Durant’s: A Phoenix Institution

The growing food community in Phoenix often focuses on new, trendy restaurants offering a variety of fresh flavors. Often overlooked is the classic steakhouse in downtown Phoenix – Durant’s. The pink steakhouse off Central Avenue serves the freshest steak in the state, usually to an older crowd that loves this Phoenix gem.

The small pink building’s facade can be deceiving. My boyfriend was surprised that I would choose to make reservations (on Open Table). Then we drove around back, since diners enter through the kitchen. The parking lot was full of cars, as was the dining room.

The decor may seem old-fashioned, particularly the velvet walls. But you know what they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Durant’s has been serving the best steaks in Arizona for decades. The pink hue to the lighting doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to their menu and service.

We were seated in a cozy booth in a corner. Our server dropped off their usual starter, cold, raw vegetables served over ice. The service was, as always, incredible. Our servers were attentive without being overbearing. My water was always full. Boyfriend was served a nice glass of scotch. Durant’s has a full bar with an extensive wine list. You can find any drink to pair with your meal.

Our appetizers were quite large. I ordered a jumbo shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were large, fresh, and ice cold. I enjoyed the tart horseradish flavor of the cocktail sauce. Boyfriend ordered Kobe sliders, which I thought would be smaller. The sliders might as well have been an entree. Three huge, juicy umami sliders were served on a simple platter. I don’t know if they were truly Kobe beef, but the meat was obviously fresh and high-quality. Boyfriend refused to leave them uneaten despite ordering a massive steak to follow.

Steak is really the way to go at Durant’s. This is not the place to order chicken, though you may be surprised by their seafood selection. Choose a cut then choose sides to go with them. Boyfriend ordered a 20 oz. Delmonico steak. He prefers his steak rare, and Durant’s is really the only place that I trust to cook a steak rare. His steak was served with crips, flavorful waffle fries. It seems an odd choice to serve with such a classy meal, but was a nice crunch compared to the soft, buttery steak.


Sorry about my pictures. I was way too preoccupied with the meal.

I ordered my usual, the lamb chops. I despise the mint jelly served with it because it takes like toothpaste. However, I could eat those lamb chops every single day. As classless as it was, I picked up those lamb chops to eat every piece of meat off that bone. I focused on the tender, spiced lamb and was unable to finish the delicious, garlicky mashed potatoes I chose for my side.

When I booked our reservation, I let them know that it was Boyfriend’s birthday. They let us choose any one of their desserts from their long list. I know Durant’s is well-known for their cheesecakes, but Boyfriend has never turned down a brownie. Our server brought us a massive tower of brownie with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel sauce, and chocolate shavings. Even though we were both incredibly full, we couldn’t help but eat the whole gooey, rich, chocolatey dish.


After eating over dozens of meals together, I finally succeeded in finding a meal that rendered Boyfriend speechless. There’s a special awe to having a meal that is so delicious that it makes you think of your favorite meals from your childhood. Boyfriend grew up on a cattle ranch with access to the fresh beef on a regular basis. For a restaurant to serve him a perfectly cooked, fresh, and juicy steak that reminded him of home, it’s something I will never forget. Thank you Durant’s for an amazing experience.


For more information, you can check out their website.

Price: Expect between $50-$100 per person.
Atmosphere: 3.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Food: 5/5

Different Pointe of View


Phoenix has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It’s one of my favorite parts about this city. High-end hotels have claimed coveted positions on mountain-tops to provide dining destinations boasting of stunning views. One such restaurant is Different Pointe of View, a fine dining establishment located in North Phoenix.
The area is under a light ordinance, allowing for an obstructed view of Phoenix and the surrounding scenery. After a short drive up a steep hill and through the resort, you’ll find parking and valet for the restaurant.
My party of four had reservations on a Friday night. We called the restaurant, but you can also use OpenTable for last-minute reservations. I assumed the need for a reservation was a must. Yet when we arrived there was ample space for more parties. There is also outdoor seating, perfect for a romantic dinner at sunset.
The best part of the atmosphere is, of course, the view. The entire building is encased in spotless glass. The view presents the entire valley below, lights twinkling, but not glaring. Despite the location and the price, many guests were in resort attire. The restaurant seems to have a versatile, relaxed atmosphere with space for both casual and formal gatherings.
The interior design centers on the glass windows and view. Otherwise there is minimal decoration in black and red. I was only disappointed that there were no real candles on the table.
Different Pointe of View boasts a 31 year history of Contemporary American fare. Their menu changes to reflect fresh, seasonal ingredients. Keep in mind the menu has very likely changed since my trip. Starters included many salads and other light bites, likely chosen to balance the meat-heavy entrees. There is a large selection of main entrees for every taste, even with some gluten-free options. The wine and drink list is extensive. There is something to pair with any and every dish. The dessert list changes less often. The menu relies on classic dishes like the vanilla creme brûlée while adding a few more unique options for added flavor.


1. Perigord Truffle and Parmesan Risotto

I loved the poached egg that, once broken, blended into the cheesy risotto to add a new layer of flavor. Without the egg the risotto was one-note. It was a plain risotto without embellishment.
Chefs from Chopped and other Food Network shows have repeatedly expressed their disdain for truffles. I, on the other hand, am obsessed with truffles. Seeing truffle in the dish’s name had me eager to try. Either the only truffle was the garnish on top, or I was unable to taste the woody, nutty flavor in the dish.

2. Blackberry Arugula Salad

I don’t usually care for blackberries because I tend to find them bitter. This dish, however, surpassed my expectations. The arugula was thoroughly coated so I didn’t have to search around for the flavor. The goat cheese helped blend the bright blackberries into the more bitter arugula. The pistachios added crunch for a contrast in texture.
I should note that my mother found the dish a bit off-putting. The whole blackberries had seeds, which for her, gave the dish a gritty texture “like there was sand in the salad”. The presentation wasn’t too pleasing either. I would have preferred putting the cheese and nuts on top to lighten what looked like a plate of purple-grey weeds.

1. Grilled Piquillo Pesto Scented Shrimp

The shrimp was large, juicy and seasoned well. I’m not sure if I would use the word pesto to describe the sweet almost marinade-like seasoning. My shrimp laid atop a bed of forbidden rice, which covered a cauliflower puree. The rice blended into the puree to create a risotto-like addition. The menu was already so heavy with risotto and creamy textures; I had been hoping for more variety and a way to make the rice shine.

2. Roasted Chicken

This dish looked boring, and it tasted boring. The chicken was the same color as the risotto and the starches served with it. In comparison to the previous dish, I hoped for more vibrant color contrast. This may be personal preference but the risotto was extra al dente, very crunchy and almost like eating uncooked rice. By itself, the risotto was bland and lacking variety. Hoping the vegetables, mainly the squash, would brighten the dish, I found myself wanting. The squash was flavorless. Their saving grace was that the meat was perfectly cooked.


We first ordered an apple dessert, but the pastry chef refused to serve it because the apples had not set. This may seem irritating, but I can respect their dedication to serving the best food possible. Instead we ordered:
Chocolate Hazelnut and Citrus
The presentation on this dessert was striking. The cake had been molded into a pyramid and drizzled with a light, orange citrus syrup. The chocolate mousse on top unfortunately had no difference in texture from the cake below. I loved the citrus sauce, but wanted it to be a more central part of the flavors. It was also very rich (which I enjoy), but not everyone has my sweet tooth.
I enjoyed this sweet treat with a robust cappuccino. This was served without any intricate foam art, but instead with rock sugar to offset the bold taste.


Throughout the meal, our server was extremely friendly. He made jokes and established a pleasant tone for our meal from the first moment we were seated. He had a partner in case he was busy with other tables, so our needs were always met. My water glass was never empty. His partner was just as willing to provide excellent service. He even escorted me to the restroom so I wouldn’t get lost!
Our main waiter showed remarkable knowledge of the menu. He was descriptive in providing the flavor profiles of the dishes. He also understood the preparation of each dish. I was very impressed.


Overall, I enjoyed my food and my meal. Personally, I prefer restaurants with a greater flair for creativity and experimentation, but Different Pointe of View has found a menu that works. I had expected much more from the entrees, but I did very much enjoy the appetizers and dessert. The view is so captivating that I couldn’t stop staring out the window. I would recommend this for an intimate dinner date or for late night drinks and dessert.

If you’d like to learn more about the restaurant or see the menu, check out their website:

Different Pointe of View

Price: $31-$50 per person

Atmosphere: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Food: 3/5

Please note this is an older review from my previous blog.