The $10 vegetarian Avocado Toast at Province Urban Kitchen and Bar is one of many new seasonal menu items. (Photo: Fara Illich)
Upscale lunch options abound in Downtown Phoenix. Fresh ingredients, seasonal flavors and a chic, welcoming environment are just some of things downtown diners have come to expect during their midday nosh. In an area rapidly expanding its culinary acclaim, the restaurant at Westin Phoenix Downtown decided it was time to step it up a notch. With a new name, new look and new chef, Province Urban Kitchen and Bar presented a revamped farm-to-table menu in June – and will undergo remodeling and interior changes over the next few months.
The Big Rooster ($13) at Province features a lightly fried, creamy chicken breast, spicy sriracha aioli and all the fixings in a tower on top. (Photo: Fara Illich)
The new design is beautiful and very modern (think less pink with more natural light) but the food really steals the show. After the February arrival of Executive Chef Martin Scott, previously of Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, everything got a total rewrite from banquets to breakfast. “I order something different from the menu every day and the cooks don’t know it’s for me,” he said. “That’s how we keep everyone on their toes.” According to Scott, the key is consistency, freshness and presentation. For lunch, he makes sure everything on the menu comes out of the kitchen looking and tasting great in 12 minutes or less.
The seasonal Heirloom Carrot Salad ($12) looks beautiful and tastes light, fresh and flavorful. (Photo: Fara Illich)
Another concept Scott brings to the table is flexibility, changing the menu with the seasons. For example, the Heirloom Carrot Salad ($12) features a colorful array of carrots from a farm in Wilcox and will be available throughout the summer. With arugula, tart dried razz cherries, Mount Tam goat cheese, sunflower seeds and light local honey emulsion — it will be switched out for a heartier salad come fall. For something a bit more substantial, the Smoke House Burger ($16) packs a flavor punch with a house-blend of smoky brisket, pepper jack cheese, thick-cut bacon and all the fixings. Served on an English muffin, it presents just the right amount of bread, sturdy enough to hold all the goods on board.
Under the tower of fixings, spicy pepper jack cheese, thick-cut bacon and hollandaise sauce pairs well with the layered flavors of the Smoke House Burger ($16) at Province. (Photo: Fara Illich)
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The appetizers or “Small Plates” are some of the most delicious items on the menu. With soft, crunchy, locally-made sourdough, fresh burrata cheese, colorful tomatoes and super sweet grapes, the Avocado Toast ($10) is definitely a show stealer. In addition to smaller plates, the menu features a healthy range of vegetarian and gluten-free options, including a section devoted to the “Lighter Side,” which includes a breakdown of calories, fat, protein and carbs.
Super flavorful and surprisingly healthy, the Free Range Turkey Burger ($14) at Province is a fan favorite. (Photo: Fara Illich)
The Free Range Turkey Burger ($14) weighs in at 485 calories but doesn’t skimp on flavor one bit. Featuring a slaw of jicama, mango, yellow pepper and big slices of avocado, topping a thick, perfectly-cooked turkey patty — this sandwich may be the best thing on the menu. The sweet potato fries certainly help it along. “I could never find a turkey burger I liked so I started experimenting with my own recipe,” Scott said. “Now I travel around the world with this one.” Scott brings 20 years of experience to Province and has worked extensively in the Pacific Islands and Asia. Though he lives downtown and is a native to Arizona, Chef Scott grew up on the U.S. Territory of Guam where he developed a skill and artistry for seafood (the $12 Ahi Tuna Tartare is divine.) Province Urban Kitchen and Bar is located at 333 N. Central Avenue inside the Westin Phoenix Downtown and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Call 602-429-3600 for hours, specials or more information.