Kai Restaurant is a five diamond AAA and a Forbes Travel Guide five star restaurant.
The cuisine is tribal Native American and uniquely Arizonian and does use regional and non regional ingredients. (such as elk flown in from Australia) The menu changes with the seasons and on this season it is very protein filled. Every item on the menu has some sort of meat in it except for possibly one of the salads.
Native flute music serenades the dining room and a small amount of educational Native America history was told to us by our server about the hand painted watercolors on our menus. The room we sat in was small and formal but showed us a view of the Reservation Land and the walls of the dining room were adorned with artwork of an elder tribe leader.
We start our culinary journey with our first of several amuse bouche to come.
It was some sort of melon soup that differed from the mellon soup on the menu. I can tell you it was very layered with flavors and each small sip I took left a different taste in my mouth.
Next we were served an assortment of Native American Style Breads with local olive oil that was adorned with seeds.
I started with a salad called “From The Garden.”
It was the most stunning looking salad I’ve ever seem and also had some produce in it that I’ve never seen before like some sort of wild spinach with leave leaves and a fuzzy red top. The vegetables looked as if they were growing out of the plate from an earth like looking substance. The salad was composed of macerated beets, sun choke froth, a potato, green and white asparagus, fiddle head ferns, mushrooms, exotic greens, saguaro syrup, vinegar and cactus powder. The beets had a unique creamy texture that I thought was interesting.
I was not excepting the earth like substance to be forking squid to be in a salad called “From The Garden” As my server sat the salad in front of me he explained that the edible dirt that the vegetables were growing up from was made with squid ink and bread crumbs.
My husband’s salad called “Hand Picked Lettuces” was also amazing to look at.
Next I get another amuse bouche.
It’s some sort of black garlic, chocolate mousse kind of appetizer with cherry bites. It was very savory and not dessert like at all.
My husband had another appetizer plate of Escargot, Wild Mushrooms and Caramel Goat Cheese with toast, truffle crema, lemon, black garlic and pork belly. The Truffle Crema was straight across when the plate arrived and snapped as soon as I took the picture.
The truffle crema was made with yogurt and was frozen into a thin flat rectangle shape that topped the toast like a see saw until it quickly broke. The truffle crema was delicious but the most interesting part about the appetizer was the carmel goat cheese as it was unlike goat cheese either of us had anywhere.
An amuse bouche comes our way and this time it’s a fig and date sorbet that was topped with a dot of some kind of vinegar. It was refreshing and not really sweet.
For Dinner I had the Chimayo Rubbed Dry Aged New York Strip with horseradish potatoes gratin, creamed spinach, heirloom carrots with bordelaise sauce.
My steak wasn’t the most succulent steak I’ve ever had but did have the most interesting crust on a steak I ever tried. It was crispy, caramelized and tasty. It was different and seemed like a very large portion to me and after I ate what I wanted I had at least 6 ounces to bring home for latter. The heirloom carrots were scented with vanilla or something that reminded me of vanilla. I thought the creamed spinach was delicious but I felt the potatoes gratin was over salted so I skipped over them and my husband ate them. He said they were too salty but he ate them anyway.
My husband’s dinner of Bellota Iberico Liomo Wrapped High Country Elk Loin with Fossil creek Chèvre Risotto with wild mushrooms, natural jus and truffle emulsion looked like a far more complex dish to me.
I got forking jealous when the server grated fresh truffles over his dish.
I managed to save room for dessert and tried the P.B.& J.
It was cylinders of frozen peanut butter mousse heaven with rings of fresh peanut butter sponge, poached grapes, crunchy P.B. dust, crisp meringue, red wine hibiscus dots and tart but not too tart blackberry five spice sorbet. This dessert was all delicious anyone that eats peanuts should like this dessert. Little tasty fresh flowers also stood out of some of the red wine hibiscus dots.
After dessert was another amuse bouche of three different hand made stuffed chocolates.
Our car was waiting for us out front with a hand written Thank You Card from our server, two bottles of fancy water and a small box with two chocolates.
We had a great meal and also saved a great deal of money off the check since we attended the Devoured Festival and that entitled us to complimentary glasses of wine and an appetizer for each one of us.
With or without the extra savings a night of tranquillity, a small amount of education, and very special food was certainly Worth A Fork!