FnB (Scottsdale, AZ)

On my second night in Arizona, I met up with my old friend Allyson. She wanted to try out a place in Scottsdale recommended by her friends, FnB. Opening back in 2009, FnB has gotten quite a bit of press in recent years, up to and including the head chef Charleen Badman winning the 2019 James Beard award for Best Chef of the Southwest. FnB is primarily known for doing farm-to-table cuisine with local ingredients (including the wine list; FnB has quite the list of Arizona winemakers in their cellar), serving up gastropub food in a modest restaurant space located off of Craftsman Court in Old Town Scottsdale.

The love of local producers extends to the beer menu as well; on my visit FnB was offering up 8 different beers on tap, 7 of which all came from Arizona (the holdout being a French beer from NV Brasserie de la Pigeonnelle, an organic, Belgian-style beer). Being a nice, sunny, warm day, I opted to stick with IPAs, going for a nice Spellbinder IPA from Wren House (which I need to visit at some point, they aren’t that far from the airport).

For the menu at FnB, they’ve taken an approach somewhat halfway between traditional appetizer-main menus and tapas-style a la carte, instead grouping the menu into light, medium, and larger dishes, encouraging each table to share several dishes among the diners. Neither my friend Allyson nor I were particularly starving, and decided that we’d choose three dishes across the menu to try things out. First up was a lighter shishito pepper dish. I’m always a sucker for shishito peppers, and the version at FNB is served up with confit tuna, potatoes, harissa mayo, and lemon. This combination worked pretty well; the harissa mayo and lemon doing a nice job of tying together the starchy potatoes with the spicy and soft shishitos. The confit tuna was tasty as well, but to be honest, I’d probably have enjoyed it a bit better as a something like a tataki. Still, quite pleasant.

Next up, some esquites. Normally a street food dish, when I usually get esquites it’s more of a “pre-processed elote street corn dish” of kernels tossed with some sauce and cheese. This dish was substantially reworked, with the corn component being almost soup-like. Add in some mayo, chiltepin (nice little round peppers), cotija, and purslane, and this was a good dish despite the unusual preparation.

Finally, the star of the meal: Jerk Quail, with chickpeas, potato, black-eyed peas, tomato, and curry. This dish was hitting on all cylinders: perfectly seasons and seared quail, served with poached tomatoes over a flavorful bed of chickpeas, peas, and potatoes, all lightly seasoned with a more-fragrant-than-spicy-hot curry sauce. This did a great job of showcasing the nicely-roasted quail without burying it.

Overall, there was a lot to enjoy about FnB. They obviously like, and do a good job with, local in-season vegetables, and working with local purveyors. The menu had a nice range of Southwest-inspired dishes with some interesting variations, and for the amount of food received, the prices were quite reasonable as well. I’d love to come back in another season and try out some new menu variations.

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