UPDATE: January 2014 – Sadly, Renegade by MOD closed at the end of December. It may come back at another location and we will keep you posted if it does.
I finished off Arizona Restaurant Week 2013 by dining at Renegade by MOD. I will say right now that it was probably my favorite restaurant I visited during the week.
Renegade by MOD opened in May 2013 with Executive Chef and co-owner Michael O’Dowd at the helm. Chef O’Dowd was the Executive Chef for the restaurant Kai in Phoenix for ten years, which earned AAA five-diamond and Forbes Travel Guide 5-star restaurant awards. He put that restaurant on the map, so to speak, and I’m certain he is about to do the same with Renegade by MOD.
The restaurant week special they offered was a 3 course meal for $30.00 and wine pairings for an additional $15.00 per person. My meal was absolutely delicious and the wine pairings were the perfect companions to an extraordinary meal.
I started with the lightly smoked duck pastrami bruschetta on pretzel crostini. A duck pate and truffle butter spread formed the base with tomatoes, tomatillo chutney and applewood bacon on top of the finely sliced duck pastrami. Rather than have a hard, toasted piece of bread, the pretzel crostini was soft and had a delicious flavor of its own that complimented the duck. They served a 2011 Earthquake Zinfandel with this course that far exceeded my expectations.
Ryan LaVacque, the General Manager, took time to sit down with us for a few minutes and discussed the wines at length. This particular wine was produced in Lodi, California which is only a few miles from where I grew up. I certainly don’t remember Lodi as a wine producing town, but they clearly know what they are doing.
The second course was a mesquite grilled petite filet mignon and lobster knuckles. The filet absolutely melted in my mouth. Our waiter explained that the meat had been further aged at the restaurant to achieve that result. A 2011 Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon was served with this course and again, was the perfect compliment.
I couldn’t resist the white chocolate and apple crème brulee for desert. It was absolutely delicious and was served with a 2012 Clean Slate Riesling. It was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.
They were kind enough to let me bring home their regular menu as well as the MOD bar menu. In looking over the menus, they have insured that diners can order as little or as much as they want. Chef O’Dowd shops locally and it shows in the bar menu where he is featuring Queen Creek Olives in MOD Marinade.
As you can see by the attached photo, the wine cellar is extensive. What is most interesting is that they are all very unique wines and they offer moderately priced bottles or glasses of wine for the diner’s enjoyment.
In addition to great wine and fine food, Renegade has live music every Friday and Saturday night from 8-11 pm and an open mike on Wednesdays from 2 PM to closing time. Starting in October, they will host the Renegade Farmer’s Market from 5:30 to 8:30 pm offering live music, local farmers and artisans and “good eats”.
And there is more to come. Chef O’Dowd and his business partner Ed Leclere have formed a new company called Vivid Lifestyle Concepts and are promising new concepts to launch. I’ve already been told to watch for the opening of a new restaurant in Fountain Hills in October.
Renegade by MOD
9343 E Shea Boulevard
Scottsdale AZ 85260
– Dining hours are 5:30 to 9:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday; 5:30 to 10:00 pm Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sunday/Monday.