I’ve found my last meal.
You know that game where people talk about what would be their last meal before they die? I’ve had a few ideas go through my head over the years, but after dining at Citizen Public House in Scottsdale, I can say without a doubt that my last meal would be this restaurant’s version of pork belly pastrami.
An often-ordered starter, the pork belly pastrami ($12) is a luscious dish of thick cuts of fatty pork belly that have been cured like pastrami, served perfectly crisp around the edges to encase the fatty and tasty interior. But it’s not just the two slices of pork belly pastrami that satisfy, it’s also the accompanying shredded Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut and mustard jus that provide a delightful tang to cut into the richness of the pork belly.
The pork belly pastrami is one of my favorite dishes I ate during my spring training (baseball) trip to Arizona. Citizen Public House is a bustling restaurant in the heart of the 5th Avenue drag of boutique shops just north of Old Town Scottsdale. The décor is slightly old tavern meets contemporary pub. (For dinner I ordered an IPA that worked well with my meal.)
After the pork belly pastrami, nothing could really compare but the dishes that followed still satisfied with quality ingredients mixed with expert combination of flavors.
The kale Caesar salad ($12) was a rich green plate of Tuscan kale tossed with grape tomatoes, croutons, and parmesan cheese all dressed in an eggless Caesar dressing. Underneath the salad was a slab of warm Scamorza cheese that I didn’t expect to find in a salad.
My main course was the Applewood Smoked Duck ($24) because I always order duck when I see it on a restaurant menu. The Maple Leaf Farms duck breasts were cooked nicely, and the flavors reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner with the addition of Bing cherry compote. What I really enjoyed about the dish was the rosemary millet under the duck, which was the first time I ate millet (often used in bird seed). At Citizen Public House, the millet is cooked until it’s creamy like polenta or risotto.
After the pork belly pastrami and duck, I barely had room for dessert. But I left Citizen Public House with a smile because of the delicious meal combined with a fun environment and fantastic service. If you’re ever in Arizona, you must drive – must, I say – to Citizen Public House to order the pork belly pastrami. Simply heavenly.
Rating: 3.5 out of 4 camera snaps
Citizen Public House, 7111 E. 5th Ave., (at Craftsman Court), Scottsdale, Ariz. PH: 480.398.4208. Open daily 3 to 11 p.m. citizenpublichouse.com
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