I should have posted this closer to when we went to dinner because now, I have forgotten about some of the details...but here goes it.
On Friday (2/21/08) we had reservation at Kai at 8PM to have a nice dinner. We had heard great things about this place so we went in with high expectations. We arrived a little bit late because we got lost and couldn't find this huge resort in the boonies. After 35-40 minutes of driving, we arrived at our destination, without much help from our GPS system.
The resort and restaurant was beautiful. It was really spacious and was surrounded by windows that allowed you to see the pool outside that was designed to resemble a river, curving and wrapping around the hotel. The lighting was warm and cozy and we felt very comfortable there. We were seated pretty quickly after arrival.
After we were seated, our waiter came out to introduce himself and brought us hand painted menus that was done by a local artist. He explained the menu because at Kai, eating begin with "The Birth" which is basically their soup and salad section. Then, you move on to "The Beginning", similar to the appetizer section at regular restaurants. Next is "The Journey" where your entrees are. I thought it was good that they try to use as much of the local materials and food as they can in order to support the Native American community as this restaurant was on an Indian reservation.
We started the night out with a drink I think called "The Eastern Cloud" which was some fruity drink and I can't recall what was in it but it was pretty good. It was very sweet and fruity.
Then we were served an appetizer of sort, something seafood in a yogurt base with raspberry sauce presented in a shot glass that you pour over the bowl. I liked this dish because it was beautifully presented and very fresh tasting. Karthik thought it was alright mainly because the portion was REALLY small. The taste was tart and salty at the same time with a touch of raspberry sweetness. Very interesting and flavorful...
After this was bread and olive oil served in matching plate and dip bowl. We were served 3 different types of bread and locally produced olive oil with some type of nuts at the bottom. The waiter explained the different types of bread but we were seated next to this big table of 17 and it was difficult to hear so I have no idea what kind of breads they were...but they were delicious.
After the bread, we were served our soup. We ordered only one soup and they split up the portion and served us in a beautiful bowl that was hard to eat from. It was a creamy, smokey, and delicious Wood Grill Toca Squash Puree soup. The soup was pour over an arrangement of Aji Amarillo Scented Cotton Candy, Sweet Pork Nuggets, Rio Zape Beans, and Maitake Mushrooms.
Following the bread was the BEST appetizer we both have ever tasted. It was our Lobster Degustation - lobster prepared in 3 different ways. (Our fav was the middle one). To the left was the Butter Braised Tail, Avocado mousse, Tear Drop Salsa & Lobster Coral. The middle (and best) was Lobster Cobbler with Mesquite Meal & Farm Raised Local Goat Cheese. The right section was Lobster Knuckles in Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Sour Radishes. They served this with "Indian Fry Bread" and this Indian is supposed to be Native American Indian, not Indians in India but Karthik commented that they tasted just like puris. Surprisingly, the puris went well with the lobsters. DELICIOUS ALL AROUND! Definitely worth every single penny.
We were then served some fruity sorbet to cleanse our palettes and of course, I forgot what flavor they were. Gorgeous presentation and very small. I love the egg shell looking bowl and twiggy spoon. By the way, we could get a sense of whatever the next dish was coming out by touching our utensil. They serve cold utensil with cold dishes and warm utensil with warm dishes.
Next were our entrees. Karthik had the Grilled Tenderloin of Buffalo from the Cheyenne River Tribe and that included Smoked Corn Pure, Barbeque Scarlet Runner Beans, Saguaro Blossom Syrup, Cholla Buds & Cool Weather Mushrooms. Surprisingly tender and very tasty.
Unfortunately, it was small in portion, at least in comparison to my Bone-In New York Strip Steak with "Kai Steak Sauce". Served with grated Horseradish Root and Russet Potatoes, Creamed Baby Spinach with Gruyere Cheese and Marinated Grape Tomatoes. It was pretty good, but the buffalo dish was better. I think that although this steak is a little more expensive than high end steak houses, the taste is on par with say, Capital Grille's Steak. The next time I am craving steaks, I think I will go to Capital Grille instead of Kai.
Then, they brought us some warm towls to clean our hands and prepare for dessert. At this point, Karthik was happy with the portion sizes (eventhough he was unhappy about it earlier thinking that it won't be enough food for him) because by now, he has room for dessert because he was satisfy but not painfully full as he'd be at a normal steak house. We ordered the "Fry Bread with Ibarra Chocolate & Kahlua Ice Cream". It was puri again...with ice cream. It was pretty good but I think I'd have prefer something like chocolate cake or creme brulee.
It was then time to see the damage and see our bill. They try to lessen the pain by bringing it out with 4 complimentary small balls of chocolate. They had 2 different flavors that I can't recall but it was really good chocolate! We ate the chocolate so quickly that we didn't get a chance to take pictures, so I borrowed this picture from Seth, author of a food blog called Feasting in Phoenix.
After we're done, we walked outside with food full in our bellies and smiling faces to get our car and there it was right at the front waiting for us. Inside our cars, was a bar of Kai Chocolate, 2 bottle of Voss water, and a card from our server thanking us for spending the evening dinning at Kai. Very classy and thoughful...They kept referring to us as Mr. and Mrs. Karthik...not yet, but very soon... =o)