It’s easy to get distracted by the flurry of new restaurant openings around town. Everyone wants to check out the new guys, and rightly so. But I’m here to remind you about Bambara—now a Salt Lake City classic.
Full disclosure: I promoted the restaurant during its first year. Then I stepped away so that I could write about it, and lots of other places. Now that Bambara has thrived for more than a decade, I’m still singing its praises.
In fact, I’m smitten with newish (about a year) executive chef Nathan Powers’ kitchen prowess. The man is a seafood wizard, bringing years of experience at San Francisco’s Farallon, among other stellar Bay Area restaurants, to Bambara’s grills and roasting pans. Whatever you order, from beautifully balanced, memorable salads and sides to inspired sorbets, his food is consistently outstanding. And honestly, how many restaurants can deliver so consistently? But, it’s not just about the food. It’s Bambara’s unfailingly professional service, the space itself, the light, the colorful dinnerware—all the details, right down to the artful ice buckets.
With local summer produce in full flush, Powers is working magic with heirloom tomatoes—roasting and pureeing the juicy gems in soups and sauces, and sprinkling them in salads and in the most enticing bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels I’ve ever devoured. This season’s mussel presentation is truly inspired. It’s a shallow bowl of jet-black shells standing straight up and wide open, revealing the most plump, sweet mussels imaginable.
Pan-roasted, with a subtly smoky flavor and a saffron-infused broth, topped by a drizzle of basil creme fraiche and a sprinkling of tiny cherry tomatoes, this mussel dish touches perfection. Dip the accompanying grilled ciabatta into the soupy broth and it’s like having two dishes in one. Kitchen wizardry, indeed.
202 S. Main