Out and About in Jerome
Hollywood Jim Eats 15.Quince in Jerome! In Spanish, quince is pronounced keen-say and stands for the number fifteen (15). The number fifteen also signifies humility in the I-Ching and the only thing humble about 15.Quince Grill and Cantina Restaurant in Jerome Arizona is the man behind the food.
I had the distinct pleasure of dining at Master Chef Vladimir Costa’s 15.Quince Grill and Cantina restaurant in Jerome Arizona last Saturday evening.
The first inkling of 15.Quince great expectations happened earlier in the month when I first sampled Chef Costa’s public offering of food at the Town of Jerome Men in Pink Heals! event. Curiosity led me back to Jerome and right into the lap of the best thing to hit Arizona since paved roads! High praise, well-deserved.
The 15.quince Grill & Cantina is tucked into an historic town building that once housed the very first Safeway grocery store in Arizona. If that isn’t unique enough for you, how about a grinning calavera ( skull ) signboard hanging over the entrance? The atmosphere inside 15.Quince is charmingly airy with turquoise walls which set the backdrop for dark wood and colorful artwork adorned walls. A section of the restaurant’s wall art is devoted to the under-twelve set; young artists with talent whose prices are reasonable and not to be missed. After enjoying a memorable meal, support talented local artists of all ages and purchase an original Jerome Arizona canvas.
My posse and I ( I never go anywhere alone ) were greeted by a friendly waiter who seated us promptly and attended to our every want, and what I wanted was the promised heaven of Chef Vlad’s kitchen. Without asking, my friends and I were first served fresh salsa (the best of the fresh) and warm tortilla chips. I ordered the Quince Margarita and sipped of that nectar of the gods, perfectly balanced.
Chef Vladimir Costa’s menu is inspired by the nineteen Pueblos of New Mexico and represents traditional and contemporary cuisines. I ordered the Pancho Sinatra (Chili Rellano) and savored the smokey heat mellowed by the four different cheeses and black beans. OMG was I in heaven! Having enjoyed Elote in Sedona, 15.Quince Grill and Cantina kitchen’s Pancho Sinatra earns top billing with Master Chef Vladimir Costa’s subtle work of art with the chili and melded flavors.
My friend, Jan, loved the Joint Club Sandwich served on dark hearty bread layered fist-high with a stack of fresh meat and a sandwich dressing that you must sample to appreciate. Jan (not easy to please) said that she would order the Joint Club again, and again.
Gal pal, Cat Black, lead singer of The Cat Black Band drove down from Flagstaff for the evening and raved about the Pueblo Taco Salad with its fresh, pan-fried chicken. This East Coast girl knows fresh chicken from her days on the farm. Chef Costa, our girl Cat loved the fresh garden greens and wants to sample all of your menu!
Posse lady Ms. O ordered the Chicken Quesadilla appetizer and the helpful (and well-trained) waiter was right! The Chicken Quesadilla appetizer was big enough to be a meal, and again the chicken was fresh and moist. Our Ms. O took home half of the quesadilla for lunch the next day, even after sharing samples with our table of six!
Our lady C was delighted with the Quemodo Bleu Salad with chicken and its kick- butt dressing, and again the portion was enough for two! My seatmate and gal pal, Donna Solomon, went on about the Beef Tacos served in blue and red taco shells that melted in her mouth. The ladies all being ladies required a box for the dinner that they couldn’t finish, but I continued on and manfully loved every bite, leaving nothing on my plate.
The portions at 15.Quince Grill & Cantina are HUGE! Master Chef Vladimir Costa does not send you away hungry and neither does he short-change quality while providing quantity. Chef Vlad only uses fresh and garden grown greens and herbs and the best of local and regional meats and produce, only the best of the best for 15.Quince diners!
Dinner isn’t over unless you eat dessert, so at the waiter’s suggestion (bless him), the Posse and I ordered the Churros.
Let me tell you, folks, even if you don’t have room in those pants, move the buckle over and order the churros! Take some home! Get Chef Vlad’s phone number and arrange a daily supply! The churros are so good that I am raving. Master Chef Costa’s warm creamy cinnamon churro dessert is addictive heaven. I dream of Chef Costa’s churros at 15.Quince Grill and Cantina!
