Ron Dimas is sitting at one of the elegantly set tables in the empty dining room at Estate House, downtown Scottsdale's newest high-end restaurant.
It's still three hours before the doors will open for dinner, and the 39-year-old chef is describing the seasonal menu he has created for the multilevel, mansion-inspired dinner house.
"The phrase we've coined is 'French-inspired wine country cuisine,' " Dimas says. "But we're really not a French restaurant. It gives us a lot of room to experiment."
In other words, along with pan-seared foie gras and duck breast and leg sausage, you'll find braised pork osso buco and Nantucket Bay scallops. Entrees range from $26 to $42.
The diverse menu is a pretty good fit for the fine-dining component of developer Fred Unger's shops-and-restaurants SouthBridge complex on the Arizona Canal. Different designers worked on different portions of Estate House's interior, resulting in diverse decors and atmospheres.
The ground floor has the feel of a European seaside retreat. The dining room features rustic wood beams, unfinished wood floors and a corner fireplace. Oars hang on the wall with an expensive collection of artwork.
On one side, a champagne bar offers bubbly and caviar, while on the other, down a short hallway, you'll find a private dining room called The Conservatory. Outside, there are two secluded patios.
The second floor, which boasts more of an uptown lounge vibe, is dominated by a zebrawood bar and baby grand piano. Leather club chairs and velvet sofas provide relaxed seating.
There's another private room, called The Den, as well as a pair of roomy rooftop patios with plush furniture and a fire pit.
Despite the sophisticated menu and dramatic surroundings, visitors shouldn't feel intimidated, Dimas says.
"We want the restaurant to be very approachable," he says. "We don't feel you should have to come in here and have your hand held."