Contemporary Utah cuisine
Twenty years is a long time if you’re a restaurant on Main Street in Park City. You could use a whole different measuring system, like old wives do with dog years. Or maybe refer to the age of a restaurant in months, like the parents of newborns do, a system that makes a year sound like an era. In that case, 350 Main is 240 months old.
The longtime chef who defined the cuisine at 350, Michael LeClerc, left the kitchen dog years ago and there have been a couple rogues in between, including Carl Feissinger. But now Matthew Safranek is in charge of 350’s food and he is bringing it into contemporary relevance. Current owner Cortney Johanson has worked at the restaurant since her stepfather opened it, starting as a busser when she was 14 years old.
Longevity seems to be a theme here (sommelier Cliff Long has worked at 350 for 18 years), a fact that speaks well for the place, Johanson says—and she’s right: “When a place has a history and regular customers, you can’t constantly destroy and rebuild.” You have to have some continuity. So Safranek creates seasonal menus that are a mix of dependables and inventions.
The old favorite, tuna tower with wasabi and avocado, is back on the appetizer menu (even the name sounds like the ‘80s), but shares space with a modern red quinoa cake dressed with tart cherry pesto and corn relish. My favorite first course, PEI mussels steamed with chorizo and served with foccacia toast, was a balance between old and new cuisine.
350 is still a serious restaurant, food-wise, as a dish of foie gras-stuffed ravioli served with a roasted duck leg ($22) proves, but it’s not stuffy. Trout comes with a country taste of black bean and ham-hock ragou and braised pork shank comes with sweet potatoes.
This is still a traditional menu in that most of the plates are protein-centric; you won’t find as many grains and greens combinations as you see on the cutting edge.
But I am seldom as intrigued by reading a menu as I was by Chef Safranek’s. The gluten-free fried chicken has become mildly and justly famous. Grilled duck breast comes with choucroute, ono is seasoned like pastrami, then grilled and served with buttermilk bread pudding, roasted California white bass comes with ricotta cavaletti…it all sounds good. Most unusual, and a good glimpse of the reaches of Chef Matt’s imagination, is the venison loin, seasoned with Chinese 5-spice and served in a bowl of pho with housemade noodles.
350 Main St., Park City, 435-649-3140