Tuesday night I got to crash Log Haven's media dinner showcasing the Millcreek Canyon restaurant's spring menu. Yes, life IS hard in newspaper world.
Chef Dave Jones and the Log Haven crew served up a ridiculous array of tasty samples, along with plenty o' vino, and while the log cabin restaurant might have a long-standing rep as a meat-and-potatoes specialist, you might be surprised at some of the influences Jones is working into his dishes this year.
Take, for example, the opening amuse bouche: Alpine Nachos. Nachos are not exactly what you expect at Log Haven, and the mix of pancetta, mushrooms, onions and Comté cheese made for a fine opening salvo of the multi-course feast.
The first course consisted of a fava bean soup with Creminelli mortadella, and it was one of my favorite flavors of the night, easily. The polenta ravioli served with a fresh organic egg and pancetta is worth a re-visit, as was the Furikake Agedashi Soft Shell Crab, served in an excellent wasabi-yuzu sauce.
The salad course was a highlight, and that's not easy for a carnivore like me to admit. I particularly dug the Baby Romaine with a creamy poblano-lime vinaigrette. I could have eaten a LOT more of that one. The Wild Arugala salad with edamame, tofu and honey-ginger vinaigrette was another example of Asian influences creeping into the proceedings.
The entrees were a little more hit-or-miss for me. The Saba Grilled Duck Breast (pictured, horribly, due to my crappy camera phone), was served with polenta, grilled Treviso, a port reduction and freeze-dried concord grapes. Good stuff. The Okanagan Highlands Steelhead Trout was excellent; if you're a fish lover, don't even think twice. The addition of olive quinoa and heirloom carrot broth just made it all the better. I wasn't as fond of the grouper or organic chicken breast, although the chicken did come with some delicious tempura'd shashito peppers. The Pan Seared Scallops were another winner, and I particularly liked the tomato-corn risotto and Beehive Uinta Jack Cheese that complimented that dish.
The dinner was also my first chance to sample Utah's own urban winery, Kiler Grove, thanks to the presence of their Trebbiano and Zinergy among the wine choices. I like the white Trebbiano a bit more than the Zin myself.
One nice bit of news that came out of the evening was the addition of movie nights this summer to the Log Haven experience. Jones said the temp is a good 15 degrees cooler at the restaurant than in the valley during the dog days, and sitting in the amphitheater under the stars, dining on delicious and surprisingly light fare, sounds pretty damn ideal.
Now, if we can actually GET to summer.