Food doesn’t have to be beautiful, I reminded myself. I had ordered the fresh coriander noodles at SLC Eatery, the new restaurant from chefs Logen Crew and Paul Chamberlain. It sounded beautiful—braised lamb shoulder with peanuts, bok choy and a fermented black bean sauce. It looked awful—brown meat shreds on OD green ribbons of pasta. I closed my eyes. I took a bite. It was beautiful again—an amazingly acute balance of flavors and textures.
Chef Logen Crew has been a quiet but unmistakably major talent in Utah kitchens for a long time—at the now-closed and much-lamented Fresco, at a series of Trios, at Log Haven, at Current Fish & Oyster. He now has a restaurant of his own, where he can push the inventiveness once latent when he worked for another person’s vision. Try agnolotti with blue prawn and mushrooms, the pasta texture eliding with the shrimp filling; at the table a server pours a clear brown stream of bacon consomme over the pasta. Or tender calamari, the white rings tossed with mushrooms in a cilantro aioli spiked with Tajin and jalapeno and garnished with cubes of fried rice—a tour de force of textures that you don’t appreciate until after the first chew. Other entrees we tried were equally mysterious and delightful: slices of rare smoked beef with Brussels sprouts and black garlic over…grits? There are more—lots of of Asian influence from Korean-American co-owner Paul Chamberlain. Then there’s The Cart: A dim sum cart holding the day’s small plates is rolled around the tables throughout the meal. Choose what you want—each tiny bite is an explosion of flavor.
The warm chocolate mousse surprised with Fernet-infused marshmallows, the classic bitter balancing the squishy sweet confection. SLC Eatery should bag these and sell them. The point of the new place is to “offer an adventure.” says Crew. “In some restaurants, if you change anything, even a salad, customers revolt. We want to change the menu as we feel inspired. But people do develop favorites.” He encourages you to call ahead if you want something you loved. Like the coriander noodles.
1017 S. Main St., SLC, slceatery.com, 801-355-7952