While many restaurant owners in Park City rent out their space and high-tail it to the Caribbean during the craziness of Sundance, many others drink an extra espresso or two and dive head first into the Sundance craziness.
Here’s a list of Park City and Salt Lake City restaurants that will be open, as well as applicable specials.
Of all of the dining experiences available to residents along the Wasatch Front, dining at The Yurt at Solitude is among the most unique and memorable experiences out there. Let me try to paint a picture for you: upon arrival at Solitude, find your way to the ski rental shop, where you’ll meet your guide and strap on some snowshoes to get ready for your hike up to The Yurt. “Did I dress warm enough?” you wonder quietly to yourself, and perhaps out loud to others. Once the sun goes down in the mountains, things cool off very quickly. Your guides will equip you with a headlamp, and off you go to begin your journey. If you’re not the “hiking type,” don’t worry—if you can walk around a park, you’ll be just fine. No man left behind. Unless you’re going to make me late for dinner. Then all bets are off. It’s a short half mile hike up to the yurt, which is a large tent with origins in Mongolia. Upon arrival, snowshoes are removed, and you enter the yurt, which seats up to 26 guests. A small staff of servers, including one who looks remarkably like Chris Pratt and has similar comedy chops, greets you and helps you find your seat, as well as the appropriate libations. The room is cozy and warm, with help from the cast iron wood-burning stove.
There is no electricity in the yurt. Propane lamps light the room, and everything is cooked on the wood-fired stove. It is cozy. Comfortable. Intimate. Chef Craig Gerome is the chef. I have been a fan of Gerome’s work since his time at the Annex in Sugarhouse (RIP). His balance of flavors is always on point, and his work with seafood is masterful.
Our menu consisted of:
Salad: chicory salad with whipped Bellwether Farms ricotta, pine nuts, tarragon, and Pecorino Toscano.
Soup: pacific Bay chowder, diver scallops, and sourdough.
Entreé: smoked beef short rib with potato fondant, charred carrots, and turnips.
Dessert: milk and honey panna cotta with huckleberries and white chocolate crunch.
For those looking to really make an impression–whether it be a first date, corporate dinner, anniversary, or just a special evening–a dinner at The Yurt at Solitude is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
“Memorable,” “unique,” and “adventurous” are words that could be used to describe this experience. But I think I’ll just stick with “delicious.”
The Yurt is available Wednesday through Sunday during the winter season. Guests 13 years of age and older are invited. Parties of 1 to 26 are welcome. A four-course dinner, snowshoe guide, tax, and corkage are included in the price, with wine and beer available for purchase.
Check out some of the dining options around SLC and Park City to ring in the new year.
Oasis Cafe will greet revelers this New Year’s Eve with a special four-course prix fixe menufrom 5 p.m. Chef de Cuisine Efren Benitez’s creative menu includes starter options of ahi tartare or soy-sauce-infused tofu. Second course options of heritage mixed green salad with smoked bacon and a silky shrimp bisque tempt diners, while entrée selections of lobster bucatini, pan-seared filet mignon, honey chipotle glazed chicken breast and curried wild mushroom couscous round out the meal.
Diners can cap off their New Year’s Eve meal with a choice of espresso chai cheesecake, poached saffron pear with ginger gelato or a delicate pineapple upside down cake. Cost is $50 not including suggested wine pairings, alcoholic beverages, tax or gratuity.
Brunch will be served on New Year’s Eve from 8 a.m. – 2:30 and lunch will be served prior to 5 p.m. Reservations are highly suggested and can be made by calling 801-322-0404 or visiting www.OasisCafeSLC.com. