America's tastes have changed and Utah chefs are right at the forefront.
Not that long ago, we were basic—dinner was a hunk of protein sided with a starch, a green veg and a yellow veg. But life and dining are at once simpler and more complicated now. Simpler because we're eating more foods closer to their source. Complicated because we've incorporated all kinds of techniques, ingredients and flavors from other cultures. Simpler because we understand that we can break old rules with impunity. More complicated because food has become a political issue.
Look at the food made by this year's Dining Awards winners: sunchokes, rabbit, currants, exotic mushrooms, whole fish. The only beef showing is marrow; the only red meat is lamb. In the land of the beef and the home of the burger, vegetables rule.
The chef's palette has expanded with his palate. Chefs are paying attention to table settings as well as what is on the plate, recognizing that dining is a multi-sensory experience, that the texture of a plate and the heft of a spoon should complement the food.
The new New American cuisine strives to impress with its honesty, not its glamour. Lucky for us, that's been a Utah value all along.
2017 Readers' Choice Winners
Best Restaurant—Salt Lake City: HSL
Best Restaurant—Park City: Handle
Best Restaurant—Provo: Communal
Best Restaurant—Moab & Southeast Utah: Hell's Backbone Grill
Best Restaurant—St. George & Southwest Utah: Painted Pony
Best Restaurant—Ogden and Northern Utah: Tona Sushi
Best Restaurant in Utah: Hell's Backbone Grill
Best Restaurant Discovery: Vessel Kitchen
Best Indian Restaurant: Bombay House
Best Chinese Restaurant: Mandarin
Best Mexican Restaurant: Red Iguana
Best Southeast Asian Restaurant: Oh Mai
Best Japanese Restaurant: Takashi
Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Mazza Cafe
Best Quick Eats: Even Stevens
Best Lunch: Plates & Palates
Best Breakfast: Ruth's Diner
Best Comfort Food:Hub & Spoke Diner