Last night, I had one of the most delicious meals of my life at Different Pointe of View in Phoenix. I’ve never been to this gorgeous AAA Four Diamond restaurant overlooking Phoenix, part of the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, and we were immediately treated to beautiful skies and glittering city lights.
I went there for the Insider’s Point of View dinner, where Chef Anthony DeMuro prepares a four-course dinner tableside for only 12 guests. Attendees are treated to a wine reception with appetizers out at that breathtaking patio before heading in to the chef’s table, with each course paired with a complementary wine. The dinner is held every month besides summer months, and this season goes through May 1. Every featured winemaker is different depending on the dinner, and last night, we were treated to the delicious J. Hofstätter wine from Italy, a winery dating back four generations.
We started out with Pinot Grigio out of the patio with an artichoke appetizer (Different Pointe of View was kind enough to offer vegetarian alternatives for me outside the regular menu — they’ll work with any dietary needs.) The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with lots of room for guests to spread out and take in the view.
As an introvert who gets nervous at group dinners, the chef’s dinner was so much fun and low-stress. Diners are spread out around the makeshift kitchen, and Chef Anthony lets diners know exactly how he’s cooking dishes — it’s like a live cooking show in such a romantic setting overlooking the city.
I love cooking but definitely can use all the tips I can get, and I learned a ton from Chef Anthony, especially in regards to risotto, a difficult dish to perfect, even for the pros. He advised to aim to get the rice crackling when it hits the oil-filled pan, and to treat it like pasta — get it to the consistency you desire in the broth you’re simmering it in, then drain it.
As someone who regularly botches any type of rice, I appreciated his tips. I also had purple cauliflower for the first time, in the absolutely amazing course featuring a spinach polenta cake, abalone and yellowfeet mushrooms, and a smoked tomato sauce. It was paired with a great Pinot Noir that was devoid of a heavy oak-y flavor, because J. Hofstätter wine is housed in stainless steel, not wooden barrels.
Our first course was light and refreshing but still really flavorful. My seafood-eating companion had lobster tail with a frisée salad with lemon zest, herbs, roasted garlic oil and garlic chips, while I had mine sans lobster.
I loved the crunchy texture, and it paired wonderfully with the J. Hofstätter Pinot Bianco, a crisp white wine. My companion doesn’t normally prefer white over red wine, but he loved the Pinot Bianco.
Like Chef Anthony did a wonderful job at explaining the cooking process, winemaker Martin Foradori talked about the winemaking process and reminded diners how important acidity is when pairing wines with food. His vineyard has altitudes up to 6,000 feet, and it was really neat to hear about making wine in Italy while we sipped his vino.
While we noshed on the veggie polenta dish, our companions enjoyed wild boar.
My favorite dish of the night was the herb risotto with golden beets, artichoke hearts and a broccoli rabe sauce — meat-eaters got short ribs braised in veal stock. It was paired with J. Hofstätter’s Lagrein red wine, which is generally related to a Syrah, compared to the elegant Pinot Noir. Foradori described this wine as fresh and fruity, and it was a great addition to the tasty dish.
Of course, dessert was a treat, a chocolate cherry balsamic cake with chocolate ganache and a chocolate balsamic sauce. The texture was moist and creamy, and I tried to get every last drop of sauce to cover the cake. I loved the cherry flavor, which related well to the red wines, too.
The dining experience was more than a two-hour feast, and it was so much fun, in addition to making my stomach so happy. The wine dinner is a great value at $99 a person, because you get unique one-on-one time with the chef and so many tasty glasses of wine in addition to the farm-fresh dishes that are incredibly healthy.
The next dinner is Friday, March 6, with wine’s from Italy’s Tedeschi Wines. Reservations can be made by calling (602) 866-6350, and you can learn all about the gem of a restaurant here.