By Kathy Montgomery | Photo by Tim Fuller
I'm surprised by the crowd in the dining room at Stables Ranch Grille at Tubac Golf Resort. It's Monday night and pouring rain. Drenched from an unexpected summer downpour, I'm grateful for having made an early reservation when the hostess leads my husband and me past full tables to seats by a window where we watch the storm play over a picturesque field with a pond bordered by fat, leafy cottonwoods and a cow grazing leisurely along a split-rail fence.
Set against the backdrop of the Santa Rita Mountains, Tubac Golf Resort was once part of a 400-acre ranch established in 1789 by Spanish cattleman Don Toribio de Otero. The resort dates to 1959 and an investment group that is rumored to have included Bing Crosby. Movie buffs know it as the setting for the 1996 film Tin Cup, which starred Kevin Costner.
To its credit, the resort has made good use of the ranch's historic structures. Stables is named for the building in which it was built. The restaurant's front room, with its stone floors and tables separated by the remnants of stalls, feels Old World and intimate. The back room, added later, feels open and spacious, thanks to three floor-to-ceiling arched windows.
With menu items like garlic sautéed shrimp with Serrano ham, sherry and Spanish olive oil, Stables feels surprisingly upscale and urban given its rural setting.
I'm completely won over. If there's any better surprise on a summer evening, I don't know what it is. Except, maybe, getting caught in an unexpected storm.
Stables Ranch Grille is located at 1 Otero Road in Tubac. For more information, call 520-398-2678 or visit www.tubacgolfresort.com/dining.php.