Tucson >Elle Wine Country Restaurant
BY FAR MY BEST MEAL IN TUCSON!.
I just spent a week long vacation between Phoenix and Tucson with my wife and kids. I like Southwestern annd Mexican food, but by the end of my trip was yearning for something more continental. Enter Elle, which was recommended to me by a business associate in NY who travels to Tucson often.
I must say that I was skeptical, especially after reading the review here, but the meal and the value were incredible. We started by sharing several appetizers, including the antipasto plate, which is chocked full of Italian and Mediterranean goodies, and several of Elle's salads. Everything was fresh and delicious. As a New York Italian-American, I was especially impressed by the mozzarella, which was fresh and milky. We then moved on to our main dishes. I had the rack of lamb, which was cooked just as I requested, and served over a bed of cous cous with olives, juicy tomotoes and diced vegetables. The portion was enormous - at least 9 chops. I also tasted the Ahi tuna dish, which was awesome, and the gnocchi and the orechiette. I was impressed with each dish. I also enjoyed a great cocktail to start, and a glass of white wine with my appetizer, and red with my main dish. The restaurant pours a variety of wines from all regions, in a wide range of prices. My Sancerre was 8 bucks and was very nice, and then I moved up to a California Meritage for 13 bucks that was a perfect compliment to my lamb. I wish I could tell you about dessert, which my family seemed to enjoy, but which I was just too full to dig into. On the downside, I will say that the espresso that I ordered was not great - no foam, and kind of thin. Elle is also in a new space that needs a little more work, but I did enjoy the open kitchen.
The decor was beautiful. The bartender Kim was a delite. However, when I asked for a typical drink, a Bacardi and Diet Coke, they didn't have any Bacardi. So, they substituted a top shelf Clear Rum. I ordered the pate' it was tasty but very very dry. I also ordered the clamari that was good, not great but good. The only thing enjoyable was the Paetta.That was delicious.
When I received my check I was annoyed to find out that they had charged me $9.75 per drink. If I had asked for the top shelf rum I would not have been upset to pay for it. But it was a substitution for something they failed to keep on hand. I should not have been charged and when I brought it to the Bartenders attention all she could say was that she was sorry. I'll make sure to stay away from the pate' and order iced tea next time. Yes I will go back the Paetta was worth a second trip.
I do not complian I never return.......... Saw this menu online. My wife and I both really wanted to like this restaurant. Unfortunately after we arrived it took twenty minutes to even get drinks. We than ordered appitizer's which we were told were half price before 6:30. We did order before 6:30 and were still charged full price. Almost half of the mussel's were not opened. I ordered the ribs which were very tough. At one point I had to go to the rest room to get rid of the meat. My wife ordered some wine from the list. The list said it was $7.50 a glass. Our waiter not so nicely informed us that she had served my wife a different wine because she had misunderstood my wife and it was $15.00 a glass. My wife had only had two thankfully. We paid. I only complained about the wine. The bartender was very rude about it so I backed down. I was on the first date we have had for about a month so I was trying to make the night go well. We paid full price and I still tipped twenty dollars, but I will never return.
Not one thing was satisfactory.... We made a reservation for two. The hostess sat us at a table for four, next to a table for two. She did not clear the extra settings. You expect the "wine country" sort of decor. No, we were in any restaurant in Tucson with a Native American rug and bad modern paintings hanging on the walls. No one greeted our table and we had to wait seven minutes for JUST the water from the busser, whom I had to ask if we even HAD a waiter. Once he finally came over several minutes later, he didn't say sorry at all and didn't tell us specials. We ordered a bottle of wine, and then he left the bulky menu at the table. It took FOREVER for our server to come back with the wine. While we were waiting, the helper brought us our bread. We hadn't ordered dinner yet and our menus were still in the way. We ordered the antipasta and the duck. Our plates that were used for oil and vinegar for the bread were not cleared. We had to split the antipasta on dirty plates. The entree was ok. Nothing to write home about. It was an odd combination, too. Duck with a fishy salad. At one point, a manager came over to refill our water. That's one thing- Once we finally got our water the first time, it was regularly refilled. I can get that at Denny's though. Only after that were the extraneous settings removed. Finally, after far too long AGAIN, we had our plates removed and were asked if we would like to see dessert menus. We, gluttons for punishment, decided, that yes, we'd like to end on what we had hoped would be a good note. We ordered the "warm" bread pudding. When we got it, it was warm on the outside. The inside though, remained cold as the refrigerator from which it was just removed. We would have like completing the comment card included with our check, but it had ALREADY been filled out by another table. Tacky and stupid! On the way out, we stopped by the restrooms, which were dirty! Come on! Add insult to injury... Stay away from this place. Not one good thing.
New ownership. Elle has changed hands, and this time the owner knows what he is doing. Everything about this restaurant has improved, not the least of which is the speed of lunch, which used to be a problem, but no more.
Come to Elle to unleash the wine lover inside you..
The food at Elle is nothing to sniff at, but the extensive American wine list (30 selections available by the glass) is the primary lure of this restaurant. Settled into Tucson's very first and most architecturally inviting shopping center, the window seats and patio gain atmosphere from the old, brick Josias Joeseler building. Elle's wines are regionally specialized, but the cuisine ranges further afield, including French, Italian, and Northern Californian traditions. Main dishes revolve around pastas, risottos, fresh oysters and mussels, and venison, but the house specialty is the comparatively straightforward Beef Carpaccio. You can make a meal of the generous mussels appetizer alone, but save room for dessert, particularly if you have your eye on the Queen of Nuts cake.
Don't Go. Four of us visited Elle last night. It was one of the worst dining experiences I've had. The food was uneatable. We had Risotto and fettichini. No one ate more than a fourth of there plale. Our waiter was ok, but another waiter who brought us some extra bread was very rude, propably not on purpose, just very unprofessonal. The bread was excellent and the coffee was good, but the food ruined our whole night. I wouldn't recommend Elle to anyone.
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