Date night. Time to get away from the kids, forget about the laundry and feel like an important, well cared for adult. I love going to great restaurants on date night. They care about their food. They care about the way they treat their patrons. They care about the ambiance they create. Dorian is no exception.
My husband and I arrived at sunset on a very quiet Thursday night. We drove around the heart of downtown Scottsdale to scope out the vibe of tonight's nightlife scene. It was about 108 degrees at 6:30 pm, and there wasn't a soul in sight. Anywhere. Every restaurant was completely empty. Except for Dorian.
We pulled up to find the patio open and beautiful flowers blooming near the sidewalk. We could hear the laughter and feel the energy of the large party dining inside Dorian. The open patio doors gave us a preview of the gorgeous Victorian decor, but as soon as we walked in, we were in awe of everything we saw. Dorian's booths, chairs and sofas are lavishly covered in a luxurious velvet that immediately gives the soul a soothing feel. I wanted to summon my inner poodle and roll around on everything like a puppy! Any couple on a date would want to immediately cuddle up in one of the sky blue booths and begin rubbing (the velvet I mean, but you see where I'm going with this). A large crystal chandelier and a plush white chaise-lounge style sofa are positioned front and center to give the restaurant a posh, swanky living room vibe. The mood gets lifted just a bit with a steampunk mix...a few paintings, and some goggles on an angel statue at the bar, and then, there's the ever-famous painting of Dorian Gray on the wall. This is the restaurant's namesake, and if I could guess correctly, it's definitely a place that the man himself would frequent, were he a young Phoenician in today's society.
Sherylann greeted and sat us, inviting us to order some signature cocktails. She had to twist my arm REALLY hard (not). Hubby ordered the Trifecta, a refreshing bourbon drink with honey and grapefruit. My drink was an impromptu creation with bubbles, bourbon and sweet fruit, something that the table next to us noticed and immediately ordered. It was an instant hit!
Dorian's menu is simple and clean. There are a lot of fresh flavors, fruits and vegetables. Their bruschettas and boards were flying out of the kitchen like crazy, and we opted for the Goat Cheese & Salted Pear Bruschetta with a Citrus Glaze. This dish was a perfect starter with a crunchy, perfectly toasted bruschetta, creamy and mild goat cheese, thickly sliced sweet pear, and a big drizzle of what almost seemed like a salted caramel citrus glaze. It was heavenly and excited my tastebuds for more.
Now, for me on a date night, I don't like to eat big, heavy meals. I love being able to go to dinner early and then bar hop after or go see a show. Not to mention, my hips could always use a break from burgers (and Dorian had some AMAZING looking burgers)! I opted for the Tamari Marinated Tuna Crudo Salad, and the hubby followed seafood suit with the Chard Atlantic Salmon. Both dishes were beautiful and delicious. The Tuna Crudo salad had fresh arugula and greens, yuzu, organic cucumber, fresh sprouts and crunchy onions. It plated beautifully and had a light, refreshing flavor.
The salmon dish was also very healthy and well plated. The perfectly seared salmon was accompanied by a roasted butternut squash puree and balsamic glazed brussels sprouts. This dish would make just about any fitness buff or finicky foodie weak in the knees. It was balanced, colorful and flavorful.
For dessert, we were feeling a bit tropical with all of our fruity drinks and seafood dishes, so we ordered the Vanilla Roasted Hawaiian Pineapple. It was served with a natural caramel, a crisp pastry, and some vanilla bean gelato. In my mind, the pineapple alone would have been amazing, but the creamy gelato and the crunchy pastry gave the dish balance and texture. It was a perfect finish.
All in all, we really enjoyed everything about Dorian. It spoke to our sci-fi nerd, our Hawaiian fitness adventure enthusiast, and our romantic, married Scottsdale couple. Yes...we're complicated...and Dorian knows it. I hope you can enjoy all the different places, spaces and faces that Dorian has to offer. Bon Appetit!
Note and Disclaimer: Restaurant reviews are NOT paid. At times restaurants do trade complimentary meals in exchange for photos and/or reviews, but those reviews are NOT expected by the restaurants to be positive. I choose however ONLY to document my positive experiences. If I encounter a meal or a restaurant experience that I don't think is a good one, I simply don't publish the result. This website is all about GOOD FOOD and GREAT PLACES!