Full confession here – I like Prep & Pastry and its sister restaurant Commoner &Co. I like the concepts of both places; food we all know and love done up with “modern” flair. I like the owners, Nate Ares and Brian Morris; their energy for their restaurants is contagious. I really like Chef Ginny Wooters and the food she creates; she’s been an innovator since the beginning and continues to make great, satisfying food.
On Tuesday, July 5th, this team will open the doors to a second Prep & Pastry, much to the delight of Eastside folks in Tucson. Located on Grant Road in the same complex as the latest Sauce Pizza & Wine and the long-established favorite, ZinBurger, P&P will be a great addition to the area.
When Prep & Pastry opened its doors a couple in 2013, it was an immediate hit. The menu was basically diner fare but with a decidedly 21st Century twist: French toast dressed to the nines; hash with duck confit or sweet potatoes and a whole ration of pastries that were meals on to themselves.
These days there are still lines out the door and that’s why a second P&P is such a great idea.
We were invited to the soft opening on Saturday. The place was packed. We ran into Donna Nordin and Don and Michael Luria. And in spite of the packed house we were seated with a minimal wait.
The brand new building is in many ways the complete opposite of the shabby chic original site; its vibe is more industrial and modern, but the food and service there are still topnotch.
Every table got one pastry to share, two cocktails and one entrée per person.
We opted for a cranberry scone, the Cast iron Duck Confit and Monte Cristo and two mimosas; in this case The Cure, a charming mix of blueberry and lemon.
Our seats gave us a great view of the mountains and all that was going on. Food was flying out of the kitchen and cocktails were being made two at a time. It was loud but with so many people and so much going on that was to be expected. No one seemed to miss a beat.
Our meals did not disappoint. The scone was large enough for the two of us to feel satisfied. The accompanying coffee, from EXO Coffee was perfect. P&P uses many local products, which is a great thing.
We also enjoyed the mimosas.
The portions were huge.
The cast iron pan was filled with tasty perfectly cooked potatoes, plenty of savory shredded duck meat, slices of scallions and a sweet touch of cabernet-soaked cherries. It was topped with an over-easy egg and a dollop of goat cheese mousse. The flavors and textures were perfectly balanced. The potatoes alone would’ve been enough, but adding all the other tastes and textures was pure genius.
The Monte Cristo was truly a step above any other Monte Cristo in town. The bread was thick slices of brioche French toast; the ham was honey-roasted. The pineapple laced mascarpone cheese and the house marmalade added both sweet and tart flavors.
And the service was perfect. Not too much fussing but we didn’t feel ignored (and as busy as it was, we could’ve easily gotten lost.)
Anyway, I wish Nathan, Brian and Ginny Good Luck. Opening three restaurants in three years is a big endeavor but they seem to have a strong handle on things.
We’re planning on a dinner at Commoner & Co. soon. I hear there’s a steak up there to die for.