When we have the opportunity, we try to find at least one “splurge” restaurant that really represents the local food culture. Quiessence at The Farm was definitely that place for our recent trip to Phoenix. Located near South Mountain on a property that is often rented for weddings and other large parties, Quiessence is settled at the end of a long, tree-lined drive with lights adorning the trees, crossing the path, and surrounding the structures. Needless to say, driving to dinner is the beginning of this special experience.
With a focus on fresh, local food, some of which is grown in their own gardens, Quiessence is a easy stop for pescatarians and vegetarians alike. We loved listening to the stories our server would tell of most of the ingredients, where they came from, who produces them, why they chose this farmer, etc. Yes, it felt a bit “Portlandian,” but it demonstrated the pride they felt in the ingredients they chose instead of seeming at all pretentious. The presentation of the food was incredibly beautiful – we had to pause at the beginning of each course just to admire the creativity, time, and care they took into plating our meal.
We also enjoyed trying the Arizona wines on the menu. Our server paired each course with a different Arizona wine and explained each wine as it arrived. Arizona is not well known as a wine region, and much of the wine coming from Arizona is not really our style, however, the wines Quiessence paired with our meal were very impressive.
We were the first to arrive and among the last to leave. We loved the slow, relaxing atmosphere and the knowledge that was gained from the meal. If you’re looking for a special treat in that area give Quiessence a try. I do recommend reservations – the restaurant may not seem overly busy, but I think that feel is intentional. I also think they only seat each table once per evening so that everyone can enjoy their meal without feeling rushed. If you love eating outside there is a patio and one very special table off to itself near a large wood burning oven that looked like the perfect setting. We were there in the fall and the evening was very cool so we sat inside, but on another, warmer evening, we would love that table. The items listed below should be considered only as a sample. The menu changes regularly depending on the season. Check the website or call for a more current/specific menu if needed before you go. Enjoy!
- Artisan & Farmstand Fromage Board – Local Cheese, Brick Oven Bread, Artisan Loaves, Seasonal Pestos and Jams (This was beautiful and incredible)
- Parsnip Soup – Crispy I’itoi, Opal Apples, Parsnip Chips (This comes with bacon that can be left off)
- Roasted Beet Semi Salad – Smokey Blue Cheese Dressing, Goldren/Red Beets, Sunchoke Chips, Arugula, Hazelnuts
- Quiessence Seasonal Green Salad – Preserved Meyer Lemon Dressing, Pistachio, Shaved Kolrabi, Parmesan
- Maya’s Foraged Garden – A Daily Offering from Maya’s Garden of Seasonal Vegetables
- Potato Gnocchi – Mascarpone, Rainbow Chard, Portabella, Tomato, Fried Sage (this often contains a meat component that can be left off in order to make a vegetarian version, however, chicken broth may be used in the sauce – it’s worth and ask before ordering)
- Hamachi Crudo – Citrus Salsa Verde, Citrus Caviar, Micro Cilantro, Garlic Chips
- Wild Black Cod – Sweet Potato Fumet, Eggplant Chips, Poached Tomatoes, Chive Creme Fraiche, Braised Greens, Baby Beet Tops