Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge

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2502 E. Camelback Road (Biltmore Fashion Park), Phoenix
602-522-2344

Chris Gross has always been one of the Valley's most talented chefs, but when he moved to a new location in the same mall -- now, he's just east of Macy's -- he essentially created a whole new restaurant with a whole new feeling. It was a much-needed change and the results, with regard to both setting and menu, are really pretty spectacular. The new streamlined Christopher's is airy and open, thanks to sliding glass walls, a sleek eating bar overlooking the white-tiled exhibition kitchen and gorgeous suspended ceilings in various styles and materials. Banquettes, upholstered in plush orange fabric, add vibrancy to a space that's hip but comfortable at once. Is this Phoenix? Could've fooled me. Naturally, Chris still hews to the French bistro fare for which he's famous, but the menu boasts lots of luscious updates. Try the salad with crispy duck confit, juicy pomegranate seeds, Armagnac-infused raisins and Humboldt Fog cheese. I also love the simple beet salad with black sea salt and the mussels with Spanish chorizo, served with crusty grilled bread to soak up all the garlicky-tomato-y juices. If you're a meat-lover, try the côte de boeuf, a grilled prime rib for two that's all juice and char. Order a side of Gruyere mashed potatoes to eat with it and you'll be over the moon. But you don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time here. Come for a wood-fired pizza, a cocktail and a nibble (maybe truffled fries) or take advantage of happy hour (3-6 p.m., Monday-Friday), which offers one of the best burgers in the known world. It's also possible to find tasty treats on the bar menu in the sexy, red-toned lounge. Bearnaise-drizzled eggs with tempura bacon and foie gras is a heart attack waiting to happen, but what a way to go! Lunch and dinner daily. $-$$$$