Culinary Candidate - Dish 2

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “coverage”? Many people will think about insurance or media. For me? I think bread. Whether it is a toast point with pâté or wheat alongside an omelet, the butter needs to be coast to coast. There should never be a space without the yellow. When it comes to dining it is the very simple things like wall to wall butter that gets overlooked when a restaurant is spiraling down and has lost focus.

The Culinary Candidate recently met with LD23 superstar, Jon Ryder, for lunch at Uncle Sal’s in south Scottsdale. You may have easily heard of this little nook by Hayden and Osborn for their food but, more than likely, it is their celebrity past. This Italian eatery was once owned by the family of Sammy the Bull Gravano.

Uncle Sal’s does a bustling business at all times of day. With that being said, we didn’t need to wait to be seated at noon on a Wednesday. Jon, despite living many years near the location, had never been here so I was pretty excited to get him on board. I went into the meal with a game plan of getting something besides the Chicken Marsala. It may sound counterintuitive, but the marsala is the best in the Valley. And every time I go to Sal’s it’s like a magnet that I just can’t break. I felt, as a service to you, my hungry reader, I needed to spread out.

Best laid plans as they say because Jon was ordering the Chicken Florentine so I had a gastronomical commitment to back up my marsala boast by ordering it and forcing a bite upon my date. Needless to say that Jon appeared impressed with my dish. And, being the gentleman that he is, Jon offered up some of his for fairness. The Florentine was nice. Nothing special; just nice. The chicken came covered with sautéed spinach and a rather thick cream sauce. Not exactly my fave and definitely not up to the marsala.

Speaking of which, if the Marsala came as a soup I would order it by the bowl! And then I would tilt that bowl and scrape in semi circles until the last of it was spooned into my gullet…and then I would swipe my forefinger around the recesses. The mushrooms are fresh and in abundance and the chicken is moist beyond reason. And with chicken, isn’t that really the name of the game? Sal’s always comes cooked to perfection. And, no, I didn’t get crazy and lick my plate or anything. That is where the perfect piece of complimentary garlic bread comes in. The butter coverage is on point and the bread isn’t crisped up ready to injure the roof of your mouth. Sopping up the sauce to perfection thank you very much.

Uncle Sal’s serves all the usual suspects. You can enjoy veal, chicken and fish or you can go traditional pastas and pizza. Most everything is under $13 for lunch and $20 for dinner. Entrees are served with soup or salad. My recommendation is to go with the soup if it even sounds halfway decent. And, if you have the opportunity, get a person like Jon to join you. Great food deserves great conversation.

As I have been prone to say, electing members for the AZ House should be easy; picking a restaurant should be too. Uncle Sal’s gets three and a half donkeys from the Culinary Candidate.