Deer Valley dining is synonymous with extravagance. Meal prices there tend to hover between stratospheric and astronomical. That is, until now. With the recent opening of Cena Ristorante in The Chateaux at Silver Lake, family-friendly pricing has finally come to Deer Valley. That's the good news. The bad news is the Cena will close for the season, until Fall of 2011, on April 10. So, you've only got about five weeks left to check it out. I had planned to do a full review of Cena in City Weekly, but decided to do it here since the restaurant is temporarily closing soon.
"We want to offer customers Salt Lake City pricing," said Zane Holmquist, Executive Chef at Stein Eriksen Lodge. Stein's recently took over the operation of The Chateaux, located across the street from Stein Eriksen Lodge, including Cena Ristorante and Lounge, formerly Bistro Toujours. "And, we want to give family's visiting Park City and Deer Valley an inexpensive dining option," said Holmquist. Well, they've succeeded. There is only one item on the Cena dinner menu that tops 20 bucks, and that's a grilled rib eye steak ($22) with roasted winter vegetables, herb sauce and balsamic glaze. The dinner menu, which features Italian fare, offers salads priced from $6-$9, pizzas $9-$11, pastas $14-$17 and "secondi" $17-$22. That might not sound exactly cheap, but it's very reasonable pricing by Deer Valley standards. Cena is also open for breakfast and lunch, and I can assure you that it's the only place in Deer Valley where you can get a cheeseburger with French fries for 10 bucks. I tried the burger this weekend, and it was excellent: A big (probably 1/3 pound) natural beef burger with Fontina cheese, roasted red and yellow tomatoes, arugula and very good skin-on, crispy French fries.
Service at Cena is very friendly, but professional, headed up by managers Hayes Hill and Jason Berrett, and the ambiance is appealing. Meals begin with fresh, warm, rustic bread served on a granite tile with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with small ramekins of crushed chili peppers and parmesan cheese alongside - a nice touch. The wine list is modest, but contains some interesting selections and fair pricing. I've tried almost all of the dishes at Cena, from spaghetti and meatballs and Creminelli pepperoni pizzetta, to pasta Bolognese and beef carpaccio, and I've yet to find a dish that wasn't very, very good. Business has been slow, since not many people seem to know about Cena yet. But, with it's egalitarian pricing and excellent food, this place should be rockin!
Here are some of the dishes I enjoyed. Apologies for the cell phone picture quality.
Beef Carpaccio ($11), arugula, Pecorino-Romano cheese
Fried Clams ($9), spicy tomato sauce (AWESOME!)
Seafood Salad ($9), shrimp, scallops, calamari, white beans, watercress
Linguine & Clams ($16), olive oil, lemon, herbs
Wood Oven Braised Pork Shank & Risotto ($18), broccoli raab, globe carrots, pine nut gremolata
Tiramisu - quite possibly, the best I've ever tasted!
Cena Ristorante and Lounge
7815 Royal Street