June 21, 2008

Josephine’s Modern American Bistro

By Angele Sionna

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="503 N. Humphrey's St., Flagstaff, AZ"]503 N. Humphreys St., Flagstaff, AZ[/caption]

503 N. Humphrey’s Street, Flagstaff
menu at: www.josephinesrestaurant.com/menu.htm

The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>>>> = always great, unique, and flavorful no matter where you're from

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxxxx = you'll love it

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)
Lunch= $$$
Dinner = $$$$$

Value (what you get for your money)
Lunch **** = worth it - you won’t be disappointed with what you get for your money
Dinner *** = fair -you get what you pay for, not in a bad way

Josephine’s Modern American Bistro is the kind of restaurant that catches your eye from the moment you drive up. With its dark volcanic rock columns and beautiful, inviting stone patio, it’s a romantic setting anytime of the day. The quaintness increases in the evenings with the twinkling of lights around the historic building. The sense of timelessness is not, however, reflected on the very modern menu, which features bold and flavorful combinations of food to delight both the eye and the stomach. Josephine’s proclaims on their menu to be free of “ethnic constraints.” Instead blending “ingredients and techniques from many different cultures.” This is the type of place you come to have flavors dance through your mouth, popping with originality in their combinations.

The experience at Josephine’s differs depending on whether you are dining for lunch or dinner, as well as seasonally. While the atmosphere, service, and food quality remain the same, the prices vary quite a bit. At lunch, the prices are slightly higher than other top eateries in town with slightly smaller portions. At dinner, Josephine’s is true fine dining with prices that go along with it. Both menus also change seasonally.

On this occasion, my husband and I went to Josephine’s for lunch. We were celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. The exceptional setting makes it a popular spot for folks to commemorate anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions. But it is also a fine place to grab lunch on a regular day out with the family as well, if the mood strikes you. I am partial to eating lunch at Josephine’s. Not only for the better value, but also because on a beautiful summer day when the sun is out and there’s a breeze in the air, it is a relaxing experience to sit on the patio and take in the flowers and other greenery as you wait for your meal.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Josephine's Pecan Encrusted Fish Tacos"]Josephines Pecan Encrusted Fish Tacos[/caption]

And that’s just what we did. The weather was perfect, so we sat back in the comfortable chairs on the patio and placed our orders. I had a hard time deciding what to get. I narrowed it down to either the Pecan Encrusted Fish Tacos "with roasted tomato salsa, cabbage slaw, avocado and ancho mayo” ($11.50) and the Po-Boy Crab-Cake Sandwich with a spicy remoulade ($11.50). The tacos won out because they were so fantastic the last time I was here. And they didn’t disappoint this time either. The fish is lightly breaded in a slightly sweet pecan crust. The flavors of the toppings blend nicely for a tangy taste with a kick.

My husband ordered the Caprese Sandwich ($10.25). It is served on garlic toasted ciabata bread with tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil, Prosciutto, and a balsamic reduction. It’s also available as a vegetarian sandwich without the ham for $9.25.

All of the menu items are intriguingly different, which in itself makes you want to come back again. Among the most unique: the Baklava Baked Brie ($9.50), which is “Phyllo wrapped Brie with pistachios and peach fig chutney” and the Diablo Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese, which is pasta smothered in a “smoked Gouda ancho chili cheese sauce” and topped with spicy diablo shrimp ($10.50 as an appetizer or $22 as a dinner entree).

Also of note, the wine menu is expansive with something to compliment every dish. Check out the hundred plus choices on their wine menu online. Not a wine expert? No worries. Josephine’s chef has already done all of the work for you with a recommendation for each dish printed right on the menu.

Josephine’s is owned by a brother and sister who named the restaurant after their mother. One is the award-winning head chef. The other runs the business side of things. You can tell that this family establishment takes great pride in each and every thing they serve. It is reflected in the menu as well as the wait staff. Each time we’ve visited Josephine’s we have had spectacular service to compliment the setting and the food. While this spot can be a budget buster, especially in the evening or if you order wine, it is the experience that you are paying for along with the food. I say, treat yourself. Stop by Josephine’s. You’ll be glad you did.

More Josephine's photos HERE.


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