111 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85012
I really didn't do too much research prior to selecting St. Francis as one of our meals while in Phoenix. But I got a recommendation from someone on Chowhound, checked out the menu online, and heard it was in a restored bank and the menu looked very reasonably priced.
Aaron Chamberlin is the owner/chef of the St. Francis restaurant. I was surprised to find out that Chef Chamberlin has worked for an impressive number of chefs and restaurants in his career including Jean-Georges Vongerichten of the NY restaurant empire, Michel Richard of Washington DC restaurants, and Nancy Oakes of Boulevard in SF.
Chef Chamberlin's goal was to create a restaurant that feels like a home away from home and a community gathering spot. The restaurant strives to serve seasonal American food that is simple, honest, and a has good value. We'll see if the restaurant reaches those goals.
A lot of thought and consideration went into the remodeling of the space for St. Francis. The space definitely has a modern yet rustic and homey, hip feel to it. The waiter informed us that this space was once a bank, a doctor's office, and a few other things.
Pictured here is a Market List that lists different seasons of the year and what vegetables and fruits are in season. An excellent reminder and commitment from the restaurant that only seasonal vegetables and fruits at their prime will be used for your meal.
Almond Margarita and Prickly Ricky
Fortunately, we arrived to St. Francis at the right time. Cocktail Hour!! Served from 4-6pm everyday. All mixed drinks were $5 and all beers $3. A nice and condensed list of about 6 cocktails and various bottled and draught beers.
Baked goat cheese, tomato, walnut herb pesto and toasted bread - 8
This appetizer was an excellent beginning to our meal. Here we have a ramekin filled with goat cheese, tomatoes, and walnut herb pesto that is then baked to get it nice and hot. Really enjoyed this starter. The tang and creaminess of the goat cheese and the sweetness and tang of the tomatoes coupled with the herbaciousness (is that a word?) of the pesto was great.
Pumpkin Soup with apples and creme fraiche - 6
This soup was velvety smooth and the natural sweetness of the pumpkin was really evident. I liked the fact that apples were added to give this soup some flavor contrast with the sweetness and tartness of the apple. I felt this soup was a bit too salty but enjoyed it regardless.
Roasted Pork Chop, fresh corn polenta, sweet peppers and whole grain mustard sauce - 19
I have never in my life eaten a pork chop that was so succulent, tender, and juicy. Having prior experience with Kurobuta pork at Spago in L.A. and Nob Hill in L.V., there was no comparison. The pork as St. Francis was vastly superior to the versions I have had at other places. The corn polenta absorbed the jus of the pork and the whole grain mustard sauce, elevating the polenta to an even tastier stratosphere. My favorite dish of the night. Checkout the Laguiole cutlery in the picture, excellent choice of cutlery. It's the nice little touches like this that make St. Francis special.
Seafood soup with shrimps, mussels, clams, fish, and aromatic vegetables - 19
What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn't eat seafood? An incomplete one. Luckily, I have a wife that loves seafood, now I am a complete food blogger again. Here is what she recalls from this dish. Beautifully presented dish in the clay pot with with the herbs and seafood strategically strewn throughout. Seafood in the dish were nicely cooked, but the broth was too salty, overwhelming the flavors of the seafood.
Proof that this building was at one point a bank. Located right next to the women's toilet bowl. Nice toilet paper holder don't you think?