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The Blind Pig in Scottsdale, 4 stars

By Barbara Yost
Special for The Republic | azcentral.com
Thu May 30, 2013 10:21 AM

AZ-Central-logo-ShopTabHobe Meats has been operating a high-quality butcher shop in Phoenix since 1962. Now, Hobe is part of an interesting concept in Scottsdale, staking out a small section of the new cafe, the Blind Pig, on Hayden Road. Walk in and find a whole case full of fresh meats — a kind of Hobe in miniature — and then take a seat and enjoy a menu featuring some of those same meats. The cuisine is modern Mexican in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. You could go hog wild here.

Scene: The Blind Pig sits in an attractive strip mall flanked by the Side Door and Uncle Sal’s, both owned by Robert Molinari, as is the Pig. The Pig’s decor is dark wood and a lot of hard surfaces, but the noise level won’t have you shouting across the table. Across the back of the room is a bar with about half a dozen stools. Out front on the plaza is the patio. Open since late January, this porker already has attracted a following that packed the room the night we were there.

Food: The starter menu is substantial and could spark arguments. One notable item is Pig Wings, bone-in pork shanks glazed in a chipotle sauce ($7). We thought the queso fundido ($7) sounded good, and it was — a ceramic skillet of cheesy bean dip riddled with bits of chorizo and serrano peppers for enough kick to make it interesting. The bowl of chips runs out before the dip does, but we were promised refills. The consistency is just right to grab onto a chip and ride the pathway to your mouth without too much spillage.

If you’re a macaroni-and-cheese lover, don’t pass up the white Cheddar mac and cheese ($5). The macaroni is small but well creamed in a sauce with green chilies and not so rich that you’re stuffed after the first bite. It’s on the menu as a side, but consider it for a lunch entree or small plate.

Mexican pizza can be dreary — a lot of sloppy toppings on a hard tortilla. The Pig reinvents the dish as an actual pizza ($10) with a thin crust spread with white Cheddar, spicy chorizo, shredded cabbage, cilantro and jalapeños. There’s a lot going on, but it all melds together well.

To satiate taco hunger, choose from five varieties, three to an order. We tried El Pollo tacos ($8), with pulled chicken, lettuce and red onions covering three flour tortillas and served with a cup each of red and green sauce. There’s some wattage here, but also plenty of flavor and moist chicken with a squeeze of lime. Next time, I’d like to try the pork or the short rib.

We did dig into a plate of short rib meat in the adobo-braised short rib ($10), a fist of tender, succulent meat in a chipotle sauce on a bed of rice sprinkled with scallions. No complaints.

The best dish we tried was the shrimp and corn tamale ($10), a deconstructed sculpture of several plump grilled shrimp in a corn and cilantro cream sauce, resting on a base of masa with just the right sweetness, on one half of a husk with the other half arched over, garnished with a slice of lime. This is an excellent interpretation.

Desserts: With all that food, we just had room to share a terrific slice of key lime pie ($7), packed with limey flavor, not too sweet, in a nice graham-cracker crust.

Drinks: The Pig has a good selection of white and red wines, cocktails such as a Mexican Martini, margaritas, and several Mexican beers.

Lowdown: You’ll squeal with delight for this Pig, the kind of place you can go back to over and over. The prices are humble, considering the quality of the fare. And on your way out, you can pick up some steaks and chops for dining at home. A perfect partnership.


Pig out at this meat shop/restaurant serving prime pork in a homey Scottsdale setting.

Author: Carey Sweet
PRINT Issue: April, 2013, Page 368

logoPHXThese days you can’t throw a ham hock without hitting a restaurant with a porcine name. Pig & Pickle, Salty Sow, The Blind Pig… Which might lead one to believe the latter is a bastion of beet salad, bacon brittle, and all things trendy. In a pig’s eye!

The Blind Pig is owned by Robert Molinari, who owns Uncle Sal’s Italian eatery next door, and the Side Door bar and restaurant in the same strip mall. But here, he has partnered with Hobe Meats of Phoenix. Hobe, as any carnivore worth their gristle knows, has been a Valley staple for more than 50 years, specializing in USDA Prime beef, top quality poultry, daily-caught fish, and boutique meats such as duck, goose, turkey, and even alligator. So at The Blind Pig, there’s a cold case near the front door where fresh-butchered meats beckon to be taken home. While we wait briefly for food to arrive at the handful of wood tables, we can browse for ruby red bottom round pot roast ($6) or richly marbled Porterhouse ($23), stock up on Hobe brand habanero barbecue sauce, and check out extras like pre-packed calf liver.

phx-magThe bar sits in the back, and even on weekday afternoons, it’s clear this is a neighborhood gathering spot, set with high-back metal chairs, TVs, and regulars who come to shoot the breeze alongside shots of Patron Silver tequila or a Blind Mule cocktail blending Ultimat Vodka, ginger beer and lime juice ($7).

One of the benefits of having a meat shop in a restaurant is the guarantee that proteins are pristine. The “pig wings” ($7), for example, are freshly plucked petite pork shanks slathered in spicy-sweet chipotle glaze, then grilled. Pull the tender meat off the bone with your teeth and feel civilized by pairing it with a glass of Catena Malbec from Mendoza ($7).

Pork al pastor is generously scattered across flour or corn tortillas to make a trio of soft tacos, the caramelized meat dotted with cilantro, red onion and grilled pineapple ($8), while a pork chop is hand carved before being grilled to juiciness and smothered in mild mole ($10).

This is blue jeans food of the best kind, with mild red chile sauce seeping into a torta ahogada ($8) stuffed with shredded chicken, refried beans, crumbled queso fresco, chunky guacamole and pickled jalapeño (just be sure to ask for extra sauce, since on two of my visits the bolillo was dry). Yet here and there are surprising haute touches, such as good oysters Rockefeller ladled with fresh spinach cream sauce ($10), and a feathery-light tamale spiked with shrimp and fresh corn moistened with cream corn cilantro sauce ($10).

You can get dessert if you want, though there’s not much special about the options of coconut or pineapple sorbet, key lime pie, and Snickers cheesecake (all $7).

Whatever ends up on your table, as spring weather blossoms, there’s little better place to enjoy it than on the fountain patio beneath towering date palms. Don’t bring the pig, but do bring the puppy – the butcher counter also sells raw pet food and savory, chewable bones.


New Speakeasy Opens in Scottsdale

Kirstina Bolton
Arizona Foothills Magazine
March 29, 2013

logo_bg-2011-e1302101251798-300x126Stacked between the locally famous Italian restaurant, Uncle Sal’s, and its adjoining American-Italian diner, The Sidedoor, stands the newest concept for Ram Sam Restaurants: The Blind Pig. Named in honor of the speakeasys during the Prohibition Era, The Blind Pig fuses the masterminds of HOBE Meats Butcher Shoppe with the definitive taste buds of gourmet chef Jimmy Molinari in a seamless partnership in Scottsdale.

“I like to call it Latin soul food,” says owner Bob Molinari. “We researched just about every region in Mexico to bring this menu together, from street foods, traditional dishes and dishes native to the cities its origins are from. To finish off the menu, we incorporated the assistance of our chef’s mentor Chef Pascal Dionot, Executive Director of The Classic Cooking Academy in North Scottsdale, in building every plate within a classic French style.”

The menu boasts an intense marriage of flavors found in everything from their short rib tacos to the chipotle-glazed pork shanks (Pig Wings), and not to mention the entrees including wild mushroom quesadilla and shrimp and corn tamale.

Fresh-squeezed lime, orange and grapefruit juice create the foundation for their full bar’s signature cocktails including the Blind Mule, a divine combination of grapefruit juice, ginger beer and vodka, and the Mexican Margarita with a little lime, a little salt, and lots of tequila and citron.

With grilling season well underway, The Blind Pig Butcher Shoppe under HOBE Meats offers fresh, all-natural cuts of prime grade meats. You can sit and have a cocktail while you have a pork roast or rack of lamb cut for your evening’s festivities. If beef isn’t in your arsenal, consider their fish, chicken, and non-traditional options of frog legs, alligator and kangaroo meat. They even sell packages of ground beef specifically for the four-legged friends.

“We wanted to bring a quality experience of buying protein, the center of your plate,” Bob Molinari says. “We have used HOBE Meats exclusively within Uncle Sal’s and The Side Door for more than five years, and they have provided us an opportunity to have tremendous quality and great service that we want to share with the public.”

The butcher shoppe is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m- 7 p.m. The restaurant is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m-9 p.m, and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m-10 p.m. www.thejamesagency.com/blind-pig.


Blind Pig restaurant and butcher shop opens in Scottsdale

By Carey Sweet
Special for The Republic | azcentral.com
Fri Feb 8, 2013 12:25 PM

AZ-Central-logo-ShopTabThe Blind Pig is now open for business in south Scottsdale, and it’s courting a diverse clientele, ranging from diners who want to eat fine, chef-prepared meat dishes to home cooks who want to purchase fine meats.

Operating as both a restaurant and a butcher shop, the concept unites the efforts of Robert Molinari, who owns Uncle Sal’s eatery and the Side Door bar and restaurant (both next door to Blind Pig at Hayden and Osborn roads), plus Hobe Meats of Phoenix.

Adding an extra friendly touch, the shop sells raw pet food and savory, chewable bones.

For people eats, the theme is Mexican, overseen by Robert’s son and Uncle Sal’s chef, Jimmy Molinari. Rounding things out is a full bar crafting premium cocktails, beer and wine, plus al fresco dining on a fountain patio framed by date palms and flower beds.

On the protein side, diners can select from specialties such as pig wings of petite bone-in pork shanks grilled in chipotle glaze ($7); al pastor tacos stuffed with caramelized pork and pineapple ($8); a pizza of house-made chorizo with sharp white cheddar, shredded cabbage, cilantro and jalapeño ($10); or pork chop molé ($10).

Lighter meats include shredded chicken in a torta ahogada layered in refried beans, crumbled queso fresco, chunky guacamole and pickled jalapeños on a bolillo smothered in red chile sauce ($8).

Seafood also plays a big role, with shrimp-halibut ceviche ($7); oysters Rockefeller ($10); and grilled fish of the day.

On the butcher side, the concept follows the tradition of Hobe Meats, a Valley staple for more than 50 years. As with the central Phoenix store, all beef is USDA Prime, and the cases brim with everything from duck, goose, turkey and daily-caught fish.

Details: The Blind Pig, 3370 N.Hayden Road, Suite116, Scottsdale. 480-994-1055, thejamesagency.com/blind-pig. Hours: 11a.m.-9p.m. weekdays; noon-10p.m. Saturdays.


Blind Pig to open in Scottsdale in January

By Carey Sweet
Special for The Republic | azcentral.com
Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:21 PM

AZ-Central-logo-ShopTabWhile Robert Molinari puts the finishing touches on his new south Scottsdale business, the Blind Pig, he’s giving us a sneak peek at the service.

The concept is summed up as “butcher, dining, cocktails,” meaning a restaurant, deli and retail meat shop. It unites the resources of Molinari’s Scottsdale restaurant Uncle Sal’s, Hobe Meats of Phoenix and the Side Door, a bar and restaurant next door to Sal’s that is also owned by Molinari.

Look for Blind Pig to come into view in January. Until then, customers can order the bulk Hobe meats that will be for sale in the store and served in the restaurant.

The Blind Pig takes over the space formerly known as the Twisted Vine and sits in the same strip center at Hayden and Osborn roads as Uncle Sal’s and Side Door. Staff will include cooks crafting casual Mexican cuisine, food servers and bartenders, but also a trained butcher for managing custom cuts to order.

A preview menu shows such dishes as butcher-shop-made chorizo in cheese-chile bean dip ($5.95), shirt ribs tacos ($3.95), and a Torta Abogada Pigs Drowned Sandwich of shredded Hobe chicken, refried beans, crumbled queso fresco, chunky guacamole and pickled jalapeños on a torta roll smothered in red chile sauce ($7.95).

Meatless dishes include tomatillo-watermelon salad with queso fresco in mint-lime vinaigrette ($6.95), ceviche ($6.95) and wild mushroom quesadillas ($7.95).

For pre-opening meat orders, customers can visit unclesalsaz.com or stop by Uncle Sal’s for specialties like Sam’s Ranch free-range turkeys ($2.99 a pound), duck ($5.99 a pound), goose ($6.99 a pound) and prime tenderloin ($31.99 a pound).

Hobe Meats has been butchering and selling a wide range of proteins since 1962. The shop, at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road in north-central Phoenix, is known for its custom orders, for anything from rabbit to rattlesnake.

Details: Uncle Sal’s, 3370 N. Hayden Road, Suite 120, Scottsdale. 480-990-2533, unclesalsaz.com. The Blind Pig, 3370 N. Hayden Road, Suite 116, Scottsdale.

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