Restaurant Reviews

Gastronomic gossip

This is a column for the food wonk; for the kid who sees ‘artisanal’ on a menu and it sets off all their cynical sassiness. It’s for the foodie folk who know when Stuart Melling posts and Ted Scheffler publishes.

In a city were restaurants open weekly, and food is the foundation of friendship, we thought it would be interesting to share the gastronomic gossip we’ve heard, seen, and eaten the last couple months. Call it the “Page 6” of restaurant rumors.

First off: badass, sexy-stud of Salt Lake, food icon, and Iron Chef, Viet Pham is opening a new restaurant above Naked Fish. Expect sleek sophistication and an eye towards locally-sourced food that exalts those ingredients to the exotic.

No slouch himself, Scott Evans is moving Finca downtown. The fabulous concept he’s passionate about will have an exposed bar and lounge — a piece that always held the first location back. Downstairs will be a mammoth kitchen to render full animals for all his restaurants’ needs.

“Yawn,” you might say, “I’ve read all of these things.” Well, to that we stuff salami in your mouth.

The old Finca location will become a breakfast, lunch, dinner locale which will elevate each course while delighting the neighborhood. One last item from Scott: his long-awaited 9th and 9th neighborhood bar will open in the next couple months. There is no amount of hyperbole we can underline or italicize to explain our excitement to everything Scott has told us about this bar. From authentic tapas to an incredible cocktail program … this place will eventually elevate every other bar in town.

Scott Lowder opens Copper Onion in south-somewhere called Copper Kettle. It sounds amazing but it’s far too outside our fertile city. Luckily, Lowder told us he continues to seek a perfect downtown location for Plum Alley. While we wait for him, we can sip cocktails at Copper Common —the most sophisticated bar in the city. (Yup.)

Just last week, Joey Cannella from Cannella’s opened TACO TACO next door. Squash blossom tacos and a beerita were wonderful the day after opening and we’re excited to go back soon. Plus, it was worth the visit to meet Alberto, working the register.

Dojo closed last month and we’ll never forget the trio of pork sliders served in steamed buns. The real news here is that Dojo’s liquor license will transfer to a new restaurant in Trolley Square named … Mulboons. Yes, that Mulboons. Like a dead grandpa craving an equally dried-out steak, someone is raising this brand from the dust. I will walking-dead over there and try it out and I truly hope the brand can be resuscitated.

Forgotten, but far from dead… Stoneground across from Library Square has renovated the entire space and added a beee-autiful balcony. Take advantage of it while the weather is still good — and don’t leave without the donuts served beside homemade ice cream. The cherry on this cake: a new enclosed ‘counter’ (Utah legal-speak for restaurant bar) which will be a sexy space to wait for a table or just grab a small bite. Bob says to expect this candle-lit space in November.

Another seriously skipped location is Martine Cafe. This has always been a favorite for a romantic dinner, but with all the construction of City Creek and now the Performing Arts Center, it was just a bit too hard to get to. After a recent visit we say, “No More!” Martine will not be a lonely lover, a forlorn friend … some TLC has exposed the brick, updated the menu and refreshed the upholstery. Go now, they need us! A full review will follow soon.

Following on, “they need us,” From Scratch, the beautiful-casual restaurant on that funky street next to Gallivan is well worth your visit. Matt says it is one of the best burgers he’s ever had with a one-of-a-kind, robust locally-made cheddar cheese.

In the burger business, there wasn’t a place better than Guzzi’s. (Yeah, I’m looking at you Lucky 13 and all who proclaim it the best). Guzzi’s was a little, under-rated burger joint that could have torpedoed everyone with a fling of a french fry. Alas, even the best restaurants need to advertise. So goodbye Guzzi’s and hello…. Sushi Burrito… I have no idea either. Jaw-agape, until we try them out.

Other gossipy news: Squatter’s has a new hedge-fund owner who will take the concept to the next level (eyes roll ’til we create a hurricane). Plans include Phoenix, Seattle and Denver for starters.

Eva’s Bakery will start a dinner service which Charlie Perry told us is as difficult as opening a whole new restaurant. We’re hoping the French theme continues through this new dinner service as French cuisine is SORELY missing from local restaurants.

ZAO Asian Café opened on 400 South. Ok. More exciting: Trolley Wing Company will open a rooftop patio along with an exotic new flavor section of their already delicious wing menu. Finally, The Bagel Project will open soon at 800 South and 500 East … we may never visit New York again.

If you’ve made it this far then you are an epicurious emperor. Follow us on our new Twitter account: @sweetandsourslc.

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