In Dining Out, Travel/Arizona

Arizona is a state rich in old west history and folklore and the Westin Kierland is paying homage to these legends at Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe and Doc’s Watering Hole. Named for two of Arizona’s most colorful characters this restaurant and bar are just as quintessentiallyArizona as their namesakes. Nellie Cashman’s focuses on Arizona-raised Prime beef, while Doc’s serves up locally inspired cocktails, all in a classy, yet comfortable setting.

I recently had the opportunity to sample some of the fine grub at Nellie Cashman’s and was blown away with the high quality food, stunning presentations and absolute deliciousness. Executive Chef, Chris Masco and Chef de Cuisine, Zach Bocker, are putting out dishes using locally sourced ingredients from Arizona farms and ranches.

Our dinner started with the Green Chile Griddle Cakes. These were polenta cakes with a crisp exterior and a fluffy corn interior flecked with fresh chiles that added just a nuance of heat. The cakes were topped with a mushroom ragout, meaty with earthy flavor and complimented with the bite peppery arugula and the smoky sweet essence of the fire-roasted red pepper sauce. These griddle cakes were a hit with the entire table. We also enjoyed the Southwest Caesar Salad, busy with blistered corn, a southwest caesar dressing, shaved parmesan, heirloom tomatoes, and crunchy cornbread croutons. The creamy dressing with the salty cheese and charred corn reminded me of Mexican street corn. It was a uniquely Arizonan twist on a familiar salad. The Grilled Southwest Jumbo Prawns did not disappoint either – the size of the prawns was generous and the accompanying smoky tomato horseradish sauce added a nice kick to sweet and briny seafood.

We sampled a variety of entrees and each were mind blowing. The tenderloin and NY strip steaks were cooked to medium rare perfection, lusciously red and juicy in the center. Each comes with your choice of steak butter or sauce, including a tangy, robust house-made steak sauce or a roasted shallot cabernet reduction, each equally delicious and perfect compliments to the tender beef. Nellie Cashman’s is also serving up an incredible burger, made from ground NY strip steak. The meaty burger is topped with jalapeno bacon, horseradish cheddar, pickle, lettuce and tomato.

Always a sucker for comfort food, I fell in love with the Turkey Pot Pie. Chunks of tender roasted turkey are enveloped in a luxurious sauce and with root veggies and topped with a fluffy cornbread crust. Calling this pot pie comfort food doesn’t even do it justice; it was a warm, delicious hug, bite after bite.

Speaking of comfort food, you won’t want to miss out on the side dishes. The au gratin potatoes were amazing and cheesy; the Bisbee creamed corn had notes of char from the grill that mingled with the natural sweetness, and the brussels sprouts were delicious simplicity, dressed up with a sprinkling of bacon. All were hearty and made an outstanding addition to a fantastic meal.

Sweet tooths will be satisfied with the likes of Strawberry Apple Pie with a graham cracker crust and a streusel topping; the Turtle Cheesecake is decadent and rich with a candied pecan crust and I’m still dreaming if the Triple Berry Creme Brulee, rich custard and that satisfying burnt sugar shell.

The drinks at Doc’s Watering Hole are strong and blend Arizona spirits with local ingredients to add a modern spin on classic cocktails dating back to the 1800’s! The group raved about the Manhattan but I opted for the sweet, and potent Fish House Punch, made with Desert Diamond Distillery Rum (Kingman), Copper City Bourbon (Tempe) Hennessy Privilege, House-made Creme de Peche (Scottsdale), lemon juice and agave. This cocktail meant business and is so strong you need a buddy to imbibe with, (it’s made for two to enjoy).

Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe and Doc’s Watering Hole are a couple of desert gems paying homage to Arizona, not only the colorful character’s of our state’s storied past but also by showcasing the quality ingredients produced by local purveyors, farmers and ranchers. They are representing the Grand Canyon state beautifully and deliciously.

P.S. Tune in later this week for the recipe for those griddle cakes I mentioned above, they are to die for!


**Photos by Isabel Byfield of TastyAZ. 


Disclaimer: I enjoyed this meal as part of a media visit. All opinions stated stated here are entirely my own. 

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