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Elliott DiBattista presides over the 10,000-bottle cellar (tours available upon request), serves as the restaurant sommelier, and helps executive chef Jonathan Gelman pair wines with the popular tasting menu. Every night, Jonathan – trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco – creates a new seven-course meal ($115 per person with wine, $70 without). He says guests like this style because they can dine at the resort for several nights and not get bored.
“I use only local produce and specialty growers,” Jonathan says. “Our fish is flown in daily from Hawaii and we always have five or six different fish on the menu. We also serve a lot of game – venison, duck, lamb, rabbit and buffalo.”
Menu items are served a la carte, so guests can create their own tasting menu, choosing accompanying wines with the sommelier’s help. Jonathan has his own herb garden on site and he makes use of the property’s apple and peach trees on occasion.
L’Auberge Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch as well as dinner; hors d’oeuvres are served daily from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. A gourmet Sunday brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek 301 L’Auberge Ln. in Uptown Sedona (928-282-1667; www.lauberge.com)
‘Appeteazers’ prove to be bar crowd-pleasers
Kyle Evans, executive chef at Reds Restaurant at Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, rose to the challenge of creating a diverse American comfort food menu, turning dishes such as meatloaf into gourmet fare, for example, by using New York strip steak, beef tenderloin and veal loin. The restaurant’s appeteazers, or small plates, allow diners to sample a little bit of everything.
“The appeteazers are especially popular in the bar and lounge,” Kyle says. Favorites include the seared salmon, tapas meatloaf, petit endive and pear salad, and braised short ribs.
Kyle, who graduated from the New England Culinary Institute and worked for a master chef in France, recently introduced a tasting menu with a twist. He meets with diners, discusses what they like, then creates a five-course menu, pairing wines from an 80-label list on request. The tasting option is not on Reds’ menu but the wait staff usually offers it to guests, and those in the know can make advanced reservations. “You walk away feeling good, not stuffed,” Kyle says.
Kyle uses organic and all natural ingredients whenever possible; everything is made from scratch, from the sauces to the ice cream. Reds also features Sedona Rouge’s own wine label, from Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars just south of Sedona. In the future, Kyle plans to start a local wine club and expand a newly launched wine dinner series. A spa menu of vegetarian and healthy cuisine is also joining the mix.
Reds features a 60-seat bar with a red glass back, exhibition kitchen with a wood-burning oven, and lounge with couches and live entertainment. It is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner with daily and weekly specials.
Reds Restaurant 2250 W. Hwy 89A at Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa (928-203-4111; www.sedonarouge.com)