Here’s a Hollywood Jim of Arizona Out and About Column first: I have never eaten a better churro dessert than at Master Chef Vladimir Costa’s 15.Quince Grill and Cantina restaurant in Jerome Arizona.
The evening didn’t end with dessert, folks. I met the man behind the 15.Quince Grill and Cantina kitchen: Vladimir Costa, owner-chef is a Certified Master Chef and one of fewer than one hundred in the U.S. who have earned that title.
Chef Costa achieved celebrity as General Manager of the Bistro Latino at 54th Street and Broadway in New York City where he dazzled the likes of the New York Yankees, Marc Anthony, and Celia Cruz. Master Chef Vladimir Costa also worked alongside the likes of famous chefs, Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay. I soon discovered, however, that words such as “greatness” and “celebrity” are not how Chef Vlad Costa would describe himself because Vlad Costa is a humble man; there is no false posturing or ego within this chef’s hat and apron.
Vladimir Costa is a gentleman with heavily tattooed arms and a shaved head. I thanked him for one of the most memorable gastronomic events since arriving in Arizona, and when I continued to express admiration, Chef Costa stopped me short and said it “was just food and not rocket science.” Suddenly I appreciated this man and understood how Jerome Arizona, in its gold mining and western town past glory, called to this well-traveled man of great New York City kitchen success.
Vladimir Costa delighted in the character of his restaurant building’s historic past, pointing out a beautiful tin ceiling as he explained his choice of color palette. Chef Costa is enthusiastic about the Town of Jerome’s present and future, so much so that he will be opening a chocolate shop soon in town.
Conversing with Vlad Costa, I recognized within him the number fifteen which represents humility in the I-Ching. Master Chef Vladimir Costa is incredibly humble considering his talent and achievements.
Despite what Chef Costa may believe, his mastery of the kitchen is rocket science. I plan on being a regular guest at 15.Quince Grill and Cantina in Jerome Arizona.
As an evening side note, I have to mention the band, Amitabba, that entertained at 15.Quince the night my posse and I dined. Amitabba was a surprise find and not only performed dinner appropriate music, they entertained the crowd later to music that brought us to our feet. Chef Costa, as a well-trained host, moved a table or two aside to make room for his guests and my red shoes.
As the sun set on the beautiful valley below 15.Quince Grill and Cantina perch high on a mountain rock face, I truly enjoyed one of the most memorable evenings in quite some time. In appreciation, my friends and I give Chef Vladimir Costa and the 15.Quince Grill & Cantina a huge shout out and four kitchen gods out of five.
Vladimir Costa’s 15.Quince Grill & Cantina
363 Main Street
Jerome, AZ. 86331
Owner and Master Chef: Vladimir Costa
Sous Chef: Larry Mosman
8:AM-9:PM Thursday through Monday
8:AM-5:PM Tuesday and Wednesday
Breakfast served daily until 11:AM
Price Range: Breakfast Entrees: $5.95-$9.95; Lunch and Dinner $5.95-$12.95
Beverages/Bar: Full bar featuring fine wines from local vineyards and a large screen television.
Credit cards: They take ‘em all folks. No reservations necessary
Mr. Costa and 15.Quince Grill and Cantina are happy to host private parties and cater special events for up to two hundred. Live music every Thursday and Saturday!
Critic Crib note: My evening in Jerome could not have been more perfect from the fine dining, great music and the breathtaking valley views outside 15.Quince Grill and Cantina full glass windows. While walking about Jerome, the Mayor and Police Chief and several hungry citizens carrying take-away boxes raved about 15.Quince lunches. My fellow Saturday evening patrons (I always get other diners opinions) said they will be back. Personally I intend to do the Sedona drive to 15.quince Grill & Cantina again, and again. Thank you, Chef Costa! Without you (and your food) we are nothing….quote from my girl Madonna.
Article written by sedonaeye.com contributing writer, Hollywood Jim Franckowiak. The Out and About is a weekly series highlighting places and events of interest. Copyright c2010 by Sedona Times Publishing.