Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Office in Desert Ridge

A couple years ago, Tara and I went to Prescott for the weekend to get away from the Valley for a few days. One of the places we ate lunch at was The Office restaurant. Tara loved the cilantro garlic fries, as they were covered in pieces of minced garlic and she loves her garlic. I remembered someone sketchy service and not much else. We recently saw mention of a location opening in Desert Ridge here in Phoenix. Last night we had to run to Target for something and since we didn't feel like cooking, I suggested we stop in and try it.

The Office is located in what used to be a location of the Dallas-based Rockfish restaurant. Rockfish closed a while ago and I think it's been vacant since. We got there around 8:15 pm or so and it was pretty dead. It's a good-sized space and there were a couple booths and about a half-dozen people at the bar. There were quite a few flat screen TVs hanging around, with mostly ESPN channels but one over the bar had the America Idol finale. Oddly, that TV had it's volume up so it was fighting with the background music in the restaurant. Both Tara and I thought they should have picked one or the other. We were seated immediately in a booth near the bar.

The menu has a distinct Southwest leaning. Almost everything has a chipotle this or chile that in the description. Tara opted for the Gringo Burger, which comes with lettuce, onion, tomato, and a side of the cilantro garlic fries. She ordered it without the lettuce and tomato, but with cheddar. I decided to try their chicken chimichanga with red sauce. It comes with a choice of two sides among rice, fresh veggies, and a few others. I got the casa salad in place of the two sides. I asked what dressings they have, and after he rattled of a few, I chose the mango citrus dressing. He said he'd have it on the side just in case I didn't like it. That seemed like a nice touch. Tara got a Coke and I got iced tea for drinks. After putting in our order, our waiter came back and asked if I wanted my salad with my dinner or as an appetizer. I asked for it first.

A few minutes later, my salad came out. It was a medium plate of mixed greens instead of iceburg, with a couple cherry tomaties, strips of tortilla, and some cheese. I prefer this type of salad to iceburg, so I was happy. The dressing was ok. It had a bit of a zing to it, but wasn't memorable.

In due time, our entrees arrived. Tara's was a place with a lot of fries, with the top of the bun inverted on them and the bottom bun and burger resting on that. The onions were nowhere to be found. Tara's review of the burger was "dry and flavorless". She wasn't impressed. The cilantro garlic fries were crispier than the ones in Prescott, but there was hardly any garlic on them. The ones in Prescott were literally covered in garlic. These had more of a hint. You could see a few bits here and there, but they were a very pale imitation of the ones she loved so much up north.

My chimi looked lonely on the plate, as it was all by itself except for a ramekin of sour cream. The menu lists it as literally a fried version of their burrito. It was good. Nothing special, but I enjoyed the flavors. The red sauce gave it a bit of heat, but not much. Definitely a gringo dish.

Overall, we weren't very impressed. For one, the entrees seemed overpriced. Her burger was nearly $10 and my chimi was $12. We'll happily spend the extra buck for the burgers at Delux, which also has amazing fries. The night before we'd gone to Baby Kay's and I'd gotten their Tuesday night seafood enchilada special for $14, which I loved. When we got the bill, I did my usual guessing of how much and when I saw I was $10 low, I was concerned. Apparently when the waiter punched in the order, he forgot to add her cheese onto her burger. So he added a second burger to the bill instead of just adding cheese to the existing burger. If the restaurant had been busy, I could have excused this. However, he had only two tables with a total of four people. He should have picked up on that. He apologized and redid the check with no problem.

We won't go back on our own. There's nothing that makes The Office stand out from the other restaurants at Desert Ridge, and there are much better choices within easy driving of the shopping center.

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