When Boyce moved to Scottsdale, Bradley went with him, as sous chef. The restaurant, Mary Elaine's, received a Mobil Five Star rating as well as a Triple A Five Diamond award for melding all the elements of haute cuisine: food, wine, service and atmosphere. Bradley credits that recognition with paving the way for where he is today.
He was given the opportunity by the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale to totally change the concept of their restaurant, and the result was Vu, another prize-winning venue. It was there that Tom Voss, president of The Grand Del Mar, sought him out and offered him the opportunity to create Addison from the ground up.
In the relatively brief time that Addison (named for the famed Floridian architect Addison Mizner) has been up and running, it has gained not only local recognition but last month was anointed one of the 20 best new restaurants anywhere in the country by Esquire magazine.
Bradley describes the food as contemporary French, based on being as pure to the ingredient as possible.
"My job as a chef is to make a mushroom that tastes like a mushroom," he says.
Instead of complicated foods, he is always looking for purity, balancing the flavors to create a purer cuisine. He never overloads the ingredients or overwhelms the food with superfluous sauces, serving his dishes on simple white Rosenthal china.
Addison's dÃ©cor is the exact opposite of Bradley's cuisine, done as it is in rich marble, exquisite woods, arched ceilings and burgundy carpet and drapes, but the contrast only adds to one's dining pleasure.
And it was a pleasure, beginning with the amuse bouche, a perfect chilled Heirloom tomato gazpacho with a slight tang of tarragon bÃ©arnaise, just enough to set the tongue a-tingle for the next dishes to come. And come they did, two at a time, as requested.
First there was the foie gras grille surrounded by a smoked almond crust and apricots with elder blossom syrup, a balanced juxtaposition of silky smooth foie gras, crunchy nuts and sweetened fruit, and then the Australian langoustines, tiny and delicate, prepared in an unusual sauce of red curry, coconut and cashews. The little tails could not have been sweeter or more tender, benefiting from the unique preparation, akin to dishes served in Thai restaurants.
Next were two vegetable dishes, the first roasted ruby red beets, the likes of which I had never seen before, so huge were the chunks, bedded on arugula, the veins of which matched the beets in coloration. Sauced with sauce Veronique, surrounded with red table grapes and scattered artfully with tiny chunks of what tasted like gingered kumquats, it was a masterful creation. The other dish was artichokes a la barigoule, featuring two hearts stuffed with candied olive aioli, served in a pool of lemon-basil pitou, exquisitely done.
All of the foregoing were listed as precourse/a la carte, but I decided to try one of the many degustations listed instead of the entrees, and my choice was a sea scallop done in a saffron celery sauce. The saffron was delicately integrated into the celery flavor, but I had one quarrel with the scallop's seasoning "” it had a bit too much salt for my taste.
There is a lovely pastry list and a well-balanced cheese selection, so although I usually pass on those, I was persuaded to try the Bing cherry Napoleon. Good choice. Two flaky wafers of pastry, akin to phyllo, enclosed delicate cherries that tasted as if they had been dehydrated, then rehydrated in a delectable sauce, and the whole was topped with a delightful lime sorbet.
If you go, and you should, call Addison's, (858) 314-1904, for reservations and directions. It is minutes way and more than worth the trip.