Where Local and Global Appetites Collide
Tucson: Dine at PY Steakhouse, Casino Del Sol

Tucson: Dine at PY Steakhouse, Casino Del Sol

calamari appetizer

While I have been to Casino Del Sol for events, I never ate at the PY Steakhouse until last week. My friend Anne and I opted to put our appetites in the very capable hands of executive chef Ryan Clark.

Let the four-course tasting menu begin:

We began with the calamari appetizer which here as a plentiful portion of fried calamari, pickled Padrón peppers, gochujang aioli and sweet chile vinaigrette.

So, what’s a Padron pepper? If you know what a Japanese shishito pepper is – the Padron is similar. Shishito peppers can now be found in Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. But if you are unfamiliar with either then the Padron is traditionally from Spain but now grown in Mexico. Depending how they are watered, these perplexing peppers can be mild or hot and green, yellowish or red.

In my mind, gochujang is similar to siracha but from Korea.

The beauty of this calamari dish was not only the presentation but the layers of flavors and textures – crunchy, spicy, fiery and sweet all in one mouthfeel.

satisfying salad

The second course presented the signature salad served on a chilled plate – now that’s class – of fall greens, roasted Brussel sprouts, squash, dates, goat cheese, goji and wheat berries, Marcona almonds with a vibrant horseradish buttermilk dressing.

These were a few of my favorite things and some things I didn’t even know I liked.

Then came a tiny scoop of palate-cleansing lemon sorbet.

Looking around the room, we immediately noticed that we could hear each other talk. While the sound insulation is invisible; it’s definitely in place because the ambiance is not ear splitting like in some restaurants which seems to be a trend that I despise. With flattering lighting, sparkling chandeliers and clean neutral lines – PY Steakhouse is obviously a place where grown-ups dine and celebrate the big and small events in their life.

beet ravioli

The third course was a bit of a surprise because I was hoping for a bite of grass fed steak which is something I might eat once a year. Instead we were served a lighter entrée of house-made beet ravioli stuffed with deer shank and lemon ricotta in an intense San Marzano tomato broth. Mercifully, the deer was not gamey.

We gave our waiter (Philip) at 10 for service. He recommended that Anne order the very dirty martini which she said was among the best. I sipped a glass zinfandel.

Our dessert – the fourth course – proved to be a crème brûlée like no other. While most brulee is creamy and smooth, this rustic rendition, once we broke through the blow-torched caramel-ish ceiling, was replaced with texture from Sonoran wheat, barley, farro and wheat berries. We both loved this surprising version.

Anne Lucic & Chef Ryan Clark

The menu features many cuts of steak, game, crab and lobster, duck breast, scallops. Vegetarians and vegans should dine elsewhere although there are available sides and salads and a good restaurant can accommodate most diet restrictions. Some of the local vendors are Exo Roast, Hamilton Distillers, Blue Sky Organics, Doublecheck Ranch, and Dragoon Brewery, among others.

Disclosure: Circle of Food blog was an invited media guest but the above words are my own.

For more info, please visit the website.

Written by Karyn Zoldan

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