Maybe the most adventurous is Sego Lily Café, situated in a beautiful old brick house on Bountiful’s Main Street. When I heard that Caffe Molise owner and chef Fred Moesinger had opened a fine dining restaurant in Bountiful, I thought maybe he’d gone a little too hard on the grappa. Fine dining? Bountiful?
But once I set eyes on the lovely Sego Lily Café, it suddenly made sense. After all, Bountiful needs more than just a single upscale dining destination (the Mandarin). And at least some of the populace must be craving a spot to dine where the food doesn’t come in Styrofoam.
Fine dining doesn’t have to mean extreme pricing. The Sego Lily dinner menu tops out at $21.95 for an innovative dish of brie-baked cod: a filet wrapped in prosciutto, seared and served with a three-berry ginger sauce. At lunchtime, sandwiches and entrees run $8-$11, and come with a house salad or herb-and-garlic fries. Free parking is abundant at the restaurant, which serves beer and wine along with a modest liquor selection.
“We’re doing a lot of smoking up there!” says Moesinger, referring to his Bountiful restaurant. Huh? I thought he meant his new place was a cigarette- and cigar-friendly eatery, but his chef, Dave Bible, set me straight. He meant “smoking” as in smoked-apple barbecue sauce, which comes atop Bible’s marvelous meatloaf ($15.95). Made with ground sirloin, the meatloaf sports a dark, crunchy crust which envelopes the tender, juicy interior. Raw onions have ruined many a meatloaf. And I’m guessing that chef Bible must sauté his onions prior to incorporating them into his luscious loaf, thereby tenderizing and taking away those harsh onion flavors. The house-smoked apple barbecue sauce is spectacular, a perfect blend of sweet and spicy notes. I’d buy the stuff by the bottle if they sold it.
Just as appealing was the very simple, judiciously balanced raspberry vinaigrette that adorned the Sego Lily house salad, which came with my meatloaf. I’ve always liked the salads at Caffe Molise, and it’s obvious that Moesinger’s recipes have found their way up to Davis County.
The nearly-too-sweet flavors of the butternut squash ravioli ($9.95) at Sego Lily Café make it a good starter to share—a bit too rich, I think, for one person to polish off the entire dish. For a more classic pasta offering, opt for the lasagna. I believe the recipe for this particular version goes back to the grandmother of Shelly DeProto, Caffe Molise’s original owner.
Service at Sego Lily Café is a bit spotty, just like my wine glass was. I’d barely gotten my butt in my seat when I was asked what I wanted to drink. And, clearing plates between courses, one server kept standing across the table waiting for me to hand her mine. That’s odd in a place as sophisticated as Sego Lily.
My wife hit the nail on the head in her summation of Xtreme Sushi: “This is a dude place,” she noted. A couple of dudes run Xtreme, most notably a young owner/chef named John. There’s a very small sushi bar, but most of the food is ordered and delivered counter-style. A silent flat-screen TV runs continuously while dance tunes play on the stereo system. In a corner of the restaurant, next to an old upright piano, is a gazebo-shaped metal cage, which serves as the stage for Monday night’s open mic. Everything at Xtreme Sushi carries an “X” theme, from the T-shirts and Day-Glo road crew vests for sale to the X-Tagged brochures scattered around the room. To their credit, the guys at Xtreme Sushi are involved in causes like the X-Tagged project—catching child predators by “tagging” their license plates—Time to X out Smoking, and X Out DUI.
But here’s what you need to know about the sushi at Xtreme: It’s the cheapest in the state. It isn’t Takashi, as evidenced by flattened-out rice for some of the nigiri. But, wow, $6.50 bought me six sizable pieces of nigiri with generous slabs of yellowtail. An eight-piece blue crab roll (real blue crab, avocado, cucumber) was $4.25. Are you kidding me? An Xtreme Sushi dinner for two—and we were both stuffed to the gills—cost $24 with tax and tip. That’s Xtreme value.
Another couple of dudes—Kimo and Kalani Mack from Hawaii—own and operate Mo’ Bettah Steaks, which is as good a reason to visit Bountiful as any. The specialty here is what in Hawaii is known as a “steak plate” or “plate lunch,” a protein served with rice and macaroni salad. I typically loathe macaroni salad, but at Mo’ Bettah Steaks, it totally rocks. And so does the Kahlua pork ($5.50): juicy, shredded, heavily salted (authentically Hawaiian) tender pork that is so full of flavor your tastebuds will be doing the hula. The teriyaki chicken lunch plate ($5.50) is a pile of boneless, skinless thighs that’ll instantly transport you to the islands. Best of all, Kalani and Kimo encourage all comers to arrive in shorts and “slippahz” (flip-flops). Just ’cause this food is fast doesn’t mean it ain’t fabulous.
SEGO LILY CAFÉ
305 N. Main, Bountiful, 801-294-3327
273 W. 500 South, No. 13, Bountiful, 801-294-5975
MO’ BETTAH STEAKS
273 W. 500 South, No. 3, Bountiful, 801-296-2928