Taste of Arizona: Stock & Stable

Stock & Stable
5538 N 7th St., Phoenix

Resurgence on 7th Street

How do I choose from the thousands of restaurants around, when I can write only one review a month for Arizona Jewish Life Magazine? Such a dilemma!

This time, I got a tip from a darling friend who is a professional food photographer who has been loving Stock & Stable, a new restaurant in the surging 7th Street corridor of gastropubs and trendy eateries. It’s interesting how this strip of street has gone from boarded up spaces to thriving restaurants in such a short time. The area used to be home to the now closed Karsh’s bakery, the source of Phoenix’s best (and never replaced) loaf of rye bread. Happy to say that Scott’s Generations, a Jewish deli with fabulous brisket is still on 7th Street, but the other Jewish businesses in this area are gone.

We forget that restaurants and bakeries are businesses, not just wonderful places to eat. There is a lot of investment and risk happening on this short strip and I can easily think of 10 new ventures within blocks of each other. The resurgence began with The Yard and mushroomed from there. You can get rich in the restaurant business, or you can die trying. Fortunately for people like me, who support dining out, we reap some of the rewards of these adventurous entrepreneurs, dining experiences we will cherish.

The latest addition is a “Modern American Gastropub” called Stock & Stable. It is just one of the three restaurants in a small building, and as a result, the aroma in the parking lot is like heaven. The interior is best described as a mashup of industrial chic, hipster décor and country farm. To tell you the truth, I don’t get what they are going for, yet it is oddly pretty. What I can tell you for sure is that it’s loud inside from people having a good time and the house music is great.

The menu is unique and it really takes a few reads. Because everything looks so good, it is hard to choose, and it is further complicated by the fact there are daily specials. Not a bad situation to be in, I will just have to come back again and again like my food photographer friend (FPF).

On my first time around, here is what I had:

Church on Time $11
(redemption rye, allspice dram, cointreu, fresh lemon, blackberries)

This yummy cocktail description caught my eye and I quickly ordered one. Love the large ice cube in a cocktail, and there it is, sitting in my fuzzy red drink with a plump blackberry skewered across the top. It was deliciously sweet and refreshing on this hot day, and went down quickly.

Fermented Beets $9
(heirloom carrots, goat cheese curds, marcona almond butter)

For this one, I was dining with a friend who is allergic to nuts (I know, then what is she doing with me?), so we ordered the almond butter and sprinkle of almond slivers on the side. I really like beets and I know it’s not everyone’s favorite. I like the earthy tones and the sense you are eating Mother Nature’s goodness. When they are pickled, you still get the earthy goodness but with a naughty sweet zing. There was a wonderful sweetness to this blend, a touch of vinegar and I think I detected a little ginger. The goat cheese curds were absolutely marvelous and I found myself wishing there had been more in the bowl. I ate this dish with and without the almond butter. It totally works either way.

Cavatelli $13
(albacore tuna, gruyère, chive, breadcrumbs, lemon)

It’s a pasta dish, comfort food, and was the hit of this evening. You know, one of those times when you put the fork in your mouth and your eyes roll back in your head. It was like having the best tuna casserole you’ve ever had in your life, though I’m sure this didn’t come out of a casserole dish. The cheese sauce was sweet and silky smooth, the tuna was delicious and I wish I had a straw to slurp the left over sauce when the noodles were gone. The serving size was probably appropriate but I found myself wishing it had been larger at this price. This is a must have.

Blackberry Lemon Tart $7
(graham cracker crust, lemon filling, blackberries, dollop vanilla bean whipped cream)

If this tasted as good as it looked, I was in for a real treat, and it was fabulous. The crust was thick, firm, and flavorful with a hint of cinnamon. The lemon filling was slightly tart but mostly sweet, the blackberries piled high and fresh, but oh that whipped cream on top. It was like tasting all the goodness in the world in one bite. I alternated eating each component separately and then all together. No matter how you slice it, this is a must have.

To further explore the menu, we returned for another visit.

Frites $6
(rosemary, parmesan)

Yes, it’s what you are thinking. Golden brown French fries generously sprinkled with rosemary and parmesan cheese. Deliciously simple, and a classic you should order.

Beer Butt Chicken $16
(preserved citrus, herbs)

A half chicken, cut into drumstick, thigh, breast and wing, came piled on a plate and swimming in brown gravy. What I just described should have been the menu description because I almost didn’t order it based on theirs, and once it came, I’m glad that I did. Anything swimming in gravy is a plus in my book. The chicken was a crispy golden brown, tender inside and the gravy was well-seasoned and plentiful.

Presentation did not seem to be in the forefront of any dish. It was mostly dark colored foods in grey bowls. Why, I wonder? I think it’s because the folks at Stock & Stable let the quality of the ingredients and the innovative cooking speak for itself, like the pile of chicken swimming in gravy spoke to me, and feel they don’t need to pretty it up. I can understand why my PFP loves this place. It is good food, easy parking (which isn’t always the case on 7th Street), and the crowd is having a good time. It’s nice to be part of the resurgence; you can feel it in the vibe and taste it for yourself at Stock & Stable.

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