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“Satisfying experience, but...”
Review of The Gathering - CLOSED

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The Gathering
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: American, Southwestern
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Phoenix AZ
Level Contributor
51 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Satisfying experience, but...”
Reviewed November 20, 2011

My wife and I have eaten at The Gathering several times in the last six months, most recently on a week night in mid November. This restaurant is part of the hotel complex at Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde, just off I-17 about an hour north of Phoenix. We keep coming back because we are generally satisfied with the quality of the food but there are issues which can make dining at this restaurant both unpredictable and disappointing.

The menu is small, and prices are typically in the mid- teens or low twenties for an entree, salad and two sides. The presentation is usually attractive. Obviously, the current chef is making an effort to position The Gathering as a somewhat up-scale dining experience in the area. A creative touch is the incorporation of southwest cuisine (i.e. cactus flavors) to feature a menu with a regionalized flare. The fresh fruit garnishes on a dessert we ordered rivaled what you would expect to see on a magazine cover.

Now for the "unpredictable and disappointing." Service ranges from excellent to poor, depending on your server. On one occasion, there were only three tables in the restaurant but it took 35 minutes (yes, over a half hour!) for our salads to appear. On another occasion, service was timely and excellent. On several occasions our water glasses remained empty for the duration of the meal despite a bus boy walking by our table multiple times. Other tables received a bread basket with their salads. When I asked our server about it, she said "the bus boy should have brought that."

When I asked our male server if the house white wine was chardonnay, he looked confused as if he had never heard that word before. He just shrugged his shoulders. That's an unacceptable response for a restaurant with a leather-bound wine book with selections in the $20 - $40+ range. How about a response like, "I'm not sure, but I'll find out for you right away."

I once ordered one of the house specialities (stuffed chicken breast ) which turned out to be a generous portion stuffed with amazing southwest flavors. I ordered the same item a month later. What I got was a small, luke warm piece of chicken (about half the size of the original) with hardly any of the flavorings of the original entree. In contrast, my wife's entree was piping hot and delicious.

Once, the restaurant was out of the evening's special an hour after it opened. On another occasion, we asked to speak with the manager and were told by the hostess, "Right now, we don't have a manager."

On many occasions, the lighting for dinner is bright enough to resemble a fast food restaurant even though the decor suggests fine dining in a relaxing atmosphere. The soothing music playing in the background is appropriate until you realize it's a radio station and every 20 minutes you hear annoying advertisements at twice the volume of the music.

If you are fortunate enough to get the right server, order the right entree and are not concerned with some of the other issues mentioned above, you can have a very pleasant dining experience at The Gathering. Since it's one of the very few restaurants in this remote area and is associated with the casino, it will most likely survive. However, stronger and more consistent management could make The Gathering excel.

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

34 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    16
    10
    4
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Camp Verde, Arizona
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A real gem in a little town”
Reviewed June 6, 2011

As residents of Camp Verde we often dine at the Gathering. The staff are always courteous and go out of their way to make us feel special. The atmosphere is very welcoming and relaxing. The food is well prepared and the presentation is that of a higher end restaurant. I definetly recommend the house aole and the mustard wings.
The quality of the dinners is consistently good and the menu offers a wide variety of choices. I like to think of the Gathering as a polished gem in a small town.

  • Visited June 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Kittyfortax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
70 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“My husband and I stopped here after...”
Reviewed October 1, 2010

My husband and I stopped here after leaving Montezuma Castle National Monument. We like to try local restaurants when possible. This one was in the hotel next to the Indian casino there. The house soup, a chicken tortilla soup, was very good as was the Black Forest ham sandwich, another restaurant specialty. My husband ordered the daily special, fried haddock with cole slaw and fries. He said it was okay. The iced tea was delicious and we were given as much as we wanted.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DreamPlannerPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sedona, Arizona
Level Contributor
167 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Nobody gathers there”
Reviewed March 7, 2010

Part of the hotel near the casino, this is the hotel restaurant. If it is Asian, I guess I never ate that kind of Asian food. I would say more American than anything with some Southwest thrown in. They have a full service bar with a fantastic bartender. They have nightly specials on food and drinks. Except for New Year's Eve, we have never found it to be crowded. While it is nice-sized, clean, great salads, attentive staff, the staff takes a while to warm up. The food has always been good and a very good value for the money, however, the food is inconsistent and often non-existent. How they stay in business is a mystery. Everytime we go there, they are out of something. We feel like just going and saying "Hey, what have you got to eat tonight?" We go there regularly and put up with their idiosyncrasies, but they need to get their act together. I can't imagine that you would go back if you did not have a sense of humor about their food. Example - they have pasta- no meatballs or sausage, but you can get chicken or shrimp. Another time we went to have their baked chicken, and they had one left - at 6:00 pm. Everything we have had has been very good, very nice presentations, very good prices, but I can see why some people would not return. It has great potential, though.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jpad108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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