Several friends and I went to Cowboy Ciao in downtown Scottsdale on a Saturday night last month. We had reservations for 10 and had a large table waiting for us when we arrived. The low lighting and rich decor set a festive mood with the group and we were all in good spirits after getting our first drink and placing our orders.
For the most part service was excellent. A few small glitches (I was brought the wrong drink and the scotch selection was very limited which disappointed my husband and brother) were smoothed out so well they were hardly memorable.
The food absolutely made up for any trouble we had with drinks. We started with Pork Belly. It was perfectly cooked - crispy and salty on the outside, layers of fat on the inside that melted in my mouth and moistened every bite. It was served with a tangy Thai cucumber salad - pickled cucumbers with some peppers. The hint of sweet tangy-ness of the pickle with the salty crunch of the pork was ethereal.
Next my husband and I split the Espresso Rubbed Filet Mignon. Another food revelation. We asked for it medium and the kitchen did just that, splitting the meal on two plates for us so we didn't have to knife each other over the meat. The Tortilla-Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes tasted a bit strange but were just the right consistency, and overall went well with the fantastic hunk of meat and the chipotle aioli around the plate. The demi-glace added a nice touch of sauce to the dish and was the perfect accompaniment to the excellent meat.
We were so full after the first two courses and drinks that we skipped dessert, although the dessert menu was extensive and sounded delicious - such offerings as Peanut Butter Brownie (Upside Downie) and Bread Pudding with cranberries, pine nuts and five spice ice cream almost made me overindulge.
While the restaurant was a little noisy, the good service and excellent food easily make up for it and I would definitely suggest Cowboy Ciao for an intimate dinner for two or night on the town with a crowd.