My mom and I booked one dinner before we arrived in Sedona: Cress Restaurant at L’Auberge. The restaurant sits on the bank of Oak Creek and serves a prix fixe menu (that includes picky eater approved selections, I checked before making the reservation). The pictures of the food, atmosphere, and reviews of the experience were unlike others so we booked two months in advance to guarantee our spot. Of course, the only night it rained on our vacation was the night we dedicated to dining on Oak Creek. I was bummed about moving inside until I saw the dining room, one that is everything I want for my future kitchen – clean white walls with colorful paintings, medium-grey toned wood floors, large windows, and industrial-chic chandeliers.
The menu was simple – three pages listed the selections of each course. Thankfully, the server explained that we could choose three courses from the four that the French restaurant offers: first, second, main, and dessert. A picky eaters dream! Without it, my mom’s three-course meal would have turned into four courses. The menu specifically asked guests to refrain from cell phone use so I’m not able to provide my normal restaurant review. In fact, I believe Cress Restaurant did this for a reason, which is why I am ending the review here. Reviews don’t do Cress restaurant at L’Aubrege justice – it is truly a special place that you need to experience in order to understand.
The food, service, and beautiful setting of Cress Restaurant made it one of my favorite dinners of all-time. I’m still thinking about the pillow of buttery potatoes beneath my filet and that plum and raspberry tart with crème fraiche gelato…
On the way home, our driver suggested a few other restaurants in Sedona, one of which was Dahl and DiLuca. His enthusiastic and detailed description inclined us to make a reservation for the next night.
The quaint Italian Restaurant reminded me of an old-school supper club: a gust of fresh marinara greeted us as we entered the small bar area. A brick wall with arched entryways separate the space from the main dining room where intricate chandeliers decorate the ceiling. Large (and comfortable!) leather seats surround small tables covered with white tablecloths. The interior of the room is impressive, something straight from an old Italian storybook; the piano and cello duo only added to the ambiance.
Although tempting, my mom and I went straight for the main course. I had my favorite Bolognese (with house-made linguine pasta!) whereas mom had the Pollo alla Rustica – house-made fettuccine with grilled lemon chicken, baby spinach and sautéed mushrooms in a white truffle cream sauce.
My. Meal. Was. Delicious.
The meat sauce was rich and flavorful and the pasta cooked to perfection. The best part was the complementary extra side of sauce, a concept that I have not experienced outside of my grandma’s house, but should be adopted by more Italian-American restaurants. This way, there is never too much or too little sauce – it can be any way you want it, which is exactly what my picky taste buds like to see. My mom agreed that her dish was delicious but wished that there was more chicken. Instead of a chicken breast, which she was expecting, the chicken was crumbled into the dish. I settled my stomach with a few scoops of chocolate gelato and my mom had the Panna Cotta.
Aside from my Las Vegas favorite, Panevino, Dahl & DiLuca was one of the best Italian Restaurants I have been to in years. The food is authentic, service is spectacular, and subtle ambiance makes for a special and delicious night out.
Restaurant: Cress Restaurant / L’Auberge de Sedona / 301 L’Auberge Lane / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 855.905.5745 / www.lauberge.com/cress/
Picky Eater Approved: 6/5
Restaurant: Dahl and DiLuca Ristorante Italiano / 2321 Arizona 89A / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 952.282.5219 / dahlanddiluca.com
Picky Eater Approved: 5/5