As a perennial crowd favorite with a remarkably consistent rapport from critics, Kevin Binkley enjoys the best of both worlds: chef and owner. But it’s not just one restaurant he oversees. From his flagship Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek, he has launched three more eateries: Café Bink, Bink’s Midtown and Bink’s Scottsdale. And just like their namesake, they all serve the inventive, artistic cuisine Binkley is known for.
But unlike a musician who feels a bit disgruntled to play his old hits, Binkley’s efforts at his modern fine dining establishment, which opened its doors in Cave Creek in 2004, is an ongoing project. Today, Binkley pushes forward with a golden ear and an identity that never grows faint of voice; an album that keeps producing hits long after a new EP is released.
It’s no small feat to be nominated for a James Beard award (think the Oscars for restaurants). Bu Binkley, a Best of Chef of the Southwest nomination has been in his repertoire every year since 2005. And this year is no different with yet another nomination in the illustrious category.
Many Valley diners will have taken to drive to Binkley’s restaurant outside of the city, where the violet mountains at the edge of the Valley zoom into detail. They arrive at a tiny mall surrounded by cacti and campy Southwestern flair, but the reward is a modernist symphony with Binkley as conductor and bandleader. Checkered cloth and denim gives way to white linens as diners relax in the hands of an expert—a man with stage presence who’s as vocal about local produce as the foie gras gracing the menu’s pages, which change often. At Binkley’s, flavor is as much about synchronization as it is the staccatos and surprises behind the curtains of each course.
Binkley was listening when diners wanted his cuisine to be closer. And so even though his more casual, small-plate centric eats are more in reach to the Valley’s critical mass, there’s only one venue that plays the Binkley’s award-winning, modernist set night in and night out.
Photo Credit: David Zickl
6920 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek