When the announcement came in late October that Ryan Clark, one of Tucson’s few superstar chefs—apologies to the many talented people making food in this town, but the triumvirate of the Tucson toqued probably consists of Daniel Contreras, Janos Wilder and Clark, right?—was going to take over the cornerstone of the Mercado, in the process turning it from a Brasserie into a Kitchen, that seemed like a definitive positive step. Clark’s star is definitely on the rise and he probably needed to move on from the hidden-in-plain-sight Lodge on the Desert, so the combination made a lot of sense and the general excitement reflected that the general eating public agreed.
And it would be a lot easier to write a review of Agustín Kitchen if there were numerous missteps with the service or a few clunky dishes. I’d make a few pointed remarks about not getting your money’s worth or get in a shot that Clark’s overrated. Fortunately for Tucson diners with some extra cash and unfortunately for my altweekly disillusionment, Agustín Kitchen is as good or better than I expected based on Clark’s resumé. So, here we go, my almost entirely ecstatic review of a place I’d probably eat at once or twice a week if I hadn’t chosen a life in the not-so-lucrative world of journalism.