We had a quick overnight in blazing hot Phoenix on a recent family road trip (click here to read more about our Big Gay Road Trip), and had two meals to die for – dinner at Fat Ox and brunch at The Henry. It’s hard to please the four separate and discerning tastes in our family, and these places happily filled the bill for each of us. They are both in the Scottsdale area, and we highly recommend them to you.

In advance of our trip, I scoped out good restaurant choices on Eater Phoenix. Do you ever consult Eater for restaurant recommendations? It’s my favorite site, because the reviews are created by real foodies who live in that city and possess actual knowledge of what good food tastes like (unlike Yelp, which requires you to trust random people who sometimes know not of what they bitch about).

Man is it hot in Phoenix during the summer – good thing the Kia Sorento had strong AC!

Fat Ox

Fat Ox had a great recommendation from Eater, and I was looking for an Italian place that was upscale, casual and delicious – Fat Ox was all three. Located in Scottsdale, just a quick drive from the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak where we were staying, Fat Ox is a chic restaurant with a full bar and white table clothes. The people inside were dressed smartly and on this Saturday night, ready for a nice evening. Good thing we brought some snappy summer clothes so we could fit in!

And the menu at Fat Ox? It was an incredible collection of deliciousness. We were hungry after that long drive from San Diego, so we sampled:

  • Tableside Caesar with all the regular goodness plus fried capers to add a little punch
  • Veal Meatballs with polenta and San Marzano tomato sauce
  • Cheese and Salumi platter was filled with delicious meats, cheeses, olives, honey and more
  • Steamed Mussels with nduja (a spicy pork salume) and fennel
  • Garganelli Pasta with truffle butter, speck and parmesan
  • Rigatoni Lamb Verde with green tomato, fennel pollen and pecorino
  • And another pasta special I cannot remember but was damn good

The Bailey-Klugh Family rating: 4.5 stars

The Henry

Meeting some much-loved family that lives in Scottsdale the next morning was a treat, and the place they picked for breakfast was a perfect choice. The décor and food at The Henry were both exemplary, and once again we plowed through a series of menu items – in the name of research, of course. Note: they have a bakery window with to-go items that looked out of this world. Next time!

Deliciousness from the take-out bakery at The Henry

Some of our favs from the brunch menu at The Henry included:

  • Sophia: Smashed Avocado Toast (without egg) – Sophia is an aficionado of avo toast, and this one wowed
  • Ava: Caramel Apple French Toast with brown butter cinnamon apple and maple syrup – for some reason Ava picked off the apples, but loved the dish
  • Triton: Spicy Sausage Scramble with chicken sausage, zucchini, corn, spinach, grilled onion and havarti – loved it
  • Jon: Huevos Rancheros with all the regular fixin’s – a perfect combo of crunchy tortillas, eggs over easy, salsa and beans
  • Of course, we had to start off with a couple of The Henry’s famous Brown Butter Salted Caramel Roll, which was served decadently warm, sweet and gooey.

There is also a pretty wicked Bloody Mary Cart that comes to you tableside so you can mix and match all the goodies into your concoction.

The interiors of The Henry are cozy and chic

The Bailey-Klugh Family rating: Again, 4.5 stars

No matter that Phoenix is hotter than the surface of the sun (but it’s a dry heat, they said as we left the cool air-conditioned restaurant for the furnace the locals call “outside”). These two eats (and the great swimming pools) were worth the visit, and I look forward to coming back again soon so we can sample the rest of their menus.