Culinary Dropout a pretty people place with some amazing comfort food options

I’ve been wanting to try Culinary Dropout in Scottsdale for awhile now.  It’s one of Sam Fox’s restaurants (the guy is behind such gems as True Food Kitchen), and it’s always packed on weekend nights.

When I went there for dinner last night, it was also super-busy, and at 8 p.m., our party for three had to wait a half-hour for a table. Not bad for a restaurant these days–glad to see some are still thriving.

The place is pretty gorgeous. The beautiful patio has huge comfy seating, as well as a chandelier. There’s another chandelier inside, and there’s a giant purple wall where the kitchen is. This used to be Pink Taco, and they really re-vamped the space to give it a whole new feel.

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Seating inside is also ultra-comfortable, with plush, couch-like seating and huge armchairs. The pretty atmosphere is juxtaposed with bare bones, paper menus and a casual staff, who, luckily, get to wear whatever they want. And because this is central Scottsdale, that means the staff is attractive and hip, as is the majority of the crowd. I can see why Scottsdale socialites flock to this spot.

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The menu consists of comfort food dishes, including grilled cheese sliders, burgers and fried chicken. My party started off with the delicious Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondue ($10), which melted in my mouth and were so good, we had to order extra pretzels ($2). It was rich and very satisfying.

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For my entree, I had Ricotta Gnocchi with mushrooms ($14)–I opted to leave the sausage off. I was really disappointed with this. While I loved the fresh cheese grated on top, the gnocchi was drenched in this heavy broth that almost melted the gnocchi. It also wasn’t a very tasty sauce. I guess I should have just asked for a thicker sauce, because I almost felt like I was eating soup.

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The dessert more than made up for the entree, though. We had Apple Monkey Bread ($8), a concoction of warm and gooey, cinnamon-y bread drenched in a caramel sauce and served with ice cream. It was amazing and worth the trip to the restaurant alone.

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While I loved some of the food, Culinary Dropout definitely had a “beautiful people” vibe that might put some people off. The service was decent for being that type of place, though, and if you plan on going, make a reservation, since I’m sure this spot is going to stay busy for awhile.