The Tuck Shop is the epitome of the types of places I love to find. While in Phoenix, we were just finishing up our 4 day trip and on our way back to the airport. The driver of our rental car had come to Phoenix on business various times over the past year, and he was going to take us to a place that he and found previously. He explained that on one particular trip, he too was on the way back to the airport and stopped for some gas, and also to ask where a good place to eat was. The person pointed him a few blocks down into the middle of a residential neighborhood. So here we are driving down this road, and I was really starting to wonder if my friend was taking us to an actual restaurant, or to one of his buddy’s house for dinner. Finally we arrived and parked outside Tuck Stop. Even outside the restaurant, at night you can’t really tell it’s a restaurant, but I think that is what the owners were going for. They don’t want you to feel like you are going to your every day eating establishment, they want you to feel like you are coming home for a gourmet meal. That is exactly what I found at Tuck Stop. A gourmet meal, that had me licking my chops. This place is beyond description good.
First order of business was to try the cheese curds. There were 3 of us, and we were all hungry boys, so we decided to make it 2 orders of cheese curds. Now you could have sat a KFC bucket full of these things in front of me, and I would eat every last one of them. By far the best fried cheese curds I’ve ever had. Fried Cheese to begin with is pretty hard to screw up, but these guys did it just perfectly. You have to be careful when deep-frying cheese. If you make the breading too light, the end result could be too greasy, but if you batter them too much, then you are tasting more batter then cheese. Tuck Stop really found the “sweet spot” when making these. Just delicious!
Every single item on this menu, while reading it, reminded me of a dish that could be on “Dinners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. I could just see Guy Fieri in the back kitchen watching someone whip up these magical batches of awesomeness. I got a “Savory Simon” hand pie to go along with my dish, because honesty, how many times do you read something so intriguing on the menu, that you have no choice but to order it? Not very often. The pies were filled with linguisa sausage, kale, green apple, and romanesco sauce. There were so many delicious flavors swirling, it was almost too much to process, but in a good way.
Not pictured here was what I had to drink. Tuck Shop let’s their gourmet mojo spill over into the drink section as well, and we aren’t just talking hard drinks, but soft drinks as well. I ordered a home-made ginger ale with my meal. One quirky thing about me is that I love ginger-ale, but I only drink it on airplanes. I guess it has become a little ritual of mine, but when I heard they made it in-house, I had to try it. The drink was very ginger-y, but it didn’t overpower the drink. It tasted like I was drinking a ginger-snap. I don’t really like sweets that have too much ginger, but this drink was so intriguing and different, I loved it!
I also ordered something from their tapas menu, and went with the Relleno Duo. I glanced through the menu before ordering and examined the ingredients. The relleno contained all things that sounded really good. As I was “oooing” and “aaahhing” and maybe a little bit of inappropriate moaning, over how delicious my food was, my co-workers asked me what was in it. At that point, I had completely forgotten the menu so I had to answer “I have no clue, but they are awesome” haha. So the one on the right is a portabella mushroom stuffed with shallot, thyme, and vinegar breadcrumbs. The one on the left was red bell pepper stuffed with chinese sausage, arborio rice, and ponzu. See what I mean by gourmet? Remarkably good!
It’s going to be really hard for me not to order this next time. I like chicken and waffles, but I normally don’t order it, because for dinner, I tend to shy away from waffles and syrup. These guys take their waffles and add citrus brine and white cheddar. The taste is much more savory than sweet, but it went so good with the asparagus and the best fried chicken I’ve had in a long time. You can almost tell by looking at the picture, that the chicken breading was done perfectly. The result was a juicy revelation! Who the hell is Colonel Saunders and Pop-eye? Tuck Stop is where you need to be going!
This is a horrible picture and I almost didn’t include it, but it was have been a sin if I didn’t mention this dish. Comes with a dry rub spice, parmesan lentil mashed potatoes, and mushrooms. I can’t give enough kudos to the chef who created these plates. All the flavors they used and textures of the food was done remarkably well. As we were finishing up our meal, I had to pinch myself that I wasn’t in some fancy 5 star restaurant.
And as if the meals were not amazing enough, they also provide each person with a free cookie dough ball drizzled with chocolate! Yes I did say FREE!
If I had a blue ribbon, 5 star, or any sort of top award, Tuck Shop would get it. I mentioned earlier, that it felt as if we were going to someone’s house instead of dinner. Tuck Shop has a large “living room” area where you can sit and relax before or after dinner, and the owner of the restaurant, walked us to the door and opened it for us, as if we were his guests and were leaving his house. My next stop in Phoenix, I’m definitely coming here again. Just be sure to spell it right when you plug it into the ole’ GPS, and don’t put “Truck Stop”, but “Tuck Shop”! You don’t want to be having a meal at Flying J’s Pizza, or someplace where there is man-love waiting in the men’s restroom stall with someone named “Sea Bass” at 3 AM sharp.