radioMILANO: High-Energy Italian-ish Concept in Phoenix [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Phoenix

LGO Hospitality has had a big impact on Northeast Phoenix, including radioMILANO.

When LGO Hospitality took control of a strip mall at the corner of 40th & Campbell in Northeast Phoenix, the area was hurting. The residential neighborhood in the shadow of Camelback Mountain needed a jolt, and that initially came in the form of caffeine. In 2002, LGO installed an outdoor Java Garden. Convinced they could sell cappuccinos, they added a grocery, pizzeria and Italian bar called radioMILANO. The company gained momentum and was eventually able to attract artisanal tenants like Arlecchino Gelateria, Tammie Coe Cakes and Paper Joy. The corner was revitalized, and long lines formed. While we enjoyed each operation to varying degrees during our recent visit, the best meal came from LGO’s least popular concept: radioMILANO.

The space itself is less residential and more West Hollywood, a fashionable wood emporium with an exhibition kitchen, an inviting bar and plenty of high top tables. No surprise: radioMILANO played high-energy, modern music. That’s one thing that we noticed throughout the weekend: LGO restaurants feature great soundtracks that had me continually reaching to tag the tunes with Shazam.

Artichoke Phoenix

A grilled Roman artichoke ($9) was seemingly simple but so satisfying, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and ultra fresh, served with herb-flecked aioli.

Tuna Tartare Phoenix

Chef Shay Gau developed a highly original tuna tartare. He paired minced tuna with fresh-sliced avocado, crunchy strips of rosy watermelon radish and spicy red jalapeño slices. Pliable fried potato “chips” were a big improvement on more typical chips.

Pork Phoenix

My favorite dish all weekend was undoubtedly radioMILANO’s special pork tenderloin ($23), perfectly seared and plenty juicy, paired with creamy corn-flecked polenta and blanketed with a drier version of chimichurri.

Pasta Phoenix

Sheets of house-made pappardelle were lavished with gobs of goat cheese, squash, corn, asparagus and tomatoes and sprinkled with Parmesan.

The pasta came with a small but effective Caesar salad combining all the usual ingredients, plus celery, which added another level of crunch.

RadioMILANO’s only weakness: their cocktails, neither of which was very well balanced. Unfortunately, there was only one cocktail that didn’t involve vodka, which is behind the times. “Tinis” are out. Gin, Bourbon, whiskey and tequila are in. Gin Blossom ($8) utilized Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Campari. The Ginger Press ($9) featured homemade ginger ale, Stoli handcrafted vodka and a lemon twist.

For dessert, we opted for a creamy cup of malted chocolate pudding from La Grande Orange Grocery topped with whipped cream.

The vibe was warm, the food was very good and the music was memorable.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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radioMILANO – Phoenix, AZ – March 28, 2009 < It’s all about the trends

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