If there is only one new dining destination to try this summer, let it be Chef Angelo Sosa’s Tía Carmen, the new signature restaurant at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. The restaurant specializes in contemporary Southwestern cuisine in a setting that is visually and atmospherically spectacular.
The name Angelo Sosa is bound to ring some bells for those who love culinary reality TV. The cookbook author has appeared on three seasons of “Top Chef,” HBO Max’s “Selena + Chef” alongside Selena Gomez and various other programs. He was a founding chef and partner at New York’s Michelin-listed Anejo Restaurants and has worked at the likes of Jean-Georges, Spice Market and Morimoto, to name a few. This year, locals were lucky enough to be graced with his newest dining endeavor: Tía Carmen.
“Vibe” gets tossed around a lot, but Tía Carmen gives an almost-tangibility to the word. Creamy, off-white hues, pops of copper, beautiful wall-hangings and jaw-dropping light fixtures welcome guests to the space. There is a seating arrangement to fit any group or occasion, including comfy lounge areas, long rectangular tables and cozy four-tops. And just like the interior, the spacious patio hosts a variety of areas for sipping and savoring–with our favorite being large, intimate pods, each with a table in the center surrounded by two booths encapsulated in a rattan-like cocoon. You’ll feel like you’re in your own little world–one where top-notch cuisine and picturesque cocktails are just a few minutes away.
Named after Chef Sosa’s aunt (“a woman of passion, love and humility”), diners can taste the thoughtfulness that goes into each bite at Tía Carmen. Served family-style, the dishes at Tía Carmen are intended to be shared. The seafood platter and tuna crudo are showstoppers right off the bat, both as beautiful to the eye as they are to the palate. (And the seafood platter offers a cool Instagrammable moment, too, if you’re into that.) Though listed as a starter, the lamb ragu could easily pull off the task of a hearty main entree, with mesquite noodles, heirloom carrots and Sichuan peppercorn.
The grilled whole trout, with parsley and oregano sauce, is a delicate, flaky centerpiece that pairs beautifully with a number of Tía Carmen’s sides, like the creamy yucca brûlée or lightly spicy tepary bean chorizo ragu. Restaurant namesake Tía Carmen’s chicken guisado, with olives, Chimayo chile, garlic and turmeric rice, is the epitome of Chef Sosa’s mission in honoring his beloved aunt; it is a warming, comforting dish that every member of the family will enjoy sharing together.
As much as Tía Carmen lovingly honors Chef Sosa’s aunt, it also pays homage to local landscape and Arizona talented farmers and purveyors. While he might be new to the Valley, Chef Sosa has already made a home for lasting memories at his newest opening.
To learn more, visit www.tiacarmendesertridge.com.
5350 E. Marriott Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85054