Scottsdale swank meets Southern Californian cuisine at Dorian, an ideal spot for dinner and cocktails before a night out in Old Town.
The interior design of Dorian can make one feel like they’re stepping into a modern vision of Paris in Victorian times. The haunting artwork, plush seating, and angelic (literally) statue overlooking the circular bar all conspire to transport you to the 1890 Oscar Wilde novel for which the restaurant is named. It’s almost like Midnight in Paris – without all the whining.
Half of the six signature cocktails feature Chandon Brut Classic, but each one has its own style and taste. The eponymous cocktail includes Hennessy VSOP, lemon and sugar. The Madam with Ciroc Mango vodka and mango honey syrup has a strong honeysuckle flavor, and the Chandon No. 5 is made with gin and Creme de Violette for a beautiful blue hue and a complex floral taste. Another standout in the cocktails is The Trifecta – a simple Bulleit Bourbon cocktail similar to a Brown Derby.
The wine and champagne list is impressive. It’s curated by General Manager and sommelier Sherylann Kensington and features some excellent value when compared to other wine lists in the area. If you feel like splurging, you can always go with a bottle of Veuve or Dom, but there are multiple standouts in every category that can be enjoyed for under $100. Kensington also does a wonderful job of pairing the wine with your food selection if you’d like.
Appetizers include Orange Chicken Skewers, which are served over sushi rice. The chicken is extremely tender and the sauce is delicate. Extra sauce on the side is a must. One of the top highlights of the entire evening was the Mini Ravioli dish. Everything about it was perfect. The textures, the earthiness from the mushrooms and beef jus, the richness from the ricotta dollop on top and the big flavor from the tiny ravioli.
There are so many places doing bruschetta now, it’s easy to scroll right on by that section. That would be a big mistake at Dorian. They use local favorite Noble Bread for all of their options and it makes all the difference in the world. They also avoid the same tired toppings with selections like Goat Cheese and Salted Pear with a Citrus Glaze and Warm Brie with an Apricot and Thyme Compote. If they start doing the “bottle and board” deal that seemingly everyone does – with this wine list and these bruschetti – get ready to see it on some “best of” lists.
Salads are also given plenty of attention at Dorian. We tried the Baked Avocado and Grapefruit Salad – a new item to the Dorian menu. The watercress and avocado are colorful and fresh. The grapefruit pieces give just a touch of citrus flavor and the green onion ginger vinaigrette complements the ingredients well.
There are only four main dishes and two of them are burgers. Fortunately, with all the other options across the menu, you still have plenty of choices to make a meal from. Also, by focusing on a smaller number of items, Executive Chef Kurtis Smith can make sure everything that comes out of the kitchen meets his standards. The burgers are the Sweet and Spicy Burger – made famous when The Grind in Arcadia was open – and the Ash Brie Burger with Crispy Mushrooms. The Ash Brie cheese gives a creaminess and smokiness that make this burger a standout. The reduced red wine glaze keeps the burger juicy and rich. The other options are a Brown Butter and Herb Based Bistro Steak, and a Chard Atlantic Salmon that sits on a roasted butternut squash puree with some delicious balsamic-glazed brussel sprouts.
In the desserts, the Vanilla Roasted Hawaiian Pineapple is served with a vanilla bean gelato and is a great way to finish the meal.
Between the ambience and the quality of the food, Dorian is a wonderful place for cocktails and some light bites or a bottle of wine and a full meal. After you get done, ask to go through the secret door and spend some time in the opulent Blind Dragon karaoke lounge. It certainly will make for an unforgettable evening.
Dorian is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.
For more information, visit dorianscottsdale.com.