Arizonans are no strangers to Mexican food. The traditional rice-and-beans plate is a staple at nearly every south-of-the-border joint in town. In fact, the duplicate nature of Mexican food has been parodied in pop culture. Comedian Jim Gaffigan broke Mexican food down to each plate consisting of tortillas, cheese, meat and vegetables.
And to an extent that’s true, but when we traditionally think of Mexican food, what we’re really thinking of is Sonoran food. There’s a region to the south we’re excluding in the term, and that’s where you’ll find more inspiration than the standard three enchilada plate.
The Blind Pig is one of Scottsdale’s most unique dining experiences. Part gourmet butcher shop and part Mexican cafe, the ambiance isn’t what you’d find down the street in Old Town, but it certainly has its charm. A softly lit patio with red umbrellas greets you outside while a full-bar Mexican cantina welcomes hungry guests that weren’t fortunate enough to score an outdoor spot.
Owned by the same people who own the next-door Italian restaurant Uncle Sal’s, the restaurants are making a killing with dual ethnic personalities. I’m a big fan of Sal’s, but this time we decided to try out its neighbor.
Walking into the cantina the first thing you notice is the butcher shop to the right. They slice up exotic meats like alligator and hard-to-find animal products like pork neck bone. If you’re making an oddball dish, this is the place to find your protein. You’d expect a shop like that to be more delicatessen than cantina, but The Blind Pig juggles its multiple personality disorder with flair.
My boyfriend and I sat down for a Saturday night meal. The patio was packed, so we settled on sitting indoors. I was ravenous, so we ordered up two appetizers—the al pastor nachos and the fresh avocado bruschetta. The nachos came stacked high with tomatoes, jalapeños, black olives, onions, white cheddar, cilantro and the most delicious tender al pastor pork. The olives gave it an unexpected kick of complex flavor. On a regular night this would be enough to fill the both of us up, but because this was a review, we ate our way through the menu. (Poor us!)
The avocado bruschetta is essentially unmixed guacamole. A tall stack of chopped avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and onions were tossed in lime juice and garnished with Sriracha, all on top of crispy white crostini. This sort of dish is right up my alley. (I could live off guacamole alone.) My boyfriend, not being the kind of avocado fan that this dish requires, decided to finish off the nachos.
The entrees came with basic presentation. My de pescado (fish) tacos with piled high with onion, cabbage and soft marinated white fish. The fresh flavors blended together in perfect harmony in a lime-tinged sauce. My only complaint is that they were a tad on the salty side, which was also a problem with my boyfriend’s carne asada burrito. His was easily my least favorite dish of the night. The crumbly carne was overly salted but still tasty. If you opt for this one, make sure to get an extra glass of water.
Though we were more than full, we finished off the meal with coconut sorbet. The ultra-light and fresh sorbet was served in a coconut shell. We got all the flavor of a delicious dessert without the post-bliss regret.
Service at The Blind Pig is exceptional. Our attentive server never made us want for anything, and that’s a reason to keep going back. Plus, you just can’t beat the price tag. Our entire meal (with leftovers to go!) plus a glass of red wine was $43. We can’t wait for our next date night at The Blind Pig.
The Blind Pig
3370 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale 85251