Chefs Viet Pham and Bowman Brown, Forage
Viet Pham and Bowman Brown at Forage
370 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-708-7834
Together, Viet Pham and Bowman Brown had an unlikely vision and they’ve shared it with all of us. Dining at Forage is a thrill ride, full of unexpected twists and surprising turns; the creativity of this chef duo seems endless. Dish descriptions are haiku-like lists of ingredients with no clue as to how the components will be put together, like slow cooked diver scallop/sunchoke puree/edamame/Earl Grey/toasted almond. The message is: trust the chefs. They will not disappoint. No wonder Forage has won national recognition and local love, and brought the spotlight home to Utah.
Try to imagine: Confit of wild ono/roasted fingerling potatoes/wild mushrooms/meyer lemon confit
Best New Restaurant in Utah:
4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-615-8080
Chef John Murcko calls it “mountain cuisine,” but the name of the signature restaurant at Canyons is more indicative of what you’ll find on the plate: The Farm’s menu relies heavily on local resources–lamb from Morgan Valley, trout from Mountain Valley in Smithfield, vegetables from Roberts Ranch in Spanish Fork, High Star Farms in Kamas and Zoe’s Garden in Layton. The food is a celebration of Utah, and offers out-of-staters and locals alike a chance to taste the best of the Beehive.
Utah-French onion soup: Made with a base broth of roasted oxtails from grass-fed animals and topped with Barely Buzzed cheddar.
Best Restaurant in Salt Lake City:
1513 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-486-1300
The quality of great restaurants varies according to who is heading the kitchen, how well the team works together and how dedicated the servers are. Change one element and the experience can miss the peak. But despite a chef change once again–Logen Crew replaced Billy Sotelo a year or so ago–once again, this longtime Salt Lake favorite has reached a pinnacle. The kitchen’s charm matches the incomparably charming interior. Add to the deconstructed ravioli and pan roasted scallops with brown butter and whole grain mustard vinaigrette, the remarkably graceful service in a city where this is a rarity and you have this year’s best dining experience in Utah.
New Italian: Dungeness crab gnocchi with saffron braised fennel, capers and white wine.
Chef Briar Handley, Talisker on Main
Best Restaurant in Park City:
515 Main St., Park City, 435-658-5479
The main thing on Main.
John Murcko, executive chef at Talisker Canyons and the brain behind Talisker on Main, helped Bill White invent Park City as a dining destination. With his recent restaurants, especially TOM, he is reinventing it. Brian Handley is Murcko’s man at the stove here, and he has kept up the quality since Murcko moved on to other kitchens in the giant resort. The bright but elegant interior is still the stage for opening inventions like roasted corn soup with marconas as well as new creations like pan-roasted pork with fava beans, guanciale and Banyuls vinaigrette. Plus, now renowned pastry chef Mary Cech makes the desserts.
Taste Tester: Lobster hushpuppies with smoked paprika butter.
Chef Taylor Mason, Pizzeria 712
Best Restaurant in Central Utah:
320 S. State St. #185, Orem, 801-623-6712
This extraordinary little restaurant, the original from Provo’s Heirloom Group, continues to amaze with the quality of its food. With a limited menu, and this really is a pizza restaurant, the chef here manages to make you a meal as memorable as any five-course extravagance, proving the caliber of the kitchen talent, the ingredients and the versatility of this one dish.
So not a pizza: They call it “a little something,” and whether it’s seasonal roasted corn or French green lentils with pork belly and roasted carrots, it will be at least as good as your pizza.