PHOENIX — I came here to watch the UCF Knights play in the Fiesta Bowl, but I took the advantage of a few extra days here to check out what is going on with restaurants in the Valley of the Sun.
The hot chef here currently is Kevin Binkley, who was a 2013 James Beard Award nominee. He has also cooked at the estimable Inn at Little Washington and the French Laundry. Binkley has a restaurant in the northern part of the valley called Binkley’s, a fine dining destination in Cave Creek. But he’s been opening more casual places that are more approachable, both in terms of price and location. I stopped in on my first night at Bink’s Midtown, on Osbourne Road near 24th Street in Phoenix.
Bink’s is a small, brightly lit restaurant with tables covered with white cloths and topped with butcher paper. Napkins are kitchen style tea towels (in fact, the majority of restaurants I visited over the past few days used these towels as napkins; that’s not a new thing, and we see them in Central Florida, but it was prevalent). The ambience isn’t anything special; I wondered if a designer had even been consulted. People obviously come here for the quality of the food.