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“Lives Up To It's Reputation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kai Restaurant

Kai Restaurant
5594 W Wild Horse Pass Blvd, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Chandler, AZ 85070-4000
(602) 225-0100
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Ranked #1 of 523 Restaurants in Chandler
Price range: $0 - $80
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: I-10 and Wild Horse Pass Blvd
Description: Recipient of the Coveted AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Five-Star Award, KAI, meaning 'seed' in the Pima language, features a menu rich in creativity, history and Native American culture. Executive Chef Conor Favre and Chef de Cuisine Joshua Johnson incorporate the essence of the Pima and Maricopa tribes and locally farmed ingredients from the Gila River Indian Community to create unforgettable masterpieces. James Beard Award-winning Chef Janos Wilder is consulting chef for KAI and is renowned for creating unique and indigenous menu experiences. Open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday, reservations are strongly recommended. KAI maintains a smart business casual dress code. It prohibits hats, T-shirts, and shorts for both ladies and gentlemen, including open-toed sandals for men. Dress hats for ladies are acceptable. Denim is not preferred. As a courtesy to other diners, please refrain from using cell phones or laptops in the dining room.
NYC
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Lives Up To It's Reputation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2014

When visiting Arizona you quickly become aware of how much space there is and how everything is spread out. This space and quiet is carried indoors at Kai. You have a wonderfully quiet space where no on is shouting and pleasent conversation takes place. The total experience was perfect. The service is professional. The setting is soothing. The cocktails are exciting (one week later my wife is still talking about her drink). And the food exquisite. We had a wonderful, memorable meal. Of course this comes at a cost. If you are not prepared to spend over $100/person, don't come here. Otherwise you will have a very enjoyable evening.
One last point, my 10 year old daughter was treated with respect. When the head waiter saw she was challenged by the menu he mentioned a more basic menu from the sister restaurant at the hotel. Nevertheless she ordered buffalo filet off the main menu, ate it all and was proud of her evening.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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245 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    214
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    5
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tempe, Arizona
1 review
“Pampered Deliciousness”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

When my parents flew in to visit from Boston, I had high expectations for their wedding anniversary dinner. Kai exceeded those expectations tenfold.

Jackson, our server, outright pampered us. My parents repeatedly commented on the level of service as unsurpassed by any other place they have been. And as for the food, we continually shared looks of amazement as the culinary wonders that chef prepared blew our minds. I could not have asked for a better experience.

Oh, and get this. My wife and I had been there once before about 3 months ago. Our server from that meal recognized us and checked in periodically to say hello and fill us in on menu changes and ensure we felt welcome.

If you're in Phoenix, make a reservation, and go. You won't be disappointed.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ahwatukee, Arizona, United States
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
95 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“An Incredible Dinner on a Cold December Night”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

When a top restaurant has a change in Executive Chefs, one always has a worry that the presentation and quality previously enjoyed will no longer be there. For ten years we have enjoyed the outstanding food prepared by Chef Michael O’Dowd at Kai Restaurant on the Gila Indian Reservation. Once our reservation was made, we would wait in anticipation of again enjoying a magical dinner. Chef O’Dowd has been gone for a while, so it was time to see what the new chef, Chef Conor Favre has done with Kai. The wow factor has gone up. I guess you would call that a wow on top of a wow!

Kai is a beautiful two room restaurant that is elegant and refined. They also have a separate wine room for smaller private parties. The greeting from the hostess stand is always respectful and friendly. You do sense that you are welcomed in this place. With soft Native American music playing in the background you know that you are indeed in a special place.

The team that serves your table is very professional. Dressed in black, the servers and their helpers roam the room like a quiet group of Ninja’s. When ordering the pre-dinner martini’s there is no need to ask that the drinks be shaken 15 times. This restaurant teaches and does not need to be taught. The drinks were perfect.

My wife and I tend to start with “The Birth” which for us is the salad “Inspired by Local Farmers and the Children of the Gila Crossing School”. The children of the school used to be the sole source of the greens. As with all dishes served at Kai what really gives them the magic are the sauces used with the dish, often aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sautéed. What was new for our salads was the timbale of Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Comfort, Crow’s Dairy Feta Cheese, Queen Creek Olive Oil and on top of that they drizzled White Honey Lime. All three varieties of bread that we were served were used to finish that sauce……simply incredible.

We then moved on to “The Journey” which are the entrees. For as many times that we have dined at Kai, I continue to have a medium rare Tenderloin of Tribal Buffalo, which I believe comes from a reservation in Wyoming. I have never had finer tenderloin and again what made it even more outstanding was the sauce; a mixture of Smoked Corn Puree with colla buds along with a Merquez sausage & Scarlett Runner Bean Chili topped with a Saguaro Blossom Syrup.

My wife, aka the fish lady, had what she said was the finest entrée that she ever had at Kai. She ordered the Chefs Gallimaufry of Sustainable Seafood with Ramona Farms Inspired Stew, which most certainly was a hotchpotch of various fish with the stew actually being again an inspired sauce of Black-eyed Peas, Brown & White Tepary Beans, I’itoi Onions (probably from the Tohono O-Odham reservation) and a Mulato Chile Sofrito prepared like the best that we have had in Latin America. When her plate is 100% clean, that is an indication that something very special occurred tonight.

What did we have for desert? Nothing, we were simply beyond that stage. I would also recommend the use of the hotel valet service. Very nice leaving the restaurant and having your vehicle at the front door with a couple bottles of Norwegian VOSS water waiting in your car along with a note from your server thanking you for dining at Kai. A very nice gesture and immediately we start planning our next visit.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A wonderful evening”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2013

Everything at Kai is truly exceptional and the 5-star / 5-diamond ratings are well deserved. We spent our anniversary at Kai and were greeted by name as we entered the restaurant. All details were attended to including hanging our jackets. The Sommelier spent a good deal of time with us at the beginning in selecting the wine from an extensive wine list. The food was exceptional. We particularly enjoyed the squash/pumpkin soup, the field greens with eggplant, and the root vegetables salad. The staff was very attentive to my gluten-free diet and indicated which items would be gluten-free and which the chef could modify to be gluten-free. When bread service came, I was very surprised to see that the chef had grilled gluten-free bread for me which was delicious. The service was very attentive but not overbearing. Every touch made the evening memorable. When we exited the hotel to get our car from the valet, the valet greeted us by name and had the car waiting for us. Inside the car were bottles of water for the ride home, a box of chocolates, and a thank you card from our server. I can't think of any way to make a restaurant experience any better. This truly was a 5-star experience.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arizona
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Spectacular culinary event”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

Amazing culinary adventure to be sure. This was my birthday present from my lovely wife. We were joined with our best Foodie friends for this fantastic dining experience. Paul P's review was spot on for the ambiance, level of service and spectacular dining fare.
We opted for the "Short Story" tasting menu, paired with wines. I have no idea how I'd be able to survive the 11 course "Journey" tasting menu. We were dining for just under 2 1/2 hours as it was! We did add the Foie Gras to make it an eight course meal. If you have the time, spirit of adventure and disposable income, I highly recommend this restaurant and menu choice.
Our server, Feliciano, was as terrific as the food. He made sure all our needs were addressed and each course was described with precise detail. Our Sommelier, whose name I unfortunately don't remember, also did an amazing job pairing some fantastic wines with each course. He took us from Hungary to Argentina, and all points in between.
Was it the best meal I've ever had? I don't know, but I'm having a hard time remembering a better meal.

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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