The year-old Epazote Kitchen & Cocktails, the signature restaurant at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, may be part of the Hilton chain, but it is committed to local and regional ingredients.
Grass-fed meat from the San Rafael Valley; beer from Tucson’s Nimbus Brewing Company; cheeses from Crow’s Dairy Farm in Buckeye; and tomatoes from Willcox are all touted on the menu.
That menu, developed under Executive Chef Jan Osipowicz, has Southwest overtones — how could it not, given the restaurant is named after a Mexican herb?
You won’t find terribly adventurous cuisine at Epazote, 10000 N. Oracle Road. But you will find dishes that are quite good.
Such as the Crab Tower ($14) appetizer — a layer of smooth avocado topped by a layer of mild pico de gallo topped by a healthy helping of real crab; and the organic arugula salad ($11), topped with goat cheese, candied pecans and orange wedges, and lightly tossed with an agave vinaigrette.
Smoky beef short ribs ($21) boasted tender meat that fell away from the bones with just a tap and a side of creamy mashed potatoes, whipped with goat cheese (a decadent, delightful touch).
But disappointments came with a pan-seared mountain trout ($19) boned and seared to a crispy outside and a flaky in; and the burger ($16), which was pretty pedestrain despite its base of grass-fed beef accompanied by grilled onion.
See the full review and more restaurant news in Thursday's Caliente.