I don’t know about you, but I get food crushes. Food that I fall in love with and actively crave. It is usually one particular dish that I will make a trip to a restaurant repeatedly to get. It is almost always some version of comfort food. It isn’t always a main dish. It can be a shared plate (that I won’t share) or a dessert. But it is a dish that brings me joy every time I get my hands on it. So I’m going to start writing about some of my local food crushes. And I hope to hear about some of yours.
Oh, how I love my carbs. And I’m a sucker for bread, especially. So when I ended up at The Gateway recently after an event, I stopped in at the somewhat new Italian Graffiti. I’d heard whispers of their bread board and had to check it out myself. The atmosphere is gaudy and over the top in florals and lights, and somehow feels retro and a bit Vegas, and a bit Grandmother’s kitschy backyard with a flash of glam. I know that sounds like a lot. And it is. But it still works.
On to the carbs! The bread is baked in-house, fresh every morning. When we were in, the selection ranged from a half baguette, an olive fougasse (a type of bread shaped into a leaf or wheat tare shape), rye sourdough, and sesame semolina rolls. Without question, we went for the fougasse. The better to tear into bits and devour. They regularly rotate their selections, so go by the menu instead of by me.
This girl can’t live on bread alone. Italian Graffiti dished up imported Normandy butter (slightly salted) and olive oil with our bread. But what really lands the Bread Board on the food crush list are the other “accompaniments.” You can get some chefs’ choice style options OR pick your own – 1 for $5, 2 for $9, or 3 for $13. We got the brothy and salty-savory pan drippings, the imported Iberico Lardo (exactly what it sounds like—pure decadent cured fat that tastes like pork butter), and the San Daniele Prosciutto, aged 18 months, and sliced paper thin. The pan drippings were au jus-esque and great for dunking, while the prosciutto and grassy olive oil made for a classic pairing.
The real hero was the tangy olive studded bread slathered in butter with a thin slice of lardo (aka fat on fat), which felt like a meal alone. Lardo sounds scary, but it is heaven cured. I gathered the magical combination that is fat on fat when I was out to lunch with a food journalist in Paris. She told me her 98-year-old father always had butter on his bread with his brie for the fat-on-fat effect. So, in an effort to live to 98, I’ve decided I’ll do the same. You should too.
Since we were walk-ins, we sat at the bar, and the bartender poured out glasses of cold sparkling rose right away, which was like drinking a glass of summer. I was tempted to go for another round of bread with the house-made burrata, whipped ricotta with local honey, and Mortadella (the real-deal bologna imported from Bologna). Next time.
Instead, I went for the bone marrow risotto – delivered with the sizzling bone and the marrow mixed in tableside. The portion was exceptionally generous, studded with local mushrooms, shaved black truffle, and fontina cheese. This is a very rich dish. And maybe because I was feeling a little lardo myself at this point, I did take half of it home, where it made a great midnight snack. Alas, there are no photos to share because I was halfway through before I remembered my job was to take pictures. So let that speak to just how good it was.
If You Go…
Italian Graffiti is located at the south end of The Gateway.
See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah.