Big TV screens. Big burgers. Big list of beers.
Risky Business, a restaurant on Tucson's Northeast Side, sounds like a sports bar and grill. And it is — but delve beyond the hamburger section of the menu and you'll discover that this is a restaurant worth visiting for the food as well as the sports vibe.
On recent visits to the restaurant at 6866 E. Sunrise Drive — one of four Risky Business locations around Tucson — we found much to like beyond basic ground-beef-and-bun creations.
One low-key evening, with nothing too compelling playing on the multiple TV screens in the restaurant and adjoining bar area, we tried some offerings from the "Specialties" section of the menu.
The Filet Mignon ($21.95), grilled and set on a bed of port demi glaze, was tender and flavorful — tastily out of the typical sports bar league. This dish, like others from the Specialties section, is served with soup or a house salad and a choice of several potato and rice offerings.
The Seared Sesame Ahi ($13.95) featured slices of ahi tuna dusted in sesame seeds, seasoned, pan seared and lightly laced with ginger teriyaki. Accompanied by a delicately rendered version of fried rice, this dish was right up there with what you might expect in a good seafood restaurant with an Asian spin.
We topped off dinner by splitting a towering dessert called the Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake ($6.95). Consisting of six layers of chocolate, fudge mousse topping and caramel icing with dark chocolate butter cream frosting, this was a dessert so large and rich that we are still pondering the question: Could anyone actually consume one of these babies all by himself — after an already hearty dinner?
Risky Business owners Jon Alubowicz and Robert Raynor have kept the restaurant's décor in a bar-and-bistro vein rather than plush it up to match some of their higher-end entrees. In addition to a whopper-screen TV and other smaller screens around the restaurant, the interior features brightly painted trim, an artsy mural on one wall and ductwork tricked out to resemble a fanciful creature.
The décor will probably be fine with most comers — but it might seem a little too casual for some diners ordering from the higher end of the menu and wine list.
A second visit to Risky Business — this time when the bar and dining areas were packed with fans watching college basketball tournament games — seemed the perfect time to go the burger route.
After warming up the taste buds with the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip appetizer ($8.50), we dug into the Swiss & Mushroom Burger ($9.25).
The half-pound hamburger, served on a sesame seed bun, was reinforced with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese — along with a heap of seasoned fries. Exactly the right fare for a night of watching hoops on the big screen.
A less-ravenous member of our reviewing team opted for the Grilled Shrimp Salad ($9.95).
With greens, fresh basil, avocado, sun-dried tomato, green beans, roasted corn and carrots, the salad was tossed in a cabernet vinaigrette dressing and topped with six marinated grilled shrimp and a blend of cheeses. It was a nicely balanced offering but, like the burger, held no surprises — good or bad — other than a pleasant accent from the sun-dried tomato.
One thing we noticed was that the restaurant, even on the crowded and noisy basketball evening, had attracted plenty of families with children as well as couples and clusters of fans.
Service on both of our visits was snappy, efficient and remarkably unflustered amid the jostling and din of March Madness basketball.
6866 E. Sunrise Drive, 577-0021
• Hours: 11 a.m. to late night daily.
• Family call: Children are welcome, and a kids' menu is available.
• Drinks: Specialty drinks, a good assortment of beers, and wines by the glass or bottle.
• Noise level: Low-to-moderate conversational buzz when nothing too critical is playing out on the TV screens, but expect loud outbursts when a big game is on.
• Vegetarian choices: Salads, veggie tacos and other offerings.
• Dress: Casual.
• Reservations: Not normally accepted. Call if you have a very large party.
• Price range: Main menu items go from $6.25 for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich to $22.95 for a large rib-eye steak.