Restaurant Reviews

Tiburon: A Salt Lake Valley classic

I recently dined at Tiburon, which has been one of my favorite dining places in Salt Lake for many years. When I was living in California and came to Utah for a visit, my sister took me to Tiburon many times, and it has been on my list of favorite eateries ever since.

Ken Rose is the owner/manager and has operated Tiburon for over 11 years. Ken comes to Utah from the L.A. area where he worked as the manager of the Round Robin test kitchens, which was obviously a great schooling place for him. Ken is very low key and down-to-earth; with him, what you see is what you get, and that goes for his food, too. He runs a tight ship and rewards his long-term staff by letting them use all of their talents. You get the feeling at Tiburon that every employee, down to the servers and busboys could take over any position at a moment’s notice.

By the way, Ken was also the original owner of Epic, which he has recently sold, and currently is operating a new place in South Jordan, the Wild Rose.

When I went to Tiburon last summer, I was very happy to see all the home-grown veggies from a garden planted in back. One of Ken’s assistants, a fellow named Taylor, is the gardener, and the Tiburon staff follows the lead of Bell Organic Farms. Bell Organic only provides produce to Tiburon, but they helped in creating this garden. I loved the many heirloom tomatoes brought to our table.

My meal started with some delicious, crusty French bread and a glob of Tiburon’s famous flavored butter. This time the butter contained roasted red peppers, fresh herbs and just a hint of honey. I love the idea of serving a flavored butter and I have copied the ones at Tiburon several times in my own cooking.

My first nibble was a beautifully prepared seared scallop served on a glass plate with a creamy tomato sauce, aioli and a streak of reduced balsamic vinegar — tasty and gorgeous!

Next came a beautiful and tangy salad of mixed greens, green apple slices in a light vinaigrette. I don’t always have a salad when I go out because eating one makes me too full and then I don’t enjoy my entrée, but this salad was just the right size! It was topped with candied pecans and a creamy Asiago cheese, and I ate every bite. Another plate came with a perfectly cooked pork belly, served with a wedge of St. Andre cheese and caramelized onions.

After the appetizers and before my main course, they served me a palate-cleansing sorbet of lemon-lime and pineapple. These tiny balls of ice were tart and luscious, made only with the freshest juices and absolutely no added sugar.

Then the main course arrived: scrumptiously cooked medallions of lamb laced with two sauces, a savory demi-glaze and a crushed peppercorn sauce. The plate was beautifully constructed on mounds of spaghetti squash and mushroom risotto with large disks of red beet and carrot propping up a bouquet of green beans. As you can see from my photos, the plating at Tiburon is spectacular.

For dessert I had a chocolate mousse served in a coffee mug and topped with fresh raspberries and kiwi. The flavor was wonderful, but I thought the mousse lacked the spongy texture I like to see and taste in a mousse. It was more like chocolate flavored whipped cream or pudding than mousse. Nevertheless, it was also delicious.

Tiburon sells wine by the glass, but I found the wine list a bit pedestrian. In Utah today, restaurants don’t have to rely on old standby wines like Beringer or other common, large production California wines. There are so many affordable French and Spanish wines not to mention wines from all around the world that it’s a shame to not incorporate these available wines into any menu, especially at Tiburon where the cuisine is so deluxe.

Tiburon is located in Sandy at 8256 S. 700 East, and the quality of cuisine, service and the attention to detail are just about as good as it gets in Utah, so please go there soon. I rate Tiburon at 91 points.

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