Food Crush: Ube Ice Cream at Mint Tapas and Sushi

In case you missed the Food Crush series, I talk about individual dishes I love. Ones worth making that special trip. They are unique, or the perfect version of a classic, or just so damn good that they live in my brain and pop up with regularity. Like a crush, I can’t quite get the dish off my mind.

Since summer is rounding the corner, ice cream season is here. As a good Utahn, I love my ice cream. But I am particular. I don’t like ice cream that is too sweet or vanilla-y, and I want a rich coating, which means higher than average milk-fat content. Bonus points if the flavor wows. Mint Tapas and Sushi’s Ube Ice Cream had every wow factor when I was in for dinner a couple of months ago. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I visited the newest location in Sugar House, and I can’t wait to return when the garage doors open onto the patio for people-watching season. 

Ube, for those uninitiated, is a type of purple yam from the Philippines that spread from Southeast Asia across to Hawaii, cultivated in South America, and leaped into our collective culinary consciousness recently as an ingredient that lends an Instagramable vibrant purple color to any food. But aside from the natural bright color, ube is subtly flavorful when used by a practiced hand. It tastes like a pistachio and carrot had a white chocolate-scented baby. While the color is vibrant, the flavor is mildly sweet, so it is lost in many desserts under bolder flavors and too many sprinkles. Chef Soy at Mint Tapas and Sushi has just the light hand to make the perfect Ube Ice Cream. 

The Ube Ice Cream at Mint’s is exceptionally creamy, to the point of being more of a gelato in mouthfeel than a hard-pack ice cream. It may also result from the natural starchiness of the ube. It also has a hint of earthiness (after all, yams are a tuber) that balances out the sweetness. The ice cream was served in a martini-style glass with fresh berries and beautiful, wafer-thin slices of Asian pear, fanned out and translucent. The pear is the perfect crisp floral foil to the rich ice cream. 

We started with dessert here, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a few other favorites to precede the Ube Ice Cream—unless you want to go straight for dessert, which you know I won’t judge. Mint takes the shareable experience of sushi and layers on tapas-style dishes that are a mix of traditional and experiential, with Chef Soy’s unique voice showing through. So grab a group and do a lot of tasting. 

My favorite starter is the jalapeno hamachi. The jalapenos are in a light vinaigrette in the bottom of the bowl, so you can control the level of heat in each bite. The presentation is stunning, with the generous hamachi arranged as a rose.

Another favorite is the spicy tuna tartare. It comes on top of a crispy rice round, which is the perfect nutty foil for the soft, rich salmon. Some other small plates you should devour are the pork belly, the wagyu crostini, and the coconut shrimp.

As for the sushi, I’m a big fan of how unique the menu is. You will find rolls here that are not copy-and-paste from your standard sushi menu. One that stood out was the Galaxy lollipop, made with salmon, avocado, crab, and strawberries, wrapped in cucumber rather than nori. Ask your server to guide you when it comes to selecting your sushi. It will be hard to narrow it down.

But leave room for the Ube Ice Cream. And I recommend that you hoard it for yourself. 

If you go: 

Mint Tapas and Sushi with locations in Sandy, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, and Sugar House
mintsushiut.com
Reservations Recommended 


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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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