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Vintage 423: A not so simple restaurant
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Photo by Wes Naman
Paseo del Norte corridor gets a lift with the elegant Vintage 423, a restaurant that thinks big and delivers
By Kevin Hopper
I’ve often wondered about opening my own restaurant, and when I do, I try to picture what it would look like. I’m a fairly simple guy, so most likely it would be on the small side, no more than 20 tables covered in the requisite crisp white linens, a small bar pouring boutique wines and craft brews. Maybe a small patio, maybe not. Frills? Not so much.

This “think small” attitude of mine received a grand slap in the face as I walked into Vintage 423, located on the Paseo del Norte corridor. It was obvious that “small” wasn’t in the vocabulary of the owners of this sleek and grandiose restaurant — something you would expect to find in either Scottsdale or the Las Vegas Strip rather than North Albuquerque Acres. And as simple as my tastes are, I now think, after a very casual dinner at Vintage 423, that this type of eatery is exactly what this town needs.

It seems, as one walks into the high ceiling foyer, that owners Jason Daskalos and Rudy Guzman spared no expense when building out this resplendent restaurant — from the lit up bar anchored by a double-sided waterfall to the floor-to-ceiling wine rack lined with small, bright white lights that divides the main dining room from the more lavish lounge near the bar. And the large wrap-around patio, a wonderful place to sit, gets lit up at night by the fire from permanent torches. Seats here are plush and pleasant views abound in all areas of the restaurant. This is opulent for sure, but as I said earlier, probably necessary in a city that often thinks small, just like I do.

Photo by Wes Naman
And while the menu isn’t quite as imaginative as the craftsmen who built Vintage 423, it is still nearly as impressive. Offering a few salads, including the rather refreshing Citrus & Pecan Salad ($9) — candied pecans, apples, strawberries, dried cranberries and bleu cheese — the menu reads like that of an upscale eatery, albeit one with its feet still on the ground. Nothing is too over the top here, even the Deviled Eggs ($11 for 5) laced with truffle oil, a dish you will want to chew slowly and savor as long as possible.

My dining companion and I followed that starter with the highly recommended Bacon Wrapped Quail ($12) served shotgun style with dried fruit chutney. Quail isn’t something found on many local menus, so the unusual nature of this dish is appealing and the execution is super savory and just gamey enough to dissuade anyone from saying, “It tastes like chicken.”

Of course, wine, beer and cocktails come into play here, as they should. My dining mate was happy with the by-the-glass list of whites (if she’s happy, I’m happy) and I had to indulge in the signature cocktails, arriving at The Bentley ($10), a refreshing rum cocktail, though I almost chose the Moscow Mule, apparently the bar’s number one cocktail (a unique twist on the classic) according to our bartender Austin.

Photo by Adria Malcolm
The entrée list is not long by any means, but choosing just the right one may prove challenging. After tasting my dining companion’s 12 oz. Rib Eye Steak ($34), I had a bit of food envy. Served simply enough with crisp asparagus spears and lush bleu cheese mashed-potatoes, this cook-to-exact-temp entrée, and expectedly all the “Vintage Prime Meats,” rank high citywide in the best-steak category. Unfortunately the demi-port sauce ($2) was entirely too salty to eat after one bite. A minor blip on an otherwise great meal.

I chose the Chilean Sea Bass ($33) as my entrée, mainly for the creamed risotto, which held just the right bite and contrasted well with the finely seasoned fish. The dish was rounded out with sautéed spinach and a beurre blanc concasse. It was simple, light and well prepared, exactly the types of dishes I was hoping Vintage 423 would offer.

There has been much curiosity about this regal restaurant since it opened in January of this year. Many people have told me they thought it was a clothing store from its outward appearance. The same can be said for many restaurants in Scottsdale that are located in shopping areas with highly regulated design standards. Yet, from the inside, Vintage 423 is quite unlike anything foodies in this town are used to. Bordering on brash, but refined just enough to remain comfortably alluring, Vintage 423 is well worth a peek, sip and taste.

Vintage 423
8000 Paseo Del Norte Suite 1A, 505.821.1918
11a-Midnight, Mon.-Thu.; 11a-2a, Fri – Sat; 11a-10p, Sun.
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