Saturday, January 19, 2008

Basis New American Restaurant - Phoenix

UPDATE 7/11/2010: Basis has apparently closed it's doors as of 7/2/2010.

We were somewhat at a loss as to where to go to dinner last night. Still reeling from the vacation- and pneumonia-induced financial shortage, we wanted someplace not too expensive. Tara's only request was "meat". After thinking of our usual options, I remembered that Basis, a place we'd heard good things about recently, had burgers in addition to the more expensive entrees. Located just west on Thunderbird of 7th Street on the north side, it's not too far from our house.

Basis is in an unassuming strip mall across from an AJ's Fine Foods and behind a Safeway that faces 7th Street. We arrived just before 8pm. While it looked small from the outside, the restaurant was actually rather spacious. There were about eight or nine groups eating scattered around the restaurant. The restaurant has around 20 tables/booths/sectionals for seating. Four deep booths are along the east wall, half the west and south walls have three tables each with chairs and a long, booth-like sectional seating running along the wall. Those tables can be pushed together for larger groups. The center of the dining area has about 8 four-tops. A bar takes up the northwest part of the dining area and an open kitchen is on the north side. We were seated in the southeast corner.

For a long time after we were seated, we didn't have any contact with waitstaff. We looked over the menu. A lot of the items looked really good, but we were there for the cheeseburgers. Tara really wanted to try the ribs, but we figured that would be something for another visit. A waiter eventually came over and got our drink order. He also listed several entrees they were out of for the night. Apparently we just missed a huge rush during which they were completely packed, including at the bar. He also listed the daily specials. I tried to order a Coke, but he said they were out of that too. Tara and I just stuck with water. While he went to get drinks, we kinda waffled between a chicken caesar salad with soup and the burgers. We finally did decide to stick with our burger plan. A hostess dropped off our water. Again, we seemed to wait a long time before our waiter swung back around. When he finally did, he dropped off a Coke. They did have some after all. We both ordered the cheeseburger with no tomato, Tara's medium and mine medium-well. We also both opted for the sweet potato fries as our included side.

As we waited for our entree, the waiter came by and brought a refill for my Coke. He also said he's bring some bread over as well. Tara had commented on what appeared to be bread plates on the table and wondered if we were going to get some. The bread basket that arrived had four very long slice of a spongy bread and two ramekins, one with a green spread and one with orange spread. The girl who brought them offered no explanation as to what the flavors they might be. We tried them and the green was very obviously basil. The orange seemed to be some sort of roasted red pepper spread, but it had an extra flavor component that made us unsure.

After a little while, we'd finished the bread. I noticed two plates being put on the shelf along the kitchen wall and wondered what they were, only to realize that the were our burgers. The chefs put on the sweet potato fries from a bowl and our server brought them over.

The lettuce, onion, ketchup, mayo, and mustard were all on the side. The burger had the melted cheddar on it and that was about it. I put ketchup and mustard on mine, along with some red onion slices. I tried a few fries and was immediately disappointed. They ranged from tepid to cold. They were obviously hold-overs from the earlier rush. The burger was pretty good, but was definitely well-done, not the medium-well I asked for. This isn't a huge issues, as I've only started ordering my burgers medium-rare within the past year or so. Tara's burger was past her ordered doneness as well, probably medium-well like mine should have been. I really didn't see any reason for our burgers to both be past our ordered temp. I was able to watch the kitchen the whole time, and ours was the only dinner order they had. Still, I did enjoy the burger. Tara liked hers as well. She was even eating the fries, despite their temperature.

Our waiter eventually came by to ask how things were going. I mentioned that the fries came out pretty much cold. He said he'd have the kitchen fry up a fresh batch and bring them out. A few minutes later, fresh, burning hot fries appeared. They were really good but probably needed some more seasoning or possibly an aioli to dip them in. Tara actually found them to be a little too sweet.

We finished our meal and waited for the waiter to come by so we could ask for the check. We waited a LONG time. He finally came over and asked if we wanted dessert, but nothing sounded tempting. We asked for the check. Again, another very long wait. We could see him the whole time, as the room is open and from our seats, we could see everything. He would stay behind the bar for long periods doing who knows what. He brought the check and I put my card in it but he'd already left. Once more, long wait. He came, grabbed the check, and again, long wait. Eventually, we paid and were able to leave.

Overall, we enjoyed it. Service, despite every other table either having coffee or just lingering, was horribly slow. He was very friendly and personable and didn't charge for the Coke or fresh fries. There were two waiters plus a girl doing water/bread service. Possibly it was just an anomaly. We definitely want to go back and try it again, as there are a lot of things on the menu that look really good. They are having a special Valentine's Day menu for $52. We saw it on the counter when we first went in.

Basis New American Restaurant
410 E Thunderbird Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 843-3689