In Dining Out

thumbnail_azrestweekTwice a year something very special happens in our great state, something legions of desert dwellers anxiously await – Arizona Restaurant Week (AZRW).

Every spring and every fall some of the top Valley dining establishments offer special three course meals for one low price ($33 or $44). Some even include wine or a cocktail and they all offer a great deal. AZRW is a great way to experience new restaurants or to take advantage of the special pricing to enjoy a higher-end restaurant, usually saved for special occasions.

The feasting frenzy kicks off tomorrow (September 16) and runs through September 25, 2016. The possibilities are endless! Pick a place for a romantic date night, then a place for a fun girls (or guys) night out. Don’t miss out on these dining deals, they only come around twice a year!

roka-small-logoA few nights ago I had the extreme pleasure of experiencing the AZRW menu at Roka Akor and was blown away. They are offering three courses, plus a cocktail for $44 and the value is incredible.

Guests will start with their choice of appetizer, choosing from:

  • Albacore Ceviche with pickled onions and serrano peppers, this was the lightest of the three options and packed a spicy punch. The slices of albacore were thin and tender, almost melting in your mouth.
  • Crispy Fried Squid Salad, a beautifully composed dish of fresh greens, tossed with root vegetables and Lemon Ponzu. The squid was lightly battered, fried and perfectly tender. This was a favorite at the table.
  • Salt Spring Mussels (my favorite). These shellfish were expertly cooked in a savory broth that popped with the spicy brightness of ginger. Thank goodness there was a slice of Noble bread included to sop up all of the deliciousness.


Entree choices include:

  • Arizona Grass-fed Tenderloin, a six ounce portion of perfectly cooked, high-quality beef, sliced and served with a tangy soy sauce.
  • Grilled Loup De Mer, also known as branzino. This fish was epic — flaky and meaty with nicely crisped skin. It was served atop truffled avocado that added richness and charred lemon to cut through the decadence of this luxurious dish.
  • Two Wash Ranch Half Chicken, with a plum teriyaki sauce and pickled cucumber. The chicken was soft and juicy, with perfectly crispy skin, the sauce had the perfect balance or sweetness and umami. This is no ordinary teriyaki.


Dessert choices:

  • Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta was a creamy dream of a dessert, lush with chocolate and tart with the addition of passion fruit curd and macerated raspberries.
  • Sweet Corn Torte was an unexpected delight! A light, creamy cake-like torte beautifully presented with a scoop of Banana Miso Ice Cream and topped with white chocolate malty pearls. It was gorgeous and the sweetness of the corn made for a decadently unique treat.


The featured cocktail on Roka Akor’s AZRW menu is The Waitlist, a shaken blend of EFFEN Vodka, St. Germaine, Grapefruit, Lemon and Peychaud Bitters. It was refreshing with bright, citrus flavor and floral herbal notes.

I already have my AZRW excursions planned out and Roka Akor is on my list!


Disclaimer: The meal described above was complimentary as part of a media invitation for Arizona Restaurant Week. All opinions are entirely my own. 

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