ghost ranch trout

Restaurant of the Week: Ghost Ranch Southwest Modern Cuisine

With two new talents at the helm–Executive Chef David Mora and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf–Ghost Ranch Southwest Modern Cuisine in Tempe continues its delicious mission of dishing up Southwestern cuisine with a rebellious streak.

Whether sipping a Fuego margarita at the bar, taking a seat in the gorgeous, art-filled dining room (the tilework especially is stunning) or grabbing a feast to-go, Ghost Ranch is a Tempe-based culinary treasure. The restaurant recently welcomed Executive Chef David Mora and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf to its kitchen after a several-month COVID-induced closure.

The all-day menu features several appetizers and salads (some of which are vegetarian or gluten- and dairy-free), like the spring-friendly corn salad with crisped radish, corn and baby heirloom tomatoes. We can’t wait to dig into the potato tacos and comforting pozole on our next Ghost Ranch outing.

Onto heartier eats, the taco platters offer the perfect amount of meat, handmade corn tortillas and fixings for two to share. The chimayo chile-braised pork is a crowd pleaser, offering a touch of heat and warming spices. Swordfish and flank steak are also available in the taco platters, each sided with chorizo-studded frijoles charros (which could be a meal on its own) and buttery rice with corn. It also should be noted that every taco platter and enchilada entree is gluten-free.

Ghost Ranch cocoflan

While tacos and enchiladas might be expected, who knew Ghost Ranch would be home to one of the prettiest fish dishes in the Valley? Say hello to the grilled trout (pictured at the top of page). With a spotlight on the star fish (trout from none other than Chula Seafood), the beautifully flaky filet is enhanced with pork belly, native bean hash, pickled romanesco, a smoked bacon-butter sauce, a pickled red onion salad and a few large shishito peppers to make things even more interesting. It is truly a work of art with a fresh flavor at every turn.

For dessert, Ghost Ranch dishes up yet another picture-perfect gem, this time from Chef Graf. The cocoflan, with its raspberry mousse and sprinkling of fresh berries, is perfection as is; the addition of white chocolate milk crumble and mesquite tuile adds a mouthwatering crunch you didn’t even know the dessert needed.

Ghost Ranch is open Monday through Friday from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit 

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