FOODIES WEST.COM         

  MERITAGE AN URBAN TAVERN
with Chef de Cuisine Phillip Keppler
  

  JW MARRIOTT PHOENIX DESERT RIDGE

in Phoenix, Arizona

Crafted Service

September 2017 Issue | Vol. 5, No. 15


 

 

 
















 
 
 
 

 
Chef de Cuisine
HEARTH '61
PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZONA

ALFRED MURO

  Executive Sous Chef
MOUNTAIN SHADOWS 
PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZONA

CHRISTOPHER BRUGMAN

Executive Chef
MARRIOTT MARQUIS CHICAGO
JOSHUA MURRAY

Executive Chef 
FOUR SEASONS SCOTTSDALE
CHUCK KAZMER


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VIVA XXXII Tequila
Democratizing Luxury


M.F.K. FISHER
Food writer extraordinaire

  Manager/Mixologist
MERITAGE an Urban Tavern
JW MARRIOTT PHOENIX DESERT RIDGE

TRAVIS PARSLEY

      
Montelobos Mezcal
with Iván Saldaña, PhD.


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Meritage An Urban Tavern at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona | Chef de Cuisine Phillip Keppler It’s got craft beer, craft cocktails, great-find-wines, and well-crafted food. But none of those individual elements came to Ryan Lamkin’s mind when asked what makes the restaurant he, as executive chef, oversees, different. Rather, he said, simply, “crafted service”. “We have great service professionals here,” Lamkin explained. “Great chefs in the kitchen.” That would be, for instance, chef de cuisine Phil Keppler and, when our table dined there, his shadow, Arthur Whiting, who goes by the title of Culinary Voyager. Keppler’s entire team consists of “six or seven minds” that put their heads together to come up with dishes “using the best of everything”. “The food is definitely approachable,” Lamkin added. Approachable, yes. But, like most everything at Meritage (including the staff), different. Different, but distinctly cohesive. The whole place—from the kitchen to the bar to the cellar—features local, small batch, high-quality products. Lamkin can pull this off because the property happens to appear on top national lists. “One of the things about working at such a big property is,” Lamkin explained, “we’re such a big fish in the pond, we can afford to get the best products. It’s not a standard restaurant where we really have to watch every single penny and watch everything tooth and nail. We get to have a lot of freedom up here. We’ll make up our food costs elsewhere, banquets and everything else. We get to have some fun up here because it’s a little bit smaller scale. So we use really nice ingredients, which I think is a really big part of it. Serving really fine steaks at night. Chilean Sea Bass. We have really fresh and really great food.” Really? Really.