I’d heard a few times that people thought a new coffee shop had opened at 40th & Camelback in Phoenix. But I’d done my homework and knew that foodies have had great things to say about The Grind since it popped up on the national radar in July with its inclusion in Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Best New Burger Spots. Ironically, I was on the East Coast when this chart topper receives Kudos at home. I had to get in there and see for myself.
Located on Camelback, in the hip Arcadia neighborhood, The Grind is the product of the imagination and skills of Chef Matt McLinn, the force behind BLT Steak at the Camelback Inn and the backing of owners Alan Thompson and George Monzures. With a feeling like an old time speak-easy, quality pervades the senses the minute you leave the parking lot. From Crystal’s warm welcome, to the finishes, to the food its sensory heaven.
If you have read any of my other posts, you know I might digress from the burger to discuss the sides for a rave or two before getting to the burger eventually. In most these cases, either the burger was not that good or the sides were crazy. There is no digression today, the Grind’s burger was grand, from its ten foot tall appearance, to its ten foot tall taste. I had the Steak House BLT Burger. It was a $10, TEN if such things exist. Maybe its the salt crust, maybe its the 1000° coal fired oven.
Susie Timm over at Foodies Like Us had a photo of the oven on their blog post about The Grind and was generous enough to share. The photo of the coal fired oven is theirs and even though the coal fired oven isn’t sexy looking, don’t judge an oven by its sheet metal. Your standard gas oven cooks at 500-550°, a wood oven gets up to 650°degrees. Coal can get the oven even hotter, to a reputed 1000°F which is hot enough to cook most entrees in around four minutes while giving them a flavorful crust and sealing in a unique juicy taste.
And with coal you get the smoke flavor too. Thinking about that oven, I may have to go back and get our own shot of it, and eat another burger; hey, if you’re there, why miss out.
Are you getting that we were impressed? Well we were. “We” included myself and Ed Sweet, a free lance writer, foodie, founder of Sweet Brand Sour Salts and promoter of the Sour Ball, which raises money for Child Help. Ed and I were lunching to try The Grind and to talk about Smart Kitchen and his upcoming charity event. The 4th Annual “Sour Ball” is locked in and will be held at the Biltmore Hotel, September 24th, 2010. It looks like we’re getting lucky and Smart Kitchen will get to cover the event (Yum!) and interview some of the talented chef’s about their culinary improvisation.
So back to the meal and finally, with the burger in its rightful place of honor, to the sides. Ordering “Off the Menu,” I managed to turn the fixings from the Sweet & Spicy Burger into some splendid side dishes since they sounded too good to pass up. Candied Jalapeno and Fried Ratatouille turned out to be something to write about.
The Sweet Potato Fritters were worth a few words as well. If the burgers were’nt so stellar the fritters would have stolen the show.
To try The Grind yourself head to 3961 East Camelback Road in Phoenix, AZ and enjoy. If you have a problem, phone them at 602-954-7463; or check their web site @ thegrindaz.com