sunset bistro

Restaurant of the Week: SunSet Wine Bistro

All those who need to relax a bit, please stand up. [Entire Internet collectively stands.] Fear not, Scottsdale‘s SunSet Wine Bistro is here to save the day with a killer view, cozy seating, dizzyingly delicious wine and food, and laidback attitude wholly focused on helping guests chill out.

The bistro, now open at the Shops at Gainey Village, is the brainchild of French native Romain Lauro. His name may be familiar to some as he famously owned and operated Salute Wine Bar in Tempe for several years. Many, however, do not know prior to that he owned a high-end eatery in the heart of France.

The culinary veteran clearly has another hit on his hands with SunSet Wine Bistro, named as all of its floor-to-ceiling windows face due west allowing for breathtaking sunsets nightly. There is seating for just 20 inside and another 20 seats on the patio, allowing for the ultimate in intimacy. Expect a chic, clean and modern look inside, with a massive white chandelier serving as both an art installation and centerpiece of the space.

As it relates to wine, there is a beautiful combination of Old and New World wines from which to choose, with most coming from California and France. The Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon offerings are of particular note. In addition to wine, there are two or three sparkling wine-infused cocktails, each very light and easy to drink, and select domestic and imported beers as well.

Every single item on the food menu, which boasts ample starters, small plates and entrees as well as authentic French desserts, is made from scratch. While the weather is cold, be sure to start with the luscious, creamy tomato bisque, which is topped with chiffonade basil and paired with a full-size melty grilled cheese. It is clear from the gorgeous grill marks it is a true grilled cheese, meaning made on a real grill, versus something cooked on a stove for a few minutes before serving.  

Next, before moving onto the main dishes, order more shareables for the table and enjoy that first glass of wine. The hummus nachos – which guests will remember as among the most popular items at Salute – come two to a plate and have such an epic crispiness that it will be hard not to eat it all in one bite. The homemade hummus on top is simple by design so guests may enjoy the crunch, garnishment of onions and what tastes to be goat cheese, not to mention the generous drizzle of balsamic. Also opt for a selection of the bruschetta, especially the pesto chicken option as it is piled so high with ultra-flavorful meat and accompanying toppings that it feels more like an open-faced sandwich than quick, savory nibble.

From the mains, the SunSet Burger is a stunner. The mouthwatering patty is made from Wagyu and grilled to order before being topped with a thick slice of melted cheese, lettuce, thousand island dressing and caramelized onions, which are chopped very thin to make them so much easier to eat on top of a burger than the oft-served giant versions. Each burger comes with a plate of giant steak fries as well, which are seasoned with a magical herbed blend. Oh, and the bun is grilled brioche. Brioche! Bri-oche. If in the mood for something a bit lighter, there is also no going wrong with the pan-seared salmon with smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli topped with white wine-lemon beurre blanc.

Finally, the dessert menu is small but mighty, often with just one or two French-inspired options. Currently, there is Poire Belle Helene available, which is a classic French pear dessert with vanilla ice cream that has a dome of hot chocolate hardened over it as well as a mountain of fresh whipped cream garnished with sliced almonds.

After the visit? There is just one thing to say: Merci! Merci! Merci!

SunSet Wine Bistro is open Monday through Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. Happy hour is offered on weekdays from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and features $2 off beers, $3 off any glass of wine, $8 off any bottle of wine, and $3 off all appetizers on the menu.

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