Named one of Phoenix’s best new restaurants, The Gladly is a great addition to the heart of the Camelback corridor in Pheonix and it warranted a drive from North Scottsdale for us. It was opened by the critically acclaimed Chef of Citizen Public House, Chef Bernie Kantak, who rose to fame at Cowboy Ciao, and his partner and CEO Andrew Fritz who we had the pleasure to meet.
Located in a new glass corporate office building, the restaurant has the advantage of having high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows, which bring in a lot of light. There is a great private dining room that holds up to 60 people for a sit-down dinner. The roomy main dining space holds up to 122 people on two levels, and has a boisterous centrepiece bar. They also have a large outdoor patio that holds about 35 people. It is a chic urban spot, and Chef Kantak’s menu is all about globally inspired cuisine. The menu is eclectic and seems to focus on modern takes on comfort food.
There is a world-class beverage program. There are over 200 varieties of whiskies, as well as great wines, beers and cocktails. I had something called the Pan Am Sour, which consisted of kappa pisco, spiced pear simple syrup, lemon, egg white and angostura bitters. It was one of the best pisco sours I have ever had. The cocktails were quite reasonable at $11-13. The other great cocktail was the Madness to Marlowe, and it consisted of lime-infused vodka, watermelon tajin syrup, lime, and orange bitters on the rocks. It was SO delicious, I could make that drink a habit.
The menu is divided into appetizers, salads, small plates and mains. Of course I had to have the chefs signature dish that he made famous when he was head chef at Cowboy Ciao’s, his chopped salad. It consists of Israeli couscous, dried corn, arugula, tomatoes, pepitas, currants, asiago cheese, and mildly smoked salmon. The original version had chopped chicken instead of the salmon. It is drizzled with a buttermilk dressing. Not only is this a visually stunning presentation, the taste, once you toss it all together is just fantastic! It is by far the most ordered dish on the menu. The charred octopus with salt roasted potatoes, bone marrow aioli and grilled lemon was another gorgeous presentation.
For our mains we tried their two standout signature dishes. The pan-seared scallops on a bed of sweet corn grits, with tender belly bacon lardon, and sautéed pea tendrils in a cola gastrique. I personally found the dish over salted. I also would have preferred a thicker version of grits. It was actually difficult to tell they were grits because they were extremely puréed and creamy. But the duck meatloaf on a bed of creamy rosemary millet, topped with a foie gras mousse and a cherry demi-glaze was outstanding. The chef takes familiar fare and adds a playful and decadent twist to them.
Tracy Dempsey is their pastry chef and she is a contender for one of the best desserts in 2016. She provides eye-catching and mouthwatering desserts at the Gladly. Her apple bread pudding with bourbon pecan ice cream in a butterscotch sauce with cinnamon streusel was pretty impressive. We also tried the banana pudding in a mason jar topped with these crunchy peanut butter crispy bits, and a biscotti on the side.
Our server Kat was fantastic, informative, friendly and a real pleasure. I am sure the reason things run smoothly is because they are under the watchful eye of manager Christine Dimaria.
The restaurant is located at 2201 East Camelback Road. It is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch. The brunch menu looks wonderful too.
Great presentations and food pairings. Recommended!