“Is this the place? I couldn’t help but ask as my friend pulled into a dimly lit alley under an epic mural painted on the side of Roosevelt Street Circle K.
She wasn’t sure, but we headed for the Garfield addresses anyway and we find ourselves standing on the doorstep of a vintage bungalow. Low music offered the only clue of what to wait inside(at the time there was not even a sign). We exchanged uncertain looks and I opened the door.
Chez Gregory’s small candlelit dining room was decked out in French adornments – chandeliers and red velvet curtains – under an intricate copper-tiled ceiling. He felt historic, like something you would find in Bisbee or some other mining town in Arizona.
The couples settled in at the bar, quietly sipping glasses of red wine and cocktails. We sat at a table in the corner and used the candle to illuminate the menu. Re-reading it, I was surprised to find so many inexpensive options in such a chic space.
A serious little bar menu offers
The cocktail menu focuses on classic and familiar drinks, typically with no more than three or four ingredients. It has a nice variety of spirits, with a few simple but creative gin and whiskey drinks like 7th Street Sour, made with bourbon, rosemary, citrus, and egg whites.
My friend ordered a Prohibition-era cocktail called The Last Word, which features local gin from Scottsdale’s Blue Clover Distillery, shaken with green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur and poured into a delicate cut glass. It was a crisp, grassy take on a classic that played it straight up and didn’t stray from the original recipe.
The six beers on offer are intensely local, the vast majority coming from Phoenix breweries like Walter Station and Greenwood Brewing.
The small wine list is moderately priced from $ 6 to $ 8 a glass and bottles come everywhere from California to Italy. I had a glass of sober and sweet Parducci Pinot Noir from Mendocino County on the California coast. It was good, but next time i’ll stick to cocktails as they really seem to be the stars of the bar, made with great attention to detail and balanced flavors.
Occasional bites shine in the bungalow
When friends and co-owners Steven Schmidt and Gregory Thielen opened Chez Gregory in May, they weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, Thielen said. They kept the menu simple, with a collection of familiar bar snacks and bistro classics like Thai chicken kebabs, steak frites, and Spanish meatballs.
We enjoyed a delicious spread which included a vegetable platter with spicy hummus and an elegant board of goat cheese and honey bruschetta.
I would have been happy with our drinks and entrees, but felt compelled to order at least two main courses. At $ 22, the steak and fries is the most expensive item on the menu and also the most disappointing of the dishes I have tasted. It was bland, although beingtopped with soft bacon jam and button mushrooms. The fries were also dull, under-seasoned, and not crisp enough to really hit the mark.
We did better with the veggie mushroom burger. The homemade fatty galette is made with black beans, lentils and mushrooms and is overcome with melted Gruyere. It was a pretty basic, but nice, combination with a bit of alpine funk courtesy of soft processed cheese. The bun was top notch as well, with a yeast flavor that brought it all together.
A new destination on Roosevelt Row?
Would I go back to Chez Gregory? Absolutely. I like that space doesn’t try to be like everyone else.It’s intimate and understated, without pretension or obvious obsession with Instagram.
The cocktails are simple but well executed and moderately priced, the food casual and snacky. Here,you don’t have to do everything, as the bruschetta board is tastier than the steak, making it a solid choice on weekdays.
The warm and charismatic setting makes this relaxed and low-key bar an ideal destination for a cocktail and a snack with a friend.
Or: 719 E Roosevelt St., Phoenix
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: small plates $ 7- $ 13; larger plates $ 15- $ 22; local beers $ 7; wine $ 6- $ 8 a glass; cocktails $ 10- $ 13.
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