I have always felt that Kai on the Gila Indian Reservation was not only the best fine dining restaurant in Arizona, but also one of the best in the United States. We go to Kai 2 or 3 times a year and each visit is magical. Reservations are essential and the restaurant will call you prior to remind you of both the reservation and dress code. The welcome at the hostess stand and by the staff is very warm.
Once the ice-cold martinis are served, the black clothed waiter will present the menu along with an understanding of how the Pima Indian culture relates to both the food and the presentation. We tend to begin (Kai refers to it as "The Birth") with an incredible salad "that is inspired by the local farmers & children of the Gila Crossing School". Kai does a great job of using ingredients from both the reservation and parts of Arizona. The second course of the dinner is "The Beginning" which I always go for the Lobster Degustation. The sauces used with this course are perfect.
The selection of entrees do not change that frequently, which is just fine. The Grilled Tenderloin of Tribal Buffalo is out-of-this-world. The buffalo, I believe comes from a reservation outside of Arizona. My wife prefers the Saffron Poached Spanish Turbot, but as long as the buffalo is offered my choice will be made ahead of time.
The service is most noteworthy and it has always been perfect whether it has been just the two of us or when we hosted a party of 12 in their private room. Of their two main dining rooms, we prefer the one in the back. We did have a concern with the recent announcement that Executive Chef Michael O'Dowd would be leaving the restaurant (he made it what it is), yet knowing that this is a well managed business, that Kai will not loose it's perfection.
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