PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The heart of downtown Phoenix enjoyed a recent surge of foot traffic in part thanks to the NBA Finals run by the Phoenix Suns but has been a growing hotspot between all the new restaurants, bars, and events for several years. As Phoenix continues to grow as a beacon for foodies, the downtown area accommodates by attracting top-notch chefs and business leaders who want to help shape the image of downtown by adding venues that curate experiences. Whether you're downtown to enjoy a sporting event or a night out on the town for drinks and a bite to eat, diagonally across from where the Suns play at Footprint Center is a fun spot that sets the stage and vibe: Lustre Bar.
Situated right at the southeast corner of the Kimpton Hotel Palomar along Jefferson Street at the corner of 1st Street, this rooftop lounge has the views, brews and foods to boot! It's a happening spot, surrounded by the main action of downtown Phoenix with our state's professional basketball team across the street and baseball team a block down. Despite all the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city life around, the vibe at Lustre Bar is established to be laidback, relaxing and (most importantly) fun! The locally-sourced driven food and menu fits into the mix well, using a traditional approach to provide modest bites packed with flavor.
"I think in regards to the Lustre pool deck, we want clean, refreshing ingredients that aren't cumbersome. That kind of 'don't make you feel over-full but just enough in your stomach' so when you're out by the pool you don't wanna be stuffed and kind of want to have a clean, fresh feeling," said Executive Chef Brian Peterson. "So we try to specialize in light ingredients and house-made stuff, some super high-end ingredients and kind of go from there."
These fresh bites aim to add to the fun atmosphere, transforming the rooftop into one accommodating a food-driven space for a quick bite and a cocktail or relaxing ambiance to enjoy the downtown center for a night out on the town. Some of those bursts of flavor behind the bites come from Peterson's focus to source from established local businesses like Noble Eatery for fresh bread and Steadfast Farms for produce and honey, and around the world to combine the elements into something new and unique.
"My main focuses are usually sourcing local ingredients, sourcing the best ingredients from around the world and trying to combine old world and new world techniques that kind of make it our own signature style here at Lustre and Blue Hound," Peterson said. Peterson also helms the kitchen of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, the Kimpton Hotel Palomar's classic American gastropub.
Utilizing these ingredients and global techniques results in some pretty stellar plates at Lustre Bar. Without taking away too much from the Jeff's Picks section, it's worth highlighting Peterson and his team's design for their new tacos and other menu items. From employing different juices and seasoning into their braising to curing their own roast/corned beef, bacon, pastrami, and more, this menu has a lot going on behind the scenes to get excited about.
"I think these new tacos are going to be amazing. We have both the new braise that we're doing with the short rib tacos, and we have the vegan/plant-based chorizo. So, kind of keeping along the lines with modern wants and desires, so I think it actually tastes amazing if you try it like it'd be hard for you to say it's not chorizo," Peterson explained.
And the ingenuity train doesn't stop at the food; the Reuben Panini Wrap was served in a Bento Box, a stylish and convenient way to serve up various food groups in compartments and used for centuries in Japan. Peterson and his team are exploring all culinary options to ensure the experiences at Lustre Bar and Blue Hound stay as fresh as their food. Peterson, who has only been in the kitchen's captain seat for about three weeks now, says guests can expect some new menu items in the coming weeks.
"Our main focus is going to be Blue Hound and Lustre. We can probably expect a new dinner menu at Blue Hound here in mid-August, and Lustre will be right behind it," Peterson said. "That Blue Hound menu will be fairly streamlined, high-end ingredients everything made in-house as best as possible or sourced locally. The same philosophy will be translated to the pool (Lustre Bar) but in a more simpler, more laidback approach."
That focus on the menu lends to the spacious and trendy vibe at Lustre Bar, which features a row of cabanas, high-top tables, lounge couches, and rows of reclining chairs around the pool. While the views won't give a full 360 of the metro area, you'll still have a great view of Footprint Center, South Mountain, and the flourishing center of downtown Phoenix. While you take in the sights and lively scene, know that there are some nice light and easy bites ready to go that won't disappoint!
Lustre Bar Rooftop Walkthrough
The light and snackable dishes at Lustre Bar are easy to put away while enjoying a broad spectrum of flavors. Whether you're in the mood for something to share, not too filling, or hearty and robust, the options on Lustre Bar's menu should accommodate just fine!
Waffle Bites: Extremely fluffy, light, and doughy interior with a perfect exterior composition. It is topped with a thin but potent slice of duck ham and peach jalapeno preserves, adding a sweet/heat creamy finish.
Short Rib Tacos: Very moist and absolutely juicy finished product via that aforementioned new braise Peterson employs for the beef. There's an excellent garlic and smoky finish to the meat that I couldn't get enough of. The tacos had a colorful presentation with the corn pico, some kick from the jalapeno aioli, and a bitter but fitting bite with the pickled radish. Hands down some great tacos and a must-try!
Impossible Tacos: If the name doesn't give it away, believe it or not (I seriously didn't until Peterson confirmed it), these feature a phenomenal plant-based chorizo that has every taste element you would expect from the chorizo. There's a nice mild heat that lingers and tickles the taste buds, with the flavor profile elevated with avocado, micro cilantro, and a lime cashew aioli.
Reuben Panini Wrap: A really cool presentation through the Bento Box, with the compartments stacked with healthy and juicy kiwi slices, watermelon chunks, two sauce options and some zesty green beans! The Reuben itself was very delicious and very fresh cuts of house-made meats. Lustre Bar braises the corned beef with Guinness and then tops the hefty portions with house-made sauerkraut, a melted gooey swiss, and a thousand island dressing. Another strong recommendation for weekend lunch-goers or light dinner grabbers for a night out!
Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Flatbread: A zesty sauce kicks off the flavor launch upon the first bite, quickly followed by considerable portions of Italian sausage, piquillo peppers and arugula that adds a slight tangy one-two punch with the marinara sauce. The goat cheese is plentiful and flaky, keeping the aesthetic of a flatbread while giving the plate a great look and an overall great combination of tastes.
Charcuterie Board: The bread was insanely fresh and a soft-baked delight from Noble Eatery. A nice light shareable from the bread to several kinds of cheese (yay, cheese!) including sharp cheddar cheese, a Humboldt fog (goat cheese), aged manchego, and dry-aged gouda. If you're in need of something light and consider yourself a cheese enthusiast, you'll love this board!
Parmesan Pretzels: Another light and fluffy snack with a San Tan beer cheese sauce. A simpler, more easy quick bite to accompany a drink or two, and not too salty compared to some classic pretzel bite servings.
Whether Lustre Bar is where you go to start your day's adventure, a pit stop for a bite throughout the day, or end a night out downtown, it's a fun spot with a little bit of something for everyone. Peterson and his team are determined to push the culinary envelope, developing and pulling from various techniques to enhance and establish new dishes for Lustre Bar Rooftop and Blue Hound Kitchen below. As monsoon continues to permeate for several more weeks in Arizona, keep your eyes to the skies for any opportunities to check out this fun rooftop lounge next time you're in the heart of downtown Phoenix!
Hours of Operation:
Friday: 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
This is the fifth segment in a series on rooftop lounges in the Phoenix metro. Arizona’s Family Foodie is breaking out the sunscreen to check out eateries that serve up snacks and modest entrees for those seeking rest and relaxation from atop scenic rooftops. Rooftops often keep their menus small and simple, allowing kitchens to get creative and serve up unique foods to make experiences memorable. So, kick back and come hungry, and let’s enjoy some food with a view!