A little surprisingly, we did not come to regret our dining decision that was based more off the name than anything else. That isn’t to say that Culinary Dropout didn’t have favorable yelp reviews, which were extremely helpful in choosing from their remarkably diverse menu. A casual atmosphere of shuffleboard and couches in a covered terrace was well complemented by the wide variety of comfort foods served. It is not a place for vegans or diets.
For a not-barbeque joint, their ribs were good. I don’t think they had been smoked, and they had fallen into the normal trap of relying too much on the sauce, which was a little too sweet. That being said, they had a nice crispiness to them without being dry, and the sauce was spiced as well as sugary.
The pork belly ramen was great. The broth was second only to Bao and Noodle, which is a great honor to be compared to, even negatively. Chewy generally isn’t a term of endearment for meat, but for pork belly, it’s fantastic. It was better then some ramen shops I’ve been to.
However, the first dish we had was by far the best. Provolone fondue with pretzel rolls. There may not be anything better in this world than melted cheese, and I didn’t even really like provolone before this dish. Pretzel rolls, soft and chewy, are so much better than bread. Unlike many chips and dips or fondues, they had the exact right proportions of liquid to solid.
For Phoenix’s size, no one has ever said that it has great cuisine. Culinary Dropout is actually in Tempe, along with most of the highly rated inexpensive restaurants. But don’t worry about the drive, the food is well worth it.
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