We almost never stay in and cook for special occasions. We do so much cooking at home most nights of the week that when a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary does come around, the last thing we want to do is undertake a massive cooking project with all the associated prep and cleanup.
Since our 7th wedding anniversary was on a Monday this year (it was actually back in August, I just didn't realize I had written up this review and never posted it), and we didn't want to celebrate on a different night, it made finding a restaurant a bit challenging. Of all the available choices, T. Cooks at the Royal Palms Spa and Resort in Scottsdale sounded the most promising.
I'd heard a lot about T. Cooks in the past, so I was looking forward to trying them out. The dining room itself was very nicely designed. Rustic yet still upscale. My only complaint here is where we were seated. Given the place's reputation for romantic atmosphere, we were slightly dismayed to be seated in the center of the dining room. Given that we had called a few weeks in advance for a reservation, I would have expected a better table.
The menu was Mediterranean influenced. We started our meal with a half bottle of Chandon sparkling wine. I'm particularly fond of half bottles as they allow you to try several different wines in a single meal without having to slug down an entire bottle. Since Arizona still doesn't allow you to take home partially consumed bottles, half bottles are still the best option when you only have two people dining.
For an appetizer, we decided to split the foie gras terrine with confit and grilled scallion salad. Pere ordered the English pea soup with crème fraîche and caviar while I opted for the lobster carrot bisque with caraway bread stick and crème fraiche.
Pere chose the seared scallops with basil scented gratin and sweet corn emulsion . I can't say that anything on the menu really jumped out at me. In the end, I decided to go with the Sterling Silver pork tenderloin with brandy cream, which was fairly unremarkable. I actually chose the pork more for the side dish that came with it - an apple-garlic tart. The apple tart was good, and I was surprised just how well the apple and garlic paired.
When I had called T. Cooks to make the reservation, they asked if we were celebrating a special occasion. I told them we were celebrating our seventh anniversary. When we arrived at the restaurant, our waiter congratulated us on the milestone. It was a small touch, but it's extras like that that can elevate a dining experience.
Although we were both stuffed after our meals, we had to order desert. I had heard that T. Cooks was known for the presentation of their deserts. We went ahead and split a poached pear. When it arrived, it was truly architectural, sitting on a bed of marscapone with a cookie "wing" sticking out of the side and a spun sugar halo. The pastry chef had also written "Happy Seventh Anniversary" in chocolate around the rim of the plate. A nice finishing touch for the evening.