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March 30, 2016 News » Cover Story

Eating Well 

Dining Guide 2016

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A restaurant critic's fantasy dinner
By TED SCHEFFLER
comments@cityweekly.net

Sometimes I fantasize about food. But, not just any food. My food fantasy revolves around an impossible idea: the notion that I could enjoy my favorite dishes from local restaurants, all in a single meal. Sure, I suppose I could Uber from place to place during the course of an evening, but I like to imagine sitting down in one spot and digging into all of my faves. It would go something like this:

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I'd choose Log Haven (6451 Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com) as the setting for my dinner, because of its warm, natural ambiance and surroundings—aso, my wife works there, and she'd demand it.

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First off, a couple of appetizer plates are in order: I'd slurp down a half-dozen fresh oysters on the half-shell from Kimi's Chop & Oyster House (2155 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-946-2079, KimisHouse.com), served with mignonette du jour, housemade cocktail sauce and fresh lemon. Then I'd follow up those oysters with an order of The Copper Onion's (111 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3282, TheCopperOnion.com) Wagyu beef tartare dressed with minced red onion, capers, crispy garlic and salsa rosa.

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For my soup course, I would turn to the tomato soup at Oasis Café (151 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com). It's a beautiful bowl of roasted tomato soup with hints of fennel—so simple, and yet so sensational—especially with a glass of wine from their list such as Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

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The fish course would consist of psari psito. That's Manoli's (402 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-3760, ManolisOn9th.com) amazing pan-seared branzino fillets with braised greens and lemon-roasted purple and yellow fingerling potatoes. And, yes, as a matter of fact, I would like a glass of Boutari Moschofilero with that.I'm torn as to what to order for a pasta course; there are so many delicious options. But I'm going to have to pick two.

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First, I'd love a bite of the duck egg pierogi that the amazing Bowman Brown created for soon-to-be-closed Forage (370 E. 900 South, 801-708-7834, ForageRestaurant.com). It's one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth. I'd also like a portion of homemade gnocchi in mushroom-cream sauce from Valter's Osteria (173 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4563, ValtersOsteria.com). And, yes, I would like fresh white truffles on top!A salad course is called for to refresh the palate between fish, pasta and meat courses, and I'd opt here for The Paris' (1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net) salad Lyonnaise. It takes me back to the most memorable salad I ever ate, which was at a restaurant called Bistrot du Paradou, in Provence. The Lyonnaise salad at The Paris is heaven: a mix of radicchio, frisée, endive and mustard greens tossed with warm pancetta and a vinaigrette of sherry vinegar, mustard and black truffles. The finishing touch: Free-range, perfectly poached eggs. Chablis, please!For my meat course, I'd be very happy with a sizzling steak from Ruth's Chris Steak House (275 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2000, RuthsChris.com). They are always perfectly cooked and superb.

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However, I'm going to opt this time for the "Three Little Pigs" entrée at Bambara (202 S. Main, 801-363-5454, Bambara-SLC.com). Chef Nathan Powers offers a tasty trio of pork: a grilled tenderloin, glazed ribs with bourbon BBQ sauce and braised cheek, all accompanied by white cheddar polenta cake, a cheddar tuile and apple-fennel slaw.

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The super talented chef/owner of Del Mar al Lago Cebicheria Peruana (310 Bugatti Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2890), Frederick Perez, is a master at creating memorable desserts. His torta derretida is gorgeous to behold and impossible to forget. Derretida means "melted" in English, and this is a decadent molten chocolate cake spiked with rocoto chili and cinnamon, sprinkled with dark chocolate crumbs and powdered sugar, garnished with fresh mint leaves. It's spectacular.

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