Dining Guide 2017 | Dining | Salt Lake City Weekly

Dining Guide 2017 

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Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler

Do you ever wish that, instead of sitting down to eat in a single restaurant, you could compose a fantasy meal consisting of dishes—appetizers, entrées, desserts, etc.—from all your favorite establishments? I do. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to pull off, even with being Ubered from location to location. But, hey, a man can dream. This would be a Sophie's Choice situation where some of my favorite menu items wouldn't make the cut, but sadly there isn't room (even in a gourmand's fantasy) for all of those I'd like to include. Hard choices must be made, if only to avoid the fate of Monty Python's Mr. Creosote, who (spoiler alert) comes to an untimely end in The Meaning of Life when, following a hyper-gluttonous meal, a single "wafer-thin mint" prompts his gruesome demise. So here we go:

Since, in my mind, every awesome meal should begin with oysters, I'd head to Market Street Oyster Bar (48 W. Market St., SLC, 801-531-6044, ginc.com) for an assortment of bluepoint, Kusshi, Northwest and Kumamoto oysters on the half-shell and a glass of crisp white wine. Next—and not solely because my partner works there—I'd enjoy the pretty drive up Millcreek Canyon to Log Haven (6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, SLC, 801-272-8255, log-haven.com) for Chef Dave Jones' outstanding appetizer: minced sushi-grade tuna tartare with a crisp miso-sesame tuile, seaweed salad, crushed avocado and pickled shiitakes. Simultaneously sweet, spicy and tart, this tartare hits all the right notes.

Tuna tartare at Log Haven - TED SCHEFFLER
  • Ted Scheffler
  • Tuna tartare at Log Haven

For a salad course—and, this is why such a dining excursion is only possible in my mind—I'd motor to Park City for the hamachi Caesar salad at Firewood (306 Main, Park City, 435-252-9900, firewoodonmain.com). Caesar salad can be a ho-hum affair, but that's definitely not the case when creative Chef John Murcko is involved. Romaine ribs are topped with a heavenly dressing, with toasted pumpernickel crumbs (in the place of standard croutons) and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and served with two pieces of smoked hamachi. Look very closely and you'll find nearly invisible pieces of salted egg yolk, microplaned onto the lettuce leaves, which impart more flavor and texture than if the yolks had merely been incorporated into the dressing, as is the tradition.

Of course, we'd want bread with our meal. For that, Table X (1457 E. 3350 South, SLC, 385-528-3712, tablexrestaurant.com) marks the spot. I don't normally go gaga for bread, but the in-house baked sourdough here—served gratis with silky whipped butter—is other-worldly. The same is true of the focaccino at Stoneground Kitchen (249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-364-1368, stonegroundslc.com). Essentially, it is baked, slightly charred pizza dough that puffs up like Indian poori or a Mexican sopaipilla. A server delivers the steaming focaccino to your table and deftly deflates and slices it. It's lightly sprinkled with Adriatic Sea salt, dried oregano and garlic oil, and served simply with an irresistible pomodoro sauce for dipping. Yes, bodacious bread.

Time for a fish course. No, wait—two fish courses: one hot, one not. Let's begin with the surreal ceviche at Pago (878 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-532-0777, pagoslc.com). Chef Phelix Gardner's ceviche starts with raw halibut that's "cooked" in lime juice, served with a smidgen of fresh Fresno chiles, Inca corn for taste and texture, compressed sweet potato and homemade taro chips. Wow! Kudos to Provisions (3364 S. 2300 East, SLC, 801-410-4046, slcprovisions.com) chef/owner Tyler Stokes for being one of the few restaurateurs in town to serve whole fish. His whole fried branzino with coconut cream, lime, chile jam, kale and butternut squash is stupendous.

French onion soup at The Paris - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • French onion soup at The Paris

Since this is my fantasy, let's throw in both soup and pasta courses. Let's see ... soup. It's got to be The Paris' (1500 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-486-5585, theparis.net) gratinée à l'oignon. I'd belly up to the zinc bar and ask Justin for a wine or cocktail recommendation first—what do you drink with French onion soup? This is something that so many restaurants get wrong, but with Parisian-born Emmanuel Levarek in the kitchen, you can count on your soup's onions to be perfectly caramelized and the Gruyère to have a slightly toasted crust and crunch—a beautiful bowl of soup, indeed. For a pasta course, it's going to be tough to top the ravioli at Fireside on Regent (126 S. Regent St., SLC, 801-359-4011, firesideonregent.com). If you tend to think of ravioli as overcooked, cheese-stuffed pasta sheets smothered in tomato sauce with grated cheese, think again. Although the house-extruded iteration at Michael Richey's restaurant is hearty in texture, it's delicate in taste. The perfect pasta envelopes braised chicken-thigh meat and ricotta, and the raviolis are served in a light consommé and topped with fresh minced herbs—chervil and chives. This ravioli is rad.

Rice dolaa at Mazza - BRENDEN GRANT
  • Brenden Grant
  • Rice dolaa at Mazza

Choosing a single meat course is challenging. But even given all the excellent steaks, chops, filets, shanks and such out there, one of my very favorites is a dish featuring lamb, but it's not hogging the whole plate. I'm thinking of the Lebanese-style lamb and rice dolaa at Mazza (1515 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-484-9259; 912 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-521-4572, mazzacafe.com). It's such a simple dish, yet so satisfying: Lean lamb is cooked until tantalizingly tender with Middle Eastern spices such as cinnamon and allspice, served with rice and garnished with toasted almonds and pine nuts. Alongside is homemade cucumber-yogurt sauce which adds clean, aromatic flavors. Go all out and enjoy it paired with Massaya Terrasses de Baalbeck Silver Selection wine—made with Châteauneuf-du-Pape type varietals—from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

Finally, it's back to Park City for one of the best dessert selections not just in Utah but anywhere on the planet. Tupelo (508 Main, Park City, 435-615-7700, tupeloparkcity.com) Pastry Chef Shirley Butler originally hails from England, so it's not surprising that her sticky toffee pudding should be such a hit with customers, as are her addictive buttermilk biscuits with Tupelo honey butter. One of the U.K.'s great gifts to humankind, sticky toffee pudding, is delicious in its own right, and this version is second-to-none—so moist and luxurious with silky toffee-pecan sauce. But Butler kicks hers up a few notches with the addition of unforgettable Earl Grey bitters ice cream. It's simply outstanding.

Now, maybe I have room for just one wafer-thin mint ...


Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler


Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell

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