Italian delivered by Food Network Chef Scott Conant.

While other Food Network chefs seem like TV personalities first, and chefs second, Scott Conant always struck me as a chef first. So I was excited to try his restaurant here in Scottsdale.

Let me tell you - Scott Conant knows what's up.

The Americano fired on all cylinders. What strikes first is the interior. He has won awards for the interior design of his restaurants and with good reason. The huge wall of white kitchenware that greets you as you walk through the door is fun and totally on brand. The light fixtures are amazing, and the upbeat, ethereal music provides great energy. The entire place has the "buzz" a restaurant should have - one that says "You want to be in here."

Service was excellent. Friendly, helpful, formal but approachable. The waiter, the sommelier and the front of house leader all came to greet me by name ("Welcome Mr. Shacket..."), and all referenced what I had ordered - the tasting menu. I didn't see a pairing (apparently they have one, but you have to ask) so I got an Italian white. It was fantastic and they provided a very generous pour. The sommelier visited me during my first course. "Good evening, Mr. Shacket. I see you are having the tasting menu this evening. How are you enjoying this glass of wine? It's one of my favorites."

Their tasting menu is typically served family style for 2, 4 or 6 guests, so they bent over backwards to be sure I could experience it as a solo diner. They suggested eliminating the Pomodoro - Conant's signature dish. I told them I was here once and needed to have that - and that I would gladly play extra to do so. They accommodated, and there was no additional charge.

The food was stellar, start to finish. The shrimp and oysters were among the best shellfish I've ever had. The truffle ravioli (with butter sauce!) was incredible - clearly handmade. The pomodoro was really good, but nothing special. Solevo in my hometown has a far better red sauce.

The steak came and it was seared hard. A crust, almost. "There is no way this is medium rare" I mused. Boy, was I wrong. How did they do that? I don't typically like NY strips, but this one was juicy and flavorful. Mashed potatoes with chicken/truffle jus, mushroom, the desserts. Truly stellar.

They even gifted me a terrific red to go with the steak and a dessert port - no charge. Above and beyond, especially considering that this 4-top was generating revenue from only a single diner.

It felt wrong to pay just $115 for this experience. With the add-ons, the accommodations made for me and 2 free glasses of was simply highway robbery. It should easily have been in the $150-$170 range. "The tasting menu is new" explained the waiter. "We are still working out price points and portion sizes."

Wherever they land, I highly recommend this place. I'd be so glad to return here. Conant has a steakhouse (Cellaio) a few hours from me. It's been added to my list.

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