Thursday, June 4, 2020

Home Eat & Drink First Taste: Franck's Angel

First Taste: Franck's Angel

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 One of the first truly impressive new restaurants I ate at in Salt Lake City when I first moved here was Franck’s. I loved everything about it except the closed-circuit TV screens showing the diners what the kitchen was up to—Chef Franck Peissel’s food was rooted in French experience but American in its irreverence. He dared to put plebian dishes like meat loaf and fried chicken on an haute menu in a stylish setting and the result was unlike anything in SLC.

 

But every restaurant’s peaks come and go—rare is the establishment that can sustain excellence over years. So Franck’s slipped, and Franck himself left.

Now he’s back in his own kitchen again at Franck’s Angel. The place, a plain cafe in Cottonwood Heights, is humble, with little charm and none of the cheeky style of Franck’s former place. But our lunch there today was good, and in some ways, excellent. The menu is tiny—breakfast all day, a couple of specials and brief lists of salads and sandwiches. Plus a pastry case packed with tarts, croissants and other treats. I can’t wait to go back for breakfast, but today we wanted lunch, so I ordered a special—the pot roast French dip—and he ordered a meatloaf sandwich. First, though, we had to try the peculiar sounding parmesan crème brulee salad. I was assuming this was going to be one of those finger-quotation-mark dishes—in other wordds, not crème, not brule, probably not really a salad. But I was wrong. Three rectangles of yellow custard with glazed crusts rested on a pool of basil crème next to a tangled pile of mixed greens garnished with sliced strawberries.

 

Ah yes, that’s Franck all right. Odd, but delectable.

The quivering custard had a touch of sweet and not only from the hard sugar top but it elided with the naturally nutty taste of the cheese and with the crisp green salad made a perfect bite. The effect was a big like a solid soup and salad. We remembered Franck’s meat loaf from the old days—the recipe was more like a crab cake made with shredded beef than anything mom made. The version between the bread today had too much filler, bread crumbs, to contrast with the bread properly, and the flavor was a bit bland, even with the red cabbage topping. But the pot roast sandwich was delicious—a thick layer of tender braised beef shreds sandwiched in a crisp roll topped with skinny fried onion strings. And the fries that came with the sandwich were possibly the best I’ve ever had.

 

Well, in recent memory.

We took home treats from the pastry case for dessert, then Franck offered us some of his famous chocolates, available by order. Exquisite shapes and colors, filled with green tea, coconut, caramel pecan, lemon-lime and other exotica, these are made in Franck’s fun time, after the cafe is closed.

From downtown, lunch at Franck’s was an excursion, but on weekends, the line is out the door and when ski season really hits, the cafe’s proximity to the powder will make it a hot ticket. Welcome back, M. Peissel.  Can’t wait until you open for dinner.

Franck’s Angel, 2577 E. Bengal Boulevard, Cottonwood Heights, Utah. (801) 542-0797

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