Photos by Jack Fitzpatrick
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Squash Blossom, a new eatery tucked away next to Turf Irish Pub at First and Pierce streets, brings a hint of low-key sophistication to the downtown Phoenix casual dining scene.
It offers healthy options from local vendors, using the freshest produce and ingredients.
Squash Blossom has made an effort to appeal to a wide variety of customers by including a separate cafe space that offers a full-service coffee and espresso bar. French press coffee and coffee made from a siphon machine are available, in addition to a variety of Olive Leaf herbal teas.
The small selection of pastries delivered from a Mesa bakery may disappoint baked-good fans looking for daily, in-house treats.
The main dining room is bright and welcoming and shows an artsy side with paintings around the room. There is also outdoor seating under the cover of colorful awnings.
Squash Blossom’s breakfast menu features seasonal specials like pumpkin-pie pancakes and banana-pecan-caramel French toast. For more traditional diners, classic breakfast items like eggs and potatoes are available.
The lunch menu has mostly sandwiches, wraps, burgers and a few salads. Portions are just the right size for a midday meal. These items come with a choice of side, including pasta salad, potato salad or coleslaw. Salads come with a dinner roll.
The lemon herb chicken focaccia was delicious. A lightly seasoned chicken breast perched on top of melted mozzarella cheese between the two moist, sweet slices of focaccia bread. Though a little bit of the chicken was blackened, the discrepancy made for a bit of a pleasant crunch to the sandwich.
The penne pasta side went well with the sandwich. It was tossed in light vinaigrette, topped with pieces of broccoli, tomato and red onion, giving the plate color and contrast of flavor.
Although both the lamb burger and the bun were good, they were not worth $10. For that price, a burger better be a knock-out, and shouldn’t require a napkin to get a thin film of grease off of diners’ hands.
Squash Blossom’s jalapeño coleslaw was runny, but a nice hint of spice in the aftertaste kept it from being a complete bust.
For those who enjoy ordering a plate of greens, there were a limited number of salads to choose from. They weren’t very unique, and for a restaurant with a name like Squash Blossom, one would assume that more fresh fruits and veggies would be incorporated in their dishes.
A fresh spinach salad topped with bacon, feta cheese, a hard-boiled egg, sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes didn’t really fit what most people would expect of the dish. The toppings were boring and the salad didn’t stand out from the other choices on the menu. There was no “wow” factor and it was not very satisfying.
The hard-boiled egg didn’t gel with the spinach salad. Strawberries and sliced almonds would have gone great with the feta cheese, and the bacon also seemed more at home in a Cobb salad. More unique salads with a variety of toppings and an option to add more protein would improve the salad choices.