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“Worth the trip”
Review of The House at Secret Garden - CLOSED

The House at Secret Garden
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 25th Street & Baseline Road
Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
117 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
Reviewed March 25, 2011

Actually found the House at Secret Garden on the Internet while trying to find a spot that served desserts by Tracey Dempsey. Even though it was a 30 minute drive from our hotel (JW Marriott Camelback), it was well worth it. As it turned out, the desserts placed 2nd to the food. It was a beautiful night for Al fresco dining, and the "Garden" was lovely. Food selections were excellent, flavorful with simple but elegant presentation.

  • Visited March 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MarkhMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

43 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    27
    8
    4
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Different in a good way”
Reviewed February 4, 2011

We have eaten here twice and the food was really very good. We had the shrimp and grits, a short rib dish and a pasta dish. All of the dishes had truly great flavor. We also had some of the sweet potato planks with pancetta and they were amazingly good. We ordered dessert - even though we were totally stuffed -- just because we wanted to try a piece of the yummy sounding chocolate cake. Good thing we did because it was outstanding. It was very dense and moist without being gummy and had the most intense chocolate flavor to it (in a good way). And not too sweet either. The setting is lovely too if you like buildings and gardens with character. Nice service too.

Visited January 2011
Helpful?
Thank abby081
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
251 reviews
133 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“Not a Secret for Long”
Reviewed December 7, 2010

Ten of us spread out into a semi-private room at The House last week for dinner and then made our way out back to the Urban Barn for a little live jazz/blues from the infamous Paris James. What a cool place! There are 3 distinct atmospheres to enjoy: the historic Spanish mansion with wood floors and a full menu; the chic urban barn out back; and a cozy fire lit alfresco dining patio separating the two.

I'm a sucker for restaurants in old houses, so the atmosphere was sensational but also, the menu was spot on. With words like "maya's farm, mcclendon farms, queen creek olive mill, homemade pasta, seasonal vegetables and Tracy Dempsey" you can't go wrong.

Everything was excellent but there were several dishes worth an extra mention. The sweet potato planks were not your typical deep-fried plank. These were round, perfectly cooked creamy sweetness with crisp pancetta wheels on top. The grilled bread served with the mussels and the artisan cheese plate actually tasted grilled. So often you get the grill marks but not the taste. Not so here. The seasonal salad was super fresh and full of veggie goodness, including crisp slices of watermelon radish. The best of all though, sure to be my newest craving food, was the handmade papardelle pasta with local fennel sausage and pecorino cheese. It couldn't have been better. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, it melted in my mouth.

If nothing else, go for apps and drinks. Happy Hour prices are very reasonable and the cocktail menu is eclectic and fun. Again, when you mix booze with ingredients like basil, cucumber, cactus, rosemary, figs and pear, what could go wrong? Nothing, in my book.

Where we went wrong was by not ordering dessert. Local pastry chef, baker and candy maker Tracy Dempsey’s desserts would have been a perfect end if we weren't so full. On a side note, pick up some of her bacon brittle wherever you can get it. And her homemade marshmallows and caramels are insanely good. If you don't eat them all yourself, they make ideal hostess gifts.

After dinner we joined a lively group in the Urban Barn for music by Paris James. We met co-owner Pat Christofolo (Santa Barbara Catering and The Farm Kitchen at South Mountain) and her husband Greg (we call him George).They hung out and talked food with us and we had a great time. Bottles of wine were 1/2 price - Score! - and we were especially excited to see a well-conceived wine list complete with AZ winemaker Sam Pillsbury's '08 Roan Red (hard to get if you even can) and Foxen's Pinot Noir.

Great job, guys. Keep it up!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelVal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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