Oh, Deer | Wine | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Oh, Deer 

With 10 great eateries in one resort, Deer Valley smokes the competition.

Pin It

As is the case I imagine with every restaurant critic/food writer, the question I hear most frequently is, “What is your favorite restaurant?” This always sparks a series of disclaimers and equivocations from me. For pizza, I like one place in particular. Chile verde leads me to another, and a great steak to a third. For dandan noodles, I head north and when I’m in the mood for seafood, I trek south. You get the idea. I don’t really have a favorite restaurant. Well, OK: Maybe Taillevent in Paris.


But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a favorite restaurant staff. I certainly do. And I’ll state right here that unequivocally, in my opinion, the best food and beverage team in Utah'and maybe in the business'is the gang up at Deer Valley Resort, led by Julie Wilson. That point was driven home at this year’s Wasatch Mountain Food & Wine Society Beaujolais Nouveau Festival (hosted by Deer Valley Resort) and at a recent winter-menu tasting for the media (a preview of Deer Valley’s culinary offerings for the coming season). I hadn’t been up to Deer Valley’s winter-menu tasting for a couple of years'and this one blew my socks off.


The smartest thing Julie Wilson has done as Deer Valley Resort’s director of food and beverage is to surround herself with a very talented group of chefs and managers, including Jodie Rogers, Clark Norris, Letty Halloran Flatt, Kris Anderson and Clint Strohl. Most of these folks have been with Deer Valley Resort since it opened some 26 years ago. How’s that for stability and longevity? It’s virtually unheard of in the restaurant world.


At the Beaujolais Nouveau festival and the winter-menu tasting, I was able to sample fare from all 10 of Deer Valley’s Resort’s restaurants, ranging from Snowshoe Tommy’s on Bald Mountain to Silver Lake Lodge’s fine-dining destination, Mariposa restaurant. At the annual Beaujolais festival, all of Deer Valley Resort’s kitchen stars pitched in to put on a French-themed buffet to end all buffets. Among the dozens and dozens of dishes to sample from were sautéed trout filets with tarragon-Dijon sauce; roasted quail wrapped in bacon; delicious lamb-duck-sausage cassoulet; sauté de Cuisses de Grenouilles (that’s pan-seared frog’s legs to you and me); duck pâté; and a bevy of desserts ranging from orange Muscat wine cake with grapes to a light and airy Beaujolais-and-vanilla cream parfait. As Mariposa manager Clint Strohl likes to tell his customers, “Don’t worry'above 7,000 feet, there are no calories.” He adds, “Hey, selling desserts is how I put my girls in shoes!â€nn

When Deer Valley Resort opens for business on Dec. 2, there are a number of new dishes on the menus throughout Deer Valley that you’re simply gonna love. At least, I did. I’ve always wondered how to get kids to eat scallops. Well, now I know, because I’m certain that youngsters would go gaga over the Seafood Buffet’s new Parmesan citrus scallops. The large sea scallops are served sort of au gratin, with a crispy Parmesan cheese crust. Those scallops would be terrific with a bottle of wine manager Kris Anderson’s Mason 2004 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc alongside, a beautiful pairing indeed. Also new from the Seafood Buffet this year is a clever little soft shell crab “sandwich,” served with smoked chili “slaw” in a cute Navajo taco-inspired “pocket”'yet another cool way to get kids to eat seafood. If that doesn’t work, steer them towards the shrimp Creole with house-made chicken and alligator sausage, a ratio I was told was two parts gator to three parts chicken. What kid wouldn’t love to tell their friends they ate alligator?


There’s a new attraction at Deer Valley’s Empire Canyon Fireside Dining this year which, by the way, has been expanded to three nights a week, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It’s a brilliantly conceived leek and chive risotto which is actually served in a huge Parmesan bowl'an entire wheel of Parmiggiano-Reggiano with most of the cheese scooped out but enough left to impart Parmiggiano goodness to the risotto. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl!


Now I know that many of you, myself included, find quail a pain to eat: lots of little bones and not much meat. Well, that’s not the case with Mariposa’s roasted pancetta-wrapped quail. It’s a meaty quail-on-steroids, deboned (thank you very much) and served with a rich sausage-and-wild mushroom stuffing and cold-smoked shallot reduction. The smoked shallots add a lovely touch of winter-by-the-fire to this outstanding new Mariposa dish. It’s fabulous with a glass of Vacqueras from France, which also worked nicely with Royal Street Café’s chipotle BBQ burger, served with a smoky chipotle mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.


Anyone who has tried chef Letty Halloran Flatt’s desserts doesn’t need to be reminded how mind-blowing they are. But if you haven’t experienced them yet, one bite of her chocolate praline tart (available at the Seafood Buffet) or sherry panna cotta (Mariposa) will make you a Flatt convert. Both the chocolate praline tart and a sampling of caramel, white chocolate Grand Marnier, and chocolate fondues paired wonderfully with a glass of one of the sexiest bubblies I know: Italy’s Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui.


So no, I don’t really have one favorite restaurant. But I can point you to about 10 of them at Deer Valley Resort.


nSnow Park Restaurant & Lounge, Silver Lake Restaurant, Bald Mountain Pizza, Royal Street Café, Empire Canyon Grill, Seafood Buffet, Royal Street Café, The Mariposa, Fireside Dining

Pin It

More by Ted Scheffler

Latest in Wine

  • Sipping Fuissé

    Getting to know Pouilly-Fuissé, France's other white Burgundy
    • Nov 4, 2015
  • Zincredible

    Exploring Zinfandel, a uniquely American wine
    • Oct 14, 2015
  • Alsatian Sensations

    Getting to know the other white wines of France
    • Sep 23, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

© 2019 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation