Prado, the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia’s Spanish-inspired restaurant, recently invited us to take part in the unveiling of their new Tapas Bar experience and try their brand new signature dish menu. We gladly welcomed the opportunity to escape the heat of Arizona and pretend we were in Spain. If only for two to three hours.
“This is a new dining experience at Prado, where guests are invited to grab a seat at the tapas bar, chat with the chef that’s tending the flame and prepare themselves for a steady stream of small plates of wood-fired meats, marinated vegetables, and Spanish meats and cheeses,” said Prado Executive Chef Marcos Seville. “We sent members of our culinary team to Spain earlier this summer to rediscover the true flavors and dining style of the region. The result is a menu of tapas and dishes made with traditional ingredients and some incredible house-made sauces that really capture the best of Spanish cuisine. If you haven’t dined at Prado, or it’s a been a while since you’ve been in, this is definitely the time to come back and see what Prado is all about.”
And when chef asks you to try it out, you do not say no.
Our journey began at Prado’s new tapas bar which is as exciting as it is inviting. It’s hard not to get really excited about a wide open flame where chefs grill your food over white oak as you watch. Executive Chef Marcos Seville and Chef de Cuisine Smail Yaakoubi have put lots of thought into flavorful dishes such as wood-fired grilled prime filet served with green house tomatillo salsa; Chorizo Pinchos ($5) featuring Schreiners spicy pork sausage wood-fired and served with house-made harissa chili paste; Tortilla Espanola ($6) featuring potato, olives and egg wrapped in Serrano ham with basil tomato sauce; and Gigantes Beans ($5) made with slow-cooked large white beans, smoked tomato and fresh herbs. We didn’t know what to choose, it all sounded so good, but luckily, Chef chose for us.
Our favorites included the white oak grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and the berenjena, a roasted eggplant that you can spoon onto the house-made sourdough bread. We gladly tucked into these dishes while sipping our sangria and we could have stayed there all night, but the night was young and the tapas bar wasn’t our only stop on this culinary adventure.
We made our way to Prado’s beautiful dining room to try out larger entrées. Their new menu includes dishes like Roasted Beets ($13) with Valdeon mousse, caramelized stone fruits, and Manchego crisp; Crab Timbale ($15) made with avocado, Micro salad and gazpacho vinaigrette; Casablanca Lamb Tagine ($35) with baby vegetables, dried fruits, and saffron risotto; Filet of Red Snapper ($32) with gazpacho vegetables and salsa verde; and Roasted Sea Bass ($34) with fingerling potato, caper berries, spinach and goat cheese cream.
Did somebody say tagine? Tagine is a favorite of ours because your dish is always roasted perfectly in a tagine, creating a succulent meat for the Casablanca lamb that Chef Smail says never needs butter or oil. “We put it in dry with our spice blend.” Something that Chef Smail, who grew up in Casablanca, grinds himself. Their spice blend is amazing and aromatic. We offered to buy but chef insisted we come back to the kitchen and grind the spice blend with him. Obviously, we said yes. Of course, we said yes. Being invited into the kitchen at Prado is an honor!
The spices used for the tagine are a warm bouquet of cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and many, many others. It perfumes the air and smells like a Moroccan Christmas. Chef Smail explains this spice blend is only for lamb tagine so if we want the chicken spices, we have to come back for that. (Yes, we can do that.)
For those who don’t eat meat, try Prado’s paella for a true taste of Spain or their sea bass; a buttery, flaky piece of fish served with caper berries, which are not like capers at all. They have a hint of citrus and the texture of a fig all while being the size of a grape. It goes so well with the fish.
If you want to stop into Prado for drinks, maybe before dinner… during dinner… or as an aperitif, whenever it is, we highly recommend visiting Sommelier Sarah Joubert at Prado’s bar.
Joubert knows all the biggest trends in drinks and she says Spain is all about the gin and tonic, or “gin tonic” as they say there. Joubert explains that the formerly very British drink was brought over by the British chefs working in Spain and it’s taken the country by storm. To celebrate, she’s introduced a few new ‘gin tonics’ to her cocktail program including a Commerce gin with Mediterranean tonic garnished with grapefruit peel and cardamom pod; Malfy gin, from Italy, with Indian tonic garnished with cilantro and a perfectly placed orange slice; and Plymouth gin with elderflower tonic garnished with raspberry and rosemary, all decidedly refreshing takes on the usually too-sweet gin and tonic we’re all used to.
We tried really hard but we couldn’t pick a winner. You’ll have to go in there and decide for yourself! While you’re at the bar, may we also recommend ordering the marinated olives and a personalized charcuterie board? You won’t regret your decision. The custom boards of cured meats and Spanish cheeses include options such as house-made LOMO ($5), a black pepper-spiced filet mignon carpaccio, dry-cured Spanish Jamon Serrano ($6), and Valdeon ($5) goat and cow’s milk blue cheese, to name a few. And guess what? They all pair nicely with your wine or your gin tonic. Or both. Nobody has to choose favorites.
For dessert, Prado delighted us with a trio of small sweets including a flourless chocolate cake wrapped in phyllo pouches, a pasiega cheesecake adorned with fresh berries, and a wild berry crumble with roasted almonds. They were all rich and easy to eat, but the cheesecake was the clear winner as we said very optimistically we would “just have a bite” and then proceeded to eat the entire decadent thing. For being a cheesecake, this dessert was lighter than air, sweet, a little tangy, and far too easy to enjoy.
Prado is inspired by the traditions of Spain with wood-fired cooking techniques, unique wines from the region, an Old World dining room and patio with stunning views of Camelback Mountain. Executive Chef Seville now oversees Prado, previously serving as the resort’s executive sous chef since 2013.
The Prado Tapas Bar opens daily at 5 p.m., with dinner service at Prado starting at 5:30 p.m. nightly. And we would go nightly if we could. Prado is also open daily for breakfast and dinner, serving brunch on Sundays and is located at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, 4949 E Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale.
For reservations, call (480) 627-3200. For more details, visit: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/scottsdale-montelucia/dining/prado.
Say we sent you! Only because it’s funny to make people say, “Bitches Food Club.”
For the record, Prado invited us and fed us gratis, but we love Prado and we gladly make our way to the resort to eat all the time anyway! It’s perfect for celebrations, after-work libations, date night, and even Tuesday night. Anytime, really.