Relish’s Killer Clubhouse Hamburgers Highlight Phoenician’s Grasp of Details

The fiery S’more conclusion to a burger capped round of golf.

The ultimate measure of any golf course and clubhouse is the quality of the hamburger served in its grill.  Granted, course shot values and design variety are important to many players.  Others appreciate the architecture and amenities of a comforting clubhouse.  But without a great burger to finish things off – – like at the Tap House at Pebble Beach – – it’s just another round of golf.

For the three years at the Phoenician resort in Phoenix, the Relish Burger Bistro above its golf pro shop and clubhouse has been serving what is arguably one of the best hamburgers in the Valley of the Sun.  With eight ounce patties made from American Kobe beef – – which includes a mix of sirloin, chuck and brisket – – the burgers are served on a homemade challah bun.  The toppings include several types of cheese and for the “Cowboy” version, crispy fried onions.  If you want it, all burgers also come with a basket of crispy tater tots, a carbohydrate sin.

For the Golf Road Warriors’ first night in Scottsdale/Phoenix region, it was the perfect place for a dinner, with a fire crackling in the fireplace and several big screen televisions flickering with the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.  Could there be any better way for a group of friends to start a trip?

The Phoenician

Set on 250 acres at the base of Camelback Mountain, the Phoenician has been one of the most luxurious resorts, boutique hotels and spas in Arizona since it opened in 1988.  With more than 600 rooms – – including classic hotel spaces, suites away from the main building and even casitas – – the property has ten different restaurants and lounges.  With a “Center for Well-Being” and a retail complex, there’s no shortage of non-sporting activities.  For recreation, there’s guided hiking tours, a world-class tennis complex and 27 holes of golf.

It is a hotel where the details matter.  When you check into a room, the light in the bathroom is on but dimmed, a telling touch.  On the other side of the scale, the resort also has a $25 million art collection, so both ends are clearly covered.

That’s also true at the Bistro, which has much more than burgers.  With windows overlooking the golf course, the restaurant offers more than 70 types of premium beer, including many made in small local breweries, and a large selection of tequila.  There are plenty of side dishes on the menu.  And to complete the meal, there’s the killer S’mores in the photo above, with a fiery pot over which to brown the marshmallows.

The Relish Burger Bistro also represents a welcome change in golf and the hospitality industry.  It replaced a fine dining room that once offered a  tasting menu that cost up to several hundred dollars per person, with foie gras and truffles.  I can’t image Golf Road Warriors plunging into that kind of tucker.  Great burgers followed by S’mores,? Yes indeed.

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