Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hot Dog Review: Herb Box

I want to start this post off by bragging a little about my job. I research a lot of dining experiences, specials, holidays, etc. for valley restaurants for my job. I put together dining guides for guests in the Scottsdale Kierland area. This allows me to check out amazing happy hours, new restaurants, recommended plates, etc. all while getting paid to do so. I even win gift cards here and there during our monthly meetings, which means I get to try them out for free, and free is always better.  This week I want to introduce you to Herb Box. They have two locations, one in Old Town Scottsdale on the Waterfront, and the other in the DC Ranch area. Their combination of innovative cocktails, mixed with rich cuisine and modern-meets-vintage décor, you are in for a treat. Their self-described “worldly cuisine” has something to offer for everyone from salads, enchiladas, burgers, flatbreads, and Vegan options.

I have dined at the Old Town Scottsdale location many many many times over the years, and they always keep me coming back. Seating is available both on the patio, and in doors, complete with a bar area, and tables spread amongst the restaurant where I have dined as a couple, and as a group of 12. Herb Box’s décor is very clean, where you will find white finished wood work, modern mirroring everywhere (including the bathrooms), and a brick wall complete with an old big-wheeled bicycle from the circus days. Three of the four walls are windowed so you can enjoy people watching, or the sunset, if you choose. But enough about décor, let’s get to the good stuff, the food!

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Herb Box is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch (on Sundays) so they attract all different crowds. Plus they have happy hour available from 3-6pm Mondays through Saturdays. I will admit I have only been here for lunch and dinner, but those were both so delicious, I can’t imagine breakfast or brunch being any different. As we all know from my previous reviews I am obsessed with Elderflower liquer. While I have tried many of the drinks offered here like the Whiskey Smash (lime, lemon and mint mixed with bourbon and mango lemonade), and the Adultade (citrus vodka mixed with lemonade and lavender), I always come back to the Elderflower Greyhound; the perfect mix of vodka, elderflower, and grapefruit juice. While you sip on that be sure to check out their long list of starters.

My favorite starter would have to be a tie between the cup of the white bean chicken chili and the smoked gouda mac and cheese. The chili  is a hearty dish full of shredded chicken, thick bean soup, and a small kick of heat. I even get this is in the summer where temps are hitting around 112 degrees. The other hot plate on my radar is the mac and cheese. Seriously, to die for. They use small round noodles instead of elbow macaroni, complete with smoked gouda and rosemary-garlic breadcrumbs on top. Just talking about it has me craving it! Other options include a cheeseboard, short rib tacos, brisket sliders, and hummus. Many of their options are gluten-free, so they appeal to all diners alike. If you’re not super hungry, forgo this section and just head straight for the main entrees!

I have many recommendations when it comes to the main course, but they differ from the lunch menu compared to the dinner menu.

If you are dining here for lunch I hands down always order the Grilled Chicken and Sage Pesto Sandwich. The name says it all and then some. The sandwich is also topped with sliced apples, goat cheese, and bacon. Served with a large helping of homemade sweet potato chips I am in sandwich heaven here. Like seriously, food is a religion for me, and this is my happy place. Following my goat cheese loving footsteps, I have also had the Corn and Goat Cheese Flatbread, topped with tomato, onion, bacon, and arugula. This is a great meal to share alongside a starter if you are lunching with someone, that way you get to try a couple of things all in one sitting.

Switching gears, let’s focus on dinner. My absolute favorite dinner option is the Butternut Squash Corn Enchiladas. Topped with a tomatillo verde sauce and cotija cheese, even a meat eater like me could agree to go vegetarian if I could eat these every day. For those of you who can’t pass up the meat, go for the juicy Kobe Burger, or the Orange Glazed Salmon. There really is not a right or wrong choices here. Actually I take that back, they are all right choices, because they are all delicious. Every plate is a healthy serving, complete with accompanying sides that treat every palate to an adventure.

Now don’t shoot the messenger, but this messenger has never tried anything off of their dessert menu. I always over eat on everything else, that I never leave room for a sweet plate, but looking back I wish I had at least once. They have a wide variety of options from red velvet cheesecake, apple fritters, lemon meringue icebox pie, to a gluten-free ice cream sandwich cookie.  I may have to talk my boyfriend into stopping by there for a dessert one of these days. And with a sweet tooth like his, this won’t be very hard.

All in all I give Herb Box 5 out of 5 hot dogs. Their prices are reasonable, their food is fantastic, and the experience is great. Just be forwarned that they do not split up large party checks so come prepared with cash, or a pen to write out the amounts to be charged on your cards. Come hungry, and leave completely satisfied!

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