Kings Landing Bistro in Driftwood Lodge
A couple of years ago, I tried to give a dining award to Parallel 88 but it closed before I could get to it. Located in the Driftwood Lodge (almost at the end of the main drag in Springdale), a formerly outmoded mid-’50s hotel resuscitated by the vogue for mid-century modern style, the 88 did a beautiful job, serving fresh, seasonal ingredients in a beautiful setting with a view of the park’s iconic Watchman butte. The view is eternal, but Parallel 88 has been replaced by King’s Landing and an almost-overwhelmingly enthusiastic chef and waitstaff.
The beverage manager, who is also a server, and the chef came to Utah from Las Vegas and while technically that’s just a state away, the culinary distance between Sirio Maccione’s Le Cirque Bellagio to Springdale is enormous. This duo is trying to shorten it. There are surprises on the menu—distinctly un-Utah dishes raise eyebrows in our emphatically local food scene—but the kitchen knew how to handle a softshell crab, whatever its provenance, giving it a new crispy and golden exoskeleton made of crushed salt and vinegar chips to replace the moulted one. Sweet pea hummus provided a sweet, creamy and inventive contrast. Likewise, the octopus, given a nice char, was surprisingly topped with gremolata, the lemon zest garnish used for osso buco, while bison carpaccio was strewn with edamame as well as the traditional arugula and cheese.
The wine selection, according to our server, is still being assembled; in the meantime, we sipped a tropical-torpedo Matua Sauvignon Blanc with the briny appetizers and switched to a Kings Ridge Pinot Noir to accompany the special New York strip and the vegetable trio—goat cheese crostini with sweet pea hummus and mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes with reduced balsamic and a melange of potatoes, peppers, edamame and olives. Like most families these days, we eat all over the spectrum, from red meat to that most modern of concoctions, a quinoa salad, the grain tossed in a champagne vinaigrette with spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and feta.
1515 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale