An expansive raw bar, fresh seafood and stellar service bring new life to Scottsdale’s upscale dining scene.
Seared scallops in a tomato nage sauce surround a cake of English peas, rock shrimp, chorizo and bomba rice.
While new places to dine on seafood and steak are in no shortage in Scottsdale, Modern Oysterbar Chophouse offers service and industry experience that is truly novel. Combined, co-owners Cat and Randy Frankel and Frank Schneider have nearly a century of industry experience, including managing Valley favorites such as Bourbon & Bones, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Steak 44. This expertise is reflective in the design—inside, you’ll find luxe, glitzy decor and chandeliers galore, fitting right in with the upscale Scottsdale dining scene—as well as in the dishes themselves. Unlike its neighbors, however, the focal point here is a large oyster bar serving up fresh seafood and shellfish.
Mike Bayer pours a Cucumber Twist cocktail.
To start the evening off, Tony—who we highly recommend requesting as your server—brought us the “Modern” martini, part of a signature cocktail program. As soon as we finished sipping this citrusy, basil-spiked goodness, Tony returned with the lobster bisque—his favorite soup on the menu—and a salt-roasted beet salad. The former boasted thick chunks of lobster claw and knuckle meat in a bath of creamy cognac and creme fraiche.
Filet served Modern Oscar style with grilled lobster, bearnaise and asparagus.
The latter even my beet-averse companion found bright and delightful with its texture profile of wheat berries, mustard greens, marcona almonds and feta. Next came a bevy of bivalves: clams casino and what I believe to be the nonpareils of the meal, oysters Rockefeller, which were rich and full of umami, but still light, fresh and briny. The real treats came at the main course: a generous serving of thick, buttery seared scallops with a side of rich au gratin potatoes laced with jalapenos for a punch of heat. And, of course, who could resist the 6-ounce center-cut filet, wet-aged for 30 days, with the additional Modern Oscar-style upgrade, a topping of grilled lobster, asparagus and bearnaise.
The posh interior
We could have stopped there, but the sides were too tantalizing to resist, so we opted for roasted wild mushrooms and a creamed corn, both sumptuous and comforting. French toast-style bacon bread pudding, with its salty and sweet dichotomy, made a nice end to an already decadent meal. Modern Oysterbar Chophouse is the perfect enclave for North Scottsdale dwellers to enjoy an opulent meal and spectacular service with a bit of cachet.
MODERN OYSTERBAR CHOPHOUSE
10050 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste. 127
Sun., 4-9pm; Tue.-Sat., 4-10pm; Happy hour: Tue.-Sat., 4-6pm
Photography by: Carl Schultz