn down a cup of the Red Chile Pork Pozole ($2.00 add on with a meal).
The Cheese Crisp arrived and I was expecting the worst because it seemed so pale. The mixture of jack and cheddar cheeses looked good because they were fully melted on the disc, but the tortilla was white and showed no signs of being browned beyond the initial cooking of the tortilla itself. I was expecting another “cheese limp” adventure. We each pulled a slice and while it was very close to being a disappointment, there was enough rigidity in the tortilla to save it from being an undercooked glob. The taste was good and I give the kitchen credit for adding plenty of cheese, but I really missed the crispness that defines a good cheese crisp. Still, it was passable. Barely.
Next up was my Red Chile Pork Pozole. The cup that was put in front of me was packed full of the hominy stew and topped with a nice nest of shredded cabbage and a lime wedge. After draining the lime of every drop of juice, I fully mixed the stew and had a bite. I thought it was quite grand. The flavors were complex and the hominy was not mushy. The red chile pork was tender and flavorful. The tang of the lime and the crunch of the cabbage just made it that much better and I regretted not getting a bowl of the stew. Then, before I knew it, the delayed heat reaction set in and I was eating chips to reduce the heat in my mouth. The pozole was a big hit with me.
Neil’s New Mexican Caesar Side Salad was an interesting take on the Mexican classic. Romaine lettuce was mixed with red pepper strips, Asiago cheese, and a tequila lime Caesar dressing. It was then topped with fried tortilla strips. Neil liked the flavor of the salad and said the greens were crisp and fresh. He also liked the replacement of the traditional croutons with the tortilla strips. He felt, however, that the dressing was rather subdued in taste and amount. He would have preferred something a bit more bold.
While we waited for our entrees, we had a chance to talk about the interior. It was dimly lit with little streams of neon peeking out from the bar. The walls were decorated with Southwestern touches and the spacing between tables was abundant.
We waited about 10 minutes before our meals arrived. Dave’s Grande Chicken Chimichanga dinner arrived first. The burro took up the middle half of the plate with pinto beans and Red Chile Rice on the sides. Dave said the tortillas was very crisp, but found the chicken to be rather bland inside. It gave it points for the meat being plentiful and juicy. He also liked the sour cream chile sauce on top, which must have been good because Dave is not a big sour cream fan. He felt the pinto beans were rather plain, but did like the red chile rice because it had a kick and some flavor.
Neil’s Spooning Rellenos were two roasted Anaheim chiles that has been roasted and stuffed with beef, chorizo, Cheddar and Jack cheeses. They were then rolled in Panko and deep fried and topped with a sprinkling of cheese. Neil liked the interior of the rellenos with the mix of the meats and cheese , but did mention that there were possibly too many flavors going on with the rellenos. What Neil hated about his dish, however, was the texture. He said it was “all wrong” with the use of Panko instead of an egg batter. “It was an odd feeling,” he said. “Not very good.” He agreed with Dave about the rice and beans, favoring the rice.
My Carne Adovada smelled wonderful and the fried egg looked like a big eye on the plate staring up at me. Half of the plate was taken up with the adovada and I loved the taste. Smoky, rich and satisfying, the heat factor could have been a bit higher, but I really had no complaints about my dish. The addition of the egg, though, was a nice counterpoint to the spicy meat. I also liked the rice and agreed that the pinto beans were just plain, old pinto beans. The tortillas that accompanied my dish was a step above good. It was soft and was not dry at all. Perfect for mopping up the sauce.
We finished our meals and our server suggested dessert. We were all pretty full, but I had a coupon for a free serving of Sopapillas (normally $5.00). Our server departed, clearing our plates as she left.
When the Sopapillas arrived, they were searing hot and we poked them with a fork to release some of the steam. They came sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with honey. When they had sufficiently cooled, we each took a chunk from the three pillows of dough, doused them with honey and began to munch. They were excellent. Soft, slightly chewy and piping hot. We finished them off in record time and certainly couldn’t complain about the price.
With everything done, we asked for our bill. The total was $68.05, which included tax. We felt this was a decent value. The service was friendly and engaging, so we had no complaints there.
Out of all the dinners, I seemed to have picked the big winners with the pozole and the carne adovada. Neil, on the other hand, was still talking about the odd texture of his rellenos. Dave seems content with his choice, but probably wouldn’t order it again.
I think, in the grand scheme, we felt the food at Blue Adobe was a step above average and if we were in the neighborhood, we would stop in for lunch or dinner. There was enough on the menu to interest me in a repeat visit.
I only wish all our meals had been as good as the carne adovada.
Blue Adobe Grille
10885 Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
Hours: Sunday through Thursday – 11 AM to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday – 11 AM to 11 PM
Notes: About one block north of Shea. A coupon for free sopapillas can be found on their website. A second location can be found in Mesa.