Hailed as being one of the most sophisticated and serene resorts in the entire southwest, L’Auberge de Sedona already has a pretty pristine reputation — known for its expansive property, unforgettable views, and even more memorable food. Now, with the appointment of Ryan Swanson as executive chef of the resort’s on-site flagship restaurant, Cress on Oak Creek, the resort looks to expand on its culinary programming through a more elevated lens — and all in the heart of Sedona’s stunning Oak Creek, no less.
Tourists might know Sedona for its vast array of vortexes and crystal offerings, but locals know that the city’s true hidden gem is in its food scene — and Cress on Oak Creek is at the heart of it all. While most of L’Auberge de Sedona’s property offers pretty remarkable views, its restaurant provides a front-row seat to the magic of the red rock town — complete with fleeting glimpses of the nearby buttes, all set against the backdrop of the bubbling Oak Creek.
The restaurant is fitted with dozens of sleek black tables, all draped in classic tablecloths and all offering their own unique dining experience right up alongside the creek. When you’re not busy religiously taking photos of the restaurant’s stunning outdoor setup, you’ll have the chance to really sit back and take in the scenery — with a staple cocktail in hand, naturally. The Love Affair cocktail is a particularly decadent offering, which features ingredients like vodka, Japanese gin, pineapple, lemon and vanilla. It’s the ultimate refresher to cleanse your palate before diving into the main attraction: the food, of course.
For this experience, the restaurant provided more of an a la carte menu — but rest assured guests will be able to enjoy a wide variety of new dishes (and revamped staples) as Chef Swanson continues to introduce more delicacies to the resort’s food offerings.
The first course was a light crab and melon pairing which leaned into savory ingredients like prosciutto, citrus lace, compressed Arizona melon and nasturtium. It’s unique, unexpected and everything you’d want for a starting dish, especially throughout the transitional season.
The second dish — a k a the honey butter brioche — is so divine, the restaurant could probably get away with marketing it as a main entree and garner just as many visitors. The bread had a heavenly essence to it and arguably garnered the most praise of the entire evening. One bite, and you’ll be dreaming of it for months to come (speaking from experience).
Chef Swanson switched up the evening’s culinary tone by throwing an acorn squash soup into the mix which served as not only a welcomed fall addition to the evening’s menu, but also proved that contrasting ingredients like oyster mushroom, spiced pecan, parmesan and sage can somehow all team together beautifully. Who knew?
Cress on Oak Creek stuck to the classics with regard to its main meat entrees — and managed to do both spectacularly. The halibut was doused in a horseradish mustard sabayon and sauce verte that felt like an immediate explosion of flavors, while the filet mignon dish featured creamed spinach (so fitting for fall), goat gouda and cauliflower.
To cap off the culinary showcase, the Cress on Oak Creek team finished the evening with an apple tart tatin that was as unique as it was completely memorable. All guests were in agreement that it’s truly one of the most atypical desserts that’s designed to surprise you in all the best ways. The brown butter crumble, honey tuile and creme fraiche are literally the icing on the cake of it all — or at least on top of the tart.
For years, L’Auberge de Sedona has delighted and enchanted guests with its warm yet elevated environment which prioritizes thoughtfulness down to the very last detail — and that intentionality clearly extends into Chef Swanson’s beautifully curated (and ever-evolving) menu at the Cress on Oak Creek.
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner (including an a la carte menu and a prix-fixe chef’s tasting menu) Monday to Sunday, in addition to brunch on Sunday. For more information, visit www.lauberge.com.
301 L’Auberge Ln.
Sedona, AZ 86336