First Bite: Adelaide at Le Meridien

Set kitty-corner from the Vivint arena, Le Meridien is Salt Lake City’s most recent lux hotel to join the west Downtown area. Their ground-level signature restaurant is Adelaide, which has an airy, modern feel with lots of white brick and warm wood. The big windows that look over a pedestrian area make for great people-watching. The bar is a sophisticated spot to belly up before a game. And I’m confident it will be a power business lunch spot in no time. I spoke to Executive Chef Jacqueline Siao before opening and snuck in for dinner on a Monday night. 

Billing itself as an urban brasserie, Adelaide showcases Chef Jacqueline’s love for travel, art, and playing around with flavors and colors. “I come from a French culinary school background,” says Chef Jacqueline. “And I’m about quality ingredients, well executed, but still simple. You don’t have to have too many ingredients in a dish to make it great. I think if you execute it well, you can have a better quality simple grilled chicken than if there are twenty ingredients in a chicken dish. Simplicity always goes a long way.” On the menu, you’ll see influences from New Orleans, the West Indies, classic French, and even French Canadian cuisines. 

Dungeness crab cake croquettes. Photo by Lydia Martinez

You’ll find beautifully simple but perfectly executed hotelier restaurant-style dishes on the menu here at Adelaide – classics like a caesar salad, but with the twist of a bagna cauda vinaigrette and truffle cheddar. Or a New York strip, but with a green peppercorn demi and blistered shallots.

For the “petite” shared plates, we tried the tuna crudo and the Dungeness crab cake croquette. The tuna was, of course, delicious, but the vinaigrette was mild, almost too much so. The shaved Fresno chilies with the crudo gave a hint of heat that was much needed. The crab cake croquette arrived sitting on top of a maque choux, a NOLA-style recipe made with corn and red peppers sauteed in bacon fat with classic Cajun seasonings. That and the malt vinegar aioli made the dish. I almost asked for more of the aioli – it was that good. 

Out of the small plates, Chef Jacqueline recommends the honey-roasted squash, saying, “it’s roasted with a little bit of a chipotle sriracha glaze, and then it’s finished off with pistachio crumbs and black sesame, which results in all these textures. It’s something you could share, but you might just end up eating most of it yourself.”

For the entree, I chose the shrimp and grits. Because if shrimp and grits are on the menu, I will always get them. The grits were made with Beehive cheddar, a Utah local fave. And the shrimp were deep fried, perfectly crisp without being overcooked, and delicious “because I always think that fried shrimp is the best,” explained Chef. Amen. My only slight gripe was that the grits arrived at the table lukewarm. However, etouffee and garlicky greens were spot on. 

We also got the lacquered short ribs, which were the hit of the evening. They were fall-apart tender, and the whiskey glaze was sweet without being cloying. I had to look up the sauce, a soubise. Serious Eats informed me that it is “an old-school French sauce made mostly from onions, isn’t all too common these days, but it should be.” It is made by blanching onions before sauteeing them so that the sugars are rinsed off. The onions stay white and go translucent instead of caramelizing. I’ll second Serious Eats here and confirm. It should be more common. 

Adelaide’s kitchen has a specialized wood fire oven. “We have a section of the menu that is really based around the oven,” Chef Jacqueline said. “We have a heritage chicken cooked in a wood fire oven that reaches 600 to 1000 degrees. We cook it there with bourbon, potatoes, sofrito, and braised greens. It almost feels like a home-cooked meal. Except you can’t get that effect in a home cook oven.” The whole branzino, NY strip, and bison sirloin all get a kiss from the flames. 

Chocolate cremaux. Photo by Lydia Martinez

We couldn’t decide between the chocolate cremaux and the tiramisu for dessert. So we got both. The tiramisu was classic and precisely what you would want in the creamy, chocolatey, espresso-y department. The cremaux was extra. Made by mixing crème anglaise and chocolate, this dessert was chilled and served with peanut brittle, a peanut chocolate sauce. To ensure it wasn’t over the top sweet, freeze-dried raspberries added a pop of color and some tartness. It was the perfect wrap-up. 

131 S. 300 West (Located in Le Meridian Hotel), (801) 839-7878


Looking for another Downtown dining spot? Check out the recently opened Urban Hill.

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Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinezhttp://www.saltlakemgazine.com
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to lydia@saltlakemagazine.com

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