Two Interesting Restaurants

Suggestions for dining in the Mesa/Tempe, AZ area.

I flew into Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa the other evening to drop off my helicopter for maintenance. My husband, Mike, who works in Tempe, came to pick me up.

It was 5:30 PM and we were both famished. Not in a hurry to drive home in traffic, we decided to have dinner. As we drove past the strip mall on Power Road at Ray Road near the airport, I spotted a restaurant called Dual. We stopped there for dinner.

The menu was interesting, the prices above average but not outrageous. The decor was modern, almost industrial. Our waitress was friendly but goofy (why is it that I always end up with the airhead servers?) and provided good service. Mike and I sipped mint julips and shared a baked brie appetizer. Mike had short ribs (which the waitress told us Dual was known for) with gnocchi and I had the roast duck breast over risotto. We finished off the meal by sharing a flan.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Yesterday took me back to Williams Gateway for a last-minute charter before maintenance began. I met Mike for lunch in Tempe. He took me to one of his favorite lunch places on University Avenue in Tempe: Cornish Pasty Company.

A pasty, as I learned just the other day during our Bradshaw’s Grave excursion, is a collection of ingredients wrapped up in a pastry shell and baked. They were popular with miners who prepared them in advance and took them down into the mines with them for their meal breaks.

Cornish Pasty Company has a long, narrow space in a strip mall with some tables and bar seats. We sat at the bar and watched two workers prepare batches of pasties. Mike had the Portobello Chicken (Chicken Breast, Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushroom, Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper, Fresh Basil, served with a side of chilled Marinara) and I had the Porky (Pork, Sage, Onion, Apple, Potato, served with a side of Red Wine Gravy). Both were served hot and were excellent.

It also reminded me a lot of the restaurants I used to grab lunch at when I worked in Manhattan: small places that didn’t put on airs, had great food at a fair price, and were filled at lunchtime with local workers.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What do you think?