Sedona’s scenic fine-dining spot
Finding ways to get you closer to the creek was the idea behind the complete renovation of L’Auberge de Sedona’s waterside dining destination, now called Cress on Oak Creek. The restaurant was named after watercress, a fresh, peppery green that executive chef Rochelle Daniel forages from Oak Creek.
The all-new Cress is an unmatched fine-dining restaurant that infuses the luxury resort’s incredible creekside location into every part of the dining experience. An ever-evolving, prix fixe dinner menu showcases creative and refined fare. From pine-fermented garlic accompanying the 36-day-aged beef carpaccio, to the watercress-garnished, all-natural filet mignon to the edible wild rose on the raspberry cheesecake dessert, the sights, sounds and flavors of Oak Creek are thoughtfully steeped into to the fare to make edible works of art.
At your feet, the creek trickles over Sedona’s enchanting red rocks as you drink and dine alfresco at intimate tables set with linens and fresh-cut flowers. In this unique setting, the rippling creek is all you need as the musical accompaniment for a romantic evening, girlfriend get-together or executive retreat.
The outdoor location set within the sanctuary of L’Auberge de Sedona’s grounds — complete with birds twittering back and forth among the leafy branches — provides an immersive experience in nature.
Choose a three- or four-course prix fix that enables the gourmand in you to pick and mix culinary delights as you please.
The chef, who graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, understands current trends and stays ahead of the dining curve. She has morphed the fashionable small plate into carefully presented art installations that don't compromise on taste. Indeed, we were mesmerized by the different and distinctive taste in each bite.
Daniel uses locally sourced, foraged ingredients whenever possible to tantalize with fun and fanciful presentations. Elegant baby turnips, radishes and carrots are grown to perfect bite-sized pieces and used to balance taste and texture within a dish.
The flavors of the forest surrounding Oak Creek — spruce, honey, sunflower seeds and mushrooms — make for surprisingly good pairings. For example, recent dishes included spruce salt as the garnish with whipped butter served with the French-style bread; burnt honey was paired with vinegar for an invigorating vinaigrette; sunflower risotto was served under veal cheek; and black truffle dauphinoise was paired with duck breast.
Forks disappeared and reappeared with barely a notice from diners — the show performed by the well-rehearsed waitstaff went almost unnoticed. The unobtrusive headwaiter led us through the menu. And it was no wonder the unpretentious server was so knowledgeable of Cress’ renowned wine cellar — a button on his lapel showed he was a member of the Guild of Sommeliers.
As if the service and food weren’t enough to keep you satisfied, look for a hovering heron overhead, which often appears, disappears and then reappears just like the eating utensils.