Former Chef of Cowboy Chow, Bernie Kantak, Opens New Restaurant

Former Cowboy Chow Chef Bernie KantacThe former executive chef of Cowboy Chow, Bernie Kantak, has opened a new restaurant in Scottsdale called Citizen Public House in the space last occupied by Next. He’s partnering with Andrew Fritz, a front-of-the-house veteran from Cowboy Ciao. The restaurant is scheduled to open mid-December.

At Cowboy Ciao, Kantak, 39, was celebrated for his offbeat, Southwestern-accented fare, which ranged from an exotic mushroom pan fry in ancho chile cream sauce to buffalo carpaccio.

But he’s pretty much ditching the Southwestern notes at Citizen, in favor of what he calls globally inspired “eclectic comfort food” in a white-tablecloth setting.

He promises to give “familiar ingredients a new life.” That means starters like mussel chowder with smoked pork belly ($8), pork belly pastrami with spaetzle and Brussels sprout sauerkraut ($12) and crispy squid with pickled fennel ($9). There will also be a version of his acclaimed chopped salad ($12).

Main dishes include coffee-charred short ribs ($26), porcini-dusted filet ($32) and pan-seared scallops with bacon and grits ($17).

There are also a couple of burgers ($12): wagyu beef on challah, and a lamb burger on lepinja, a pita-like bread from the Balkans.

After he left Cowboy Ciao, Kantak worked on two ambitious projects, both done in by the recession: a multi-restaurant group in downtown Phoenix, and the never-opened Mexican Standoff at SouthBridge.

Address: Citizen Public House, 7111 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale.

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