Restaurant Reviews

Lasciviousness to lasagna: Caffé Molise

It was at least 30 pounds and 15 years ago at Club Splash when Steve and I had our first tripartite. (I’m using that word because I know Michael Aaron would hate to publish the word threeway.) It was exhilarating, fun, risky, and sexy. We both enjoyed it, talked about it, and moved on. There were other adventurous explorations, but none as audacious — or fulfilling — as that first time.

Club Splash closed, along with a dozen other gay bars and clubs, and we moved on too. We bought a house together, cars, and started to cook… it is amazing how quickly you can move from being the kitty at the club to the cougar who cares for barn cats in the back yard.

We are adulting now. Or, we are trying.

Late last year, in that place that launched a thousand orgies — home to audacious stories of drug-fueled parties, a renaissance occurred.

A million dollars later, what had been Club Bay, Club Splash, the Vortex, and a Fraternal Order of the Eagles, became Caffé Molise and in the basement, BTG Wine Bar. Fred Moesinger and Aimee Sterling moved their Salt Lake institution just two blocks south.

Maturing take many forms. Some boys stay in that halcyon of club and youth euphoria, others grow and mature. Where do we land? Not sure. But, we know that Moesinger and Sterling have designed a storied building that exudes maturity, elegance, and familiarity. It feels grown-up, and we are ready for it. From Easter Sunday Family brunches, to Pride Day Tea Parties, everyone will feel welcome.

Oh the food? From the duck meatballs with orange glaze to a traditional lasagna, the cuisine on our three visits perfect. The longtime favorite —spiced-rubbed, oven-roasted pork tenderloin with fig compote was somehow elevated. Also, the vegetarian eggplant meatballs with shallot and tomato cream was a vegetarian’s tongue orgasm. Yes, the pool was bulldozed. The aquarium is gone. The speedo-clad boy under a waterfall is washed away. We all grow up, and this elegantly tiled, white table-clothed restaurant is a thoughtful and wonderful renovation for a new generation— perhaps the same generation that was here 15 years ago.

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