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dual: Contemporary American

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My husband and I sometimes "hunt" for dinner. Meaning, we will just get in the car and go searching for a new restaurant to eat dinner. Sometimes they are winners, and sometimes not so much.

I'm happy to report that on our most recent outing (Saturday night) we found a winner! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me.

dual is a restaurant on the corner of Power and Ray (yep, way down there!) that opened in September. They feature locally grown and organic products on their menu striving to provide the freshest and highest quality local products including grain-fed beef, goat cheese and produce.

The setting is sleek and urban, black and white, marble and contemporary art. Certainly not something one would expect in this rural neighborhood. They feature an open kitchen and we were lucky enough to sit at the bar at the end of the kitchen, chatting with the cooks. :biggrin:

The food was very good. For appys we had Crab Cakes (2) with citrus slaw featuring napa cabage ($9). They were a bit small but quite tasty. We watched the cooks make a lovely tuna carpaccio with yellow bell peppers (1/4" dice), avocado, slivered red onion topped with (I think) kiwi couli and grapefruit segments. This was the appy special and it was delicious.

Dinner was Grilled Tri-Tip steak ($19) with horseradish potatoes, caramelized onions and a demi. The meat was cooked perfectly and the potatoes were amazing. (I don't love horseradish so these were a real revelation). I had the Seared Duck Breast ($18)(Maple Leaf Farms) with sweet pea risotto and marsala sauce. Also cooked to a perfect medium rare. The risotto was rice and peas, I was hoping for a pea puree in it instead but it was OK. A little sticky and overcooked but risotto is hard as hell to manage so I'll forgive that one. The thing I find about Maple Leaf Farms is that their duck seems to have been bread to remove any gamey or real ducky flavor from it. It was delicious, just not "ducky" :huh:.

Desserts were quite yummy as well (all $6). DH had the Flourless Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean gelato (they feature Berto's) with soft whipped cream and a quenelle of bittersweet chocolate ganache. What I liked about this was that it was not very sweet at all, and not too bitter. The balance was perfect and the overall impression I got from my one bite was that it was somewhat dry like a good wine. As good as his was, mine was better! I had a pear tart with vanilla gelato and cinnamon caramel sauce. Oh my! I was tapping my toes and humming through the whole thing. :wub: And I don't usually order fruit for dessert (other than berries).

Overall, a great experience. We'll definitely go back. This is a nice restaurant without prices that will break the bank!

They plan on opening a second location in Ocotillo or Ahwatuke in the fall. Here is their web link:dual Contemporary American Cuisine

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  • 1 year later...


I've been spending a little more time in the east valley recently so have had the opportunity to try some different restaurants.

We ate at Dual and I was not as impressed as you. Right off the bat, any restaurant that is offering a tasting menu should not be plopping a glass of water with ice and a straw on the table and not offering a choice of tap or bottled water.

The restaurant space did look good, maybe not too surprising for this rural area anymore. However, some of the patrons still had a bit of a scruffy edge. Please remove all baseball caps upon entering the premises.

We also had the tuna tartare and it was very tasty although I would prefer a finer chop to the tatare.

Entrees were the Seared Duck Breast sweat pea risotto w/Marsala sauce and Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna with mustard glazed cous cous, green beans, peppercorn sauce. I enjoyed the risotto and cous cous more than either entree with both duck and tuna being somewhat bland.

We did not order dessert and had brownies at home instead.

If you haven't yet, try Binkley's or Vu in my part of town.


Edited by ahurwich (log)
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Hi ahurwich,

Yes, I've gone back a couple times to Dual and it appears to slip further and further each time I go. Its quite unfortunate but it seems that they may be adjusting to fit the local consumers tastes or perhaps using less quality ingredients to cut costs? I should have provided follow-up posts to report the decline.

Dual certainly isn't on par with Vu or Brinkley's, never was. I hope my post didn't lead anyone to believe it was. It is a step above what you normally find in this part of the valley though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

LOL I live 'way down there!' Actually, 1/4 mile further down. I pass Dual every day and have never managed to try it.

This part of the East Valley is a bit of genuine desert in terms of great food, but I'll toss out a few recommendations.

Awesome breakfast: The Farmhouse 228 N Gilbert Rd

Get the green chili omelet, it's incredible. Great service, cozy and friendly.

Wonderful burger lunch: Joe's Farm Grill 3000 E Ray Rd (just west of Higley) Great burgers, delicious garlic fries, beautiful farm setting. The coffee shop is good, too.

Terrific Italian dinner: Baci Italian Bistro (NW corner of Ray & Williams Field) The owners (a family) are from Calabria. This is the real deal. Great seafood dishes, excellent veal marsala, tasty pizza and heavenly tiramisu. The place doesn't look like much (we thought it was closed the first 3 months we lived up the street), but the food shines.

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Wow Karen what a treat to have some other options! Thanks for the input. I've had breakfast at the farmhouse but the wait was 40 minutes to get in! I just don't have that kind of patience for coffee :). We'll have to try it again along with your other suggestions.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Eliot...interesting write up. I've got a couple friends who will be bummed out as they live in Queen Creek and enjoy Dual over the majority of the offerings available so close to home.

It says that the owners dissolved due to irreconcilable differences but also seems to blame the mormon population in general for the lack of success. Is that appropriate?

Edited by Genny (log)
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I'm wondering about the Mormon factor. I can certainly see how that argument could work, but there seem to be a fair number of restaurants around here (I live less than a mile from Dual) that do serve alcohol and do succeed. (I'm not Mormon and definitely not a teetotaler.) Baci has a lovely little wine list, and I see wine on many dinner tables. The parking lot at the Applebees in the same shopping center as Dual is pretty full during the Happy Hour times, and the few times we've been there the bar area is reasonably busy. And there are better-end restaurants in Mesa that seem to do quite well, too, despite a heavy Mormon contingent. Then again, maybe that explains the dearth of higher-end restaurants around here. <shrug> Lord knows Gilbert isn't lacking in money.

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