Update January 2014: Searsucker in Scottsdale has closed.
Searsucker - What I Liked
- Inviting decor, not glitzy or kitschy
- Creative menu items with a great deal of variety
- More than 25 wines by the glass, priced starting at $8 as well as specialty drinks at $11 or $12
- Large, cool bar area
- Some servings (not all) are rather small, and some items are a bit pricey, although worth it
- Bar area is open to the dining room and the noise level was high.
- Menu description nonexistent. You must depend on your server for detailed explanations of menu items.
- I know it was only a buck, but don't have a charge for water (or anything) without telling me.
Searsucker Scottsdale - The Mood
Searsucker is located on the main level of an office building in downtown Scottsdale, just west of Neiman Marcus at the west end of Scottsdale Fashion Square. It might be considered off the beaten path since most restaurants in this area are in the other direction.
Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey named his popular San Diego restaurant Searsucker because seersucker is a comfortable, not-to-be-taken-too-seriously fabric. Chef Malarkey, wearing a seersucker vest, jeans and shoes but no socks, explained to me that he wants his restaurant to be special, but not too elitist or high minded. He has accomplished that goal in Scottsdale. The mix of different chairs, ropes hanging from fixtures, an occasional throw rug and an open kitchen make this an attractive but quirky and fun dining spot.
Searsucker Scottsdale - The Damages
Two of us had dinner at Searsucker in Scottsdale on a Wednesday evening. It was not crowded. We shared two small dishes, two entrees, one side and two desserts. Excluding beverages, tax and tip the dinner came to $104 for the two of us.
What I thought of Searsucker Scottsdale
Brian Malarkey, a nationally known Chef and author, as well as Food Network star as a Top Chef finalist, brings his popular California concept to Scottsdale, and it looks like a good fit. Searsucker is in a somewhat unlikely location in the expansive lobby of an office building, but it affords ample space and nearby parking.
The menu is exciting and perplexing at the same time. While the variety of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts and veggies (even waffle, grits, anchovy and onion jam) make decision making a challenge, the fact that the menu bears no real descriptions of the offerings makes it somewhat of an adventure. While our server efficiently answered all of our questions, I daresay that not one of the dishes, including the desserts, were presented as I had imagined them. The good news is that it didn't matter; it was a pleasant adventure.
All the tables on the evening I was at Searsucker were presented with a complimentary order of Cheddar Puffers. I found them dry and uninteresting. I was a little worried about the rest of the evening, if those biscuits were what they thought would set people in the right culinary mood. Thankfully, that was the only item of the evening that we did not thoroughly enjoy. We shared two items from the "Smalls" section of the menu. Shrimp Spicy + Bacon Grits and Egg + Bacon + Pork Belly. Both were larger than many small plates I've had in other restaurants and, at $12 each, were very reasonable appetizers. The shrimp was not as spicy as I expected but in a tasty sauce with the grits rounding out the item. The Pork Belly small plate might just have been my favorite dish of the evening. It's actually a pork belly benedict -- very flavorful. Our entrees could not have been from more opposite sides of the spectrum. The Shark "mako" was a lovely piece of fish topped with a generous portion of a sweet compote-like mixture of cherries and almonds. The Hanger "butcher's steak" was lower on the volume scale, several ounces of tender meat on a bed of watercress with a little barbecue sauce and hint of blue cheese. Our server recommended that we order a side of Fried Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts. She was right, it sounds strange. She was right, it was delicious.
Desserts are a little pricey at $9 each, but they are hefty portions. We ordered the Chocolate Mousse with a fudge brownie and coffee ice cream, and the Apple Napoleon with cinnamon sugar phyllo and maple glazed apples. Both desserts were delicious, each a unique combination of flavors and textures, and appealingly presented.
Business lunch, special occasion celebrations, girls night out, co-worker happy hour cocktails, date night -- it's all good at Searsucker.
Searsucker wasn't perfect, but 4-1/2 stars didn't seem right either. I was very happy with the experience, and I'm already creating a list of people that will enjoy Searsucker with me in the future.
Searsucker Scottsdale is located in downtown Scottsdale, just west of Scottsdale Fashion Square. It is open Monday through Friday for lunch and daily for dinner. There is a Sunday brunch.
6900 E. Camelback Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Here is a map to Scottsdale Fashion Square. The restaurant is just on the west end of the shopping mall. You can self-park in the garage under Neiman Marcus, no charge. Valet parking is free at lunchtime, there's a charge during dinner hours.
As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy. All prices and offerings mentioned are subject to change without notice. 01/13