elements at Sanctuary Camelback

Reviewed By: Leslie & Andy
Sometimes we celebrate by going to a super fancy dinner.  This evening we were celebrating nothing in particular. Andy was leaving for a weekend golf trip with his buddies and he wanted to make sure I was well fed. So I didn't forget about him in the next few days...? Whatever the reason or lack thereof I'm here to tell you elements at Sanctuary Camelback is where you should be celebrating. PS: It may look like a typo, but the restaurant doesn't capitalize their name. So I'm not going to capitalize their name either.  You can direct your emails to the Grammar Police hotline.

Ambience:  After valeting your car, you enter through the hotel.  It's a little hidden, the entrance, but that could be because I spend most of my time a little lost. I mean it in all seriousness.  Andy has threatened to put a GPS tracking device on my belt in case I wander off. So for those that are not directionally challenged, the entrance to the restaurant should be a piece of cake. As expected the restaurant is tastefully, modernly decorated with  beautiful stonework, lighting, and contemporary settings. The view from our table was incredible! I'm not the kind of girl to describe everything I like as "stunning," but in this case I may make an exception. The view was stunning. There are four secret booths in the front of the restaurant. Tucked away down a small staircase and coveted by those in the know. The tall backs of the booths wrap around the table in a half circle, so it feels very private. There is a wall of windows in front of these booths with a picturesque view of the mountain ranges. Insider note: request one of the booths at sunset.  You may need to book your reservation out a couple of weeks as there are only four of them, but it's worth the wait.  I promise.

Quality: Executive Chef Beau MacMillan's career includes the prestigious Hotel Bel Aire, and Shutters on the Beach in California before joining elements. However, his most notable claim to fame is his Iron Chef America win, as well as appearances on the Today Show and the Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Guy's Grocery Games. Working under Chef MacMillan is Chef de Cuisine, Samantha Sanz, a two time James Beard nominee. At the bar is Christiaan Röllich. "Forbes called him 'one of LA’s most innovative mixologists' while LA Weekly credits the Netherlands native with the city’s cocktail renaissance." I'm not trying to name drop here, but I'm telling you the food and drink reflects the immense talent represented by this dream team. We started with two beautifully crafted cocktails and followed with the Shishito Peppers--tossed in soy caramel, garlic, and salt. Our main courses were both beef. Andy opted for the Filet of Beef, perfectly medium rare and presented on a bed of whipped potatoes, onions, heirloom tomatoes, and balsamic jus. I couldn't resist the Wagyu Beef Cheek--slow roasted for 6 hours in a Korean BBQ sauce with shishito peppers, corn, leeks, and green onions. When presented with the dessert menu, Andy and I said in unison "Whatever you do, DO NOT bring us the PB Bombe." Our server did not listen and he brought us an amazing peanut butter mousse enrobed with dark chocolate ganache. We tried to protest, but then he brought us two tiny little chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven... The NERVE! We were helpless. We will write a strongly worded letter as soon as we clean the chocolate and peanut butter from our hands and faces. Or maybe see if we can get the recipes.... 

Service: The valet was enthusiastic and professional. The hosts greeted us warmly and showed us to our table. Our serving team--a server and service assistant--was very attentive and professional. Wine was served perfectly, courses were brought to the table without auctioning, and cleared quietly and efficiently. Aside from ignoring our insistence that he DO NOT bring the PB Bombe, I'd say our server was one of the best in Scottsdale. 

Value: Overall the value of elements is on par with the quality of food and service you receive. It's a bit expensive, but you don't leave the restaurant with buyer's remorse. Au contraire mon frère. You'll leave elements wishing you could come back tomorrow. You'll sell your kid for just one more PB Bombe.

elements is a special occasion restaurant. The kind of place you go for a romantic dinner date, an anniversary, or because you're heading out of town with the boys for the weekend and you want your wife to remember how much you love her by taking her to this fantastic restaurant. You'll try to tailor the bill to suit your budget, but the menu casts some kind of magical spell and the next thing you know you're happily ordering the cocktails, wine, and all of the courses...including dessert. Keep this restaurant in your arsenal for those times you really want to celebrate.