Alma WXSW Cuisine
8989 N Scottsdale Rd #608, Scottsdale
The southeast corner of East Doubletree Ranch Road and Scottsdale Road is an area loaded with places to eat. But even here, ALMA WxSW stands out. A division of Soul Concepts from Executive Chef Sheila Bryson, ALMA touts a “west by southwest” flare to a modern American cuisine.
ALMA offers breakfast and lunch, but dinner seems to be one of the most popular times, with parking spaces scarce on a recent Friday night. The restaurant was completely full, but with a layout that doesn’t make it feel cramped. There is a large outdoor patio that connects to the indoor section, with both a bar and dining area. The decor is modern with a touch of classic southwest, including antlers for chandeliers.
The drink and cocktail menu is extensive, and the list of starters and small plates is long and varied enough to allow some guests to construct their entire meal. The Crisp Cauliflower is the kind of dish that even non-vegetable lovers can enjoy. The cauliflower is fried crispy and the taste is sweeter than anticipated. A chipotle creama lightly coats the bottom of the dish, giving guests the ability to choose how spicy they want to make each bite. The pickled onions add a vinegary element. This may be the standout dish from the starters.
Another eye-catching starter is the Crisp Pork Belly Tacos, served in lettuce cups instead of tortillas. The pork belly is soft, making the crunch of the lettuce cups a welcome textural balance. A sweet spicy chili jam gives the tacos an almost dessert-level sweetness.
Seafood options are abundant at ALMA. Steamed Clams are served in a bowl with a white wine butter garlic sauce, which has a real kick to it. The clams are surprisingly spicy, helped along by the savory jalapeño bacon spread liberally throughout the bowl. One of the daily specials is the Lobster Bisque, and the piping hot bowl isn’t one where guests will feel shorted. There’s no mistaking the front-and-center taste of lobster in this dish.
Entree options include steak, scallops, pork chops and short rib ravioli. A dish that perhaps best represents ALMA’s mixing of southwest flare to American cuisine is the Mexaloaf. The softball-shaped meatloaf is presented beautifully, wrapped and sealed in bacon. The meat has the familiar ketchup taste that one expects from meatloaf, combined with the spicy heat of jalapeño bacon and chipotle.
Each dish at ALMA hit a high note, from the presentation to the taste. It’s a gem in the north Scottsdale area, a restaurant with high quality dishes that are unique and familiar all at once.