The Land of Enchantment geographically sits right next to us Arizonans, continually cross pollinating our cuisine. New Mexico’s critical ingredient of course is the chile. If you’ve ever been to New Mexico you know the chile’s reverence and near ubiquity in their state. Fortunately for those of us who live near (or in) the Phoenix Metropolitan area, we are blessed with a jewel of a restaurateur creating inspired New Mexican styled cuisine, and the atmosphere to match in all 3 of his restaurants: Richardson’s, The Rokerij & this writer’s personal favorite: Dick’s Hideaway.
During a Grand Canyon hike some years ago, “The Walkin’ Boss” in our party raved about Dick’s Hideaway & Richardson’s. This writer recalls dining at the original Richardson’s in early 2003 before an Eric Johnson performance at the now defunct Nita’s Hideaway (lots of Hideaways!) After checking out Dick’s in 2007, this writer ALWAYS makes a concerted effort to stop in for an indulgent and languid dining experience when in the Valley of the Sun.
Chiles figure prominently in many of Mr. Browne’s inventive concoctions, and he takes creativity even further by incorporating a variety of fresh fish with the New Mexican / Southwestern twist. For this writer, the seafood dishes are where the true guilty pleasures are:
Walking into this Speakeasy through the kitchen in the back is a joy. Once entering the warm and cozy bistro dining room, the aroma from the pecan wood grill & indoor chimanea hits you. The music and atmosphere begin nourishing your spirit at once…Ahh, you can stay for awhile, provided you can find a seat. Depending on when you drop in, Dick’s Hideaway can be a lazy affair or packed to the rafters. There is a humorous tale on one President George W. Bush in 2004 stopping by for some turkey – stuffed enchiladas after debating Democrat Presidential Candidate John F. Kerry (who also served in Vietnam):
Once inside, diners can peruse the chalk board detailing that day’s specials to include seafood chile amalgamations among others, or consult the standard placemat menus. From pecan wood grilled swordfish with chile sauce, crab bisque, the Original Green Chile Potato, pinto beans, pan seared salmon bites to Carne Adovada and the Taos Tenderloin, there is a ton to choose from for your palette. The menu changes periodically and the bar with beer, wine and cocktail offerings are all excellent. Desert is not to be skipped, and their flan and tres leches offer that final polishing after a gut busting meal.
During one dining sojourn, this writer skipped out early from work and went to Dick’s, and bellied up. Since it was mid-afternoon on a weekday there were only two other gentlemen sitting at the end of the bar. Several tapas were procured along with the entree, fat salad, desert and requisite suds (Chimay on draught.) One of the men, the tall, wiry intense looking one with the neatly shaved head – turned out to be the owner, Richardson Browne. He motioned to me and commented, “You are a Diner. You’re welcome here anytime.”