Esquire has released the 40th edition of its Best New Restaurants in America list, highlighting 40 new establishments across the country that offer top dining experiences as well as celebrating the unique stories and souls behind each one.
Valentine, a Phoenix restaurant specializing in Southwestern fare, made the cut.
The casual dining destination, located at 4130 N. 7th Avenue, operates in a former dry cleaners next door to a modern furniture store. However, its eclectic menu curated by 2022 James Beard semi-finalist Chef Donald Hawk speaks louder than the restaurant’s humble walls.
Rooted in Arizona’s distinct culture, each dish incorporates local ingredients and celebrates the Southwest’s indigenous cuisine. From tahini made of native seeds and elote using corn from Sacaton to burgers prepared with Arizona wagyu, Hawk’s plates point back to the surrounding region.
As Esquire writer and food critic Joshua David Stein puts it, Valentine “is the closest thing the Grand Canyon State might get to a love a song,” with each local product in the menu reading like “terms of endearment.”
The all-day restaurant serves a pastry menu followed by brunch and dinner as well as a coffee, cocktail and wine menu. Dinner options include elote pasta with house-made tagliarini, hassayampa asiago, crispy corn and arbol; and ribeye steak with green-chili pork tepary beans, flour tortillas and huitlacoche butter. The exquisite selection of cocktails, which includes the Dirty Cactus Martini and Hatch Chili Margarita, also highlight and incorporate local ingredients such as prickly pear, mesquite and multiple kinds of peppers.