2/27/2012 8:01:00 AM The Gathering gets an inside-out overhaul It's all about 'good food'
The Gathering Restaurant and bar, located inside the Hotel at Cliff Castle has made some major changes recently, not the least of which is the hiring of chef Alan McClean. McClean’s style follows no particular cuisine, instead concentrating on the execution of “good food,” made fresh.
CAMP VERDE - If you have driven by the Hotel at Cliff Castle recently you may have noticed it is getting a facelift.
But what you haven't been able to see, at least until now, are the changes taking place in the Gathering Restaurant, inside the hotel.
The Gathering is the oldest of Cliff Castle's three restaurants, which includes The Gallery and the casino's flagship, Storytellers. But of late it has been second banana to its sister venues inside the casino.
That, however, is changing.
Recently the Casio hired locally renowned chef Alan McClean, formerly with Amara Resort in Sedona and most recently the owner of his own place, Fork in the Road in the Village of Oak Creek.
When he signed on he brought along his innovative, ever-so-slightly-leaning-to-the-Southwest and always-fresh approach.
"I don't have a name for what I do. In my world it's either good food or not good food. I make it to order, keep it simple and focus on the execution. If you were going to call it anything it would be eclectic," says McClean.
For instance -- the new Gathering Restaurant will be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but the bar will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
To cater to his clientele, McClean will offer a menu of three salads, three sandwiches and three desserts, along with five appetizers that reflect his taste.
Among his bite-sized creations are "Krispy Kream Chicken Wings," deep fried in a shattered coating and served with a soy-sesame-lime-garlic sauce, and a portabella mushroom quesadilla with an apple salad.
"We want to stay away from fried mozzarella sticks," he says.
Among The Gathering's other changes is a full list of Verde Valley wines, and, beginning this month, music.
For the entire month of March The Gathering will feature entertainers and Yavapai-Apache tribal members John Joseph and Don Decker.
Joseph is know around the valley for his traditional flute music, which he plays on a wooden flue, along with his interpretations of contemporary music performed on a classical steel flute.
Decker, who has been in the business for nearly 40 years and was once told by Eric Clapton that he was a "pretty good guitar player," will accompany Joseph.
The Gathering's new hours are; Breakfast and lunch every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., bar only on Mon.-Tue.-Wed. from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., dinner on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Gathering is located in the Hotel at Cliff Castle, down the hill from the casino, at 333 Middle Verde Road, (928) 567-7914.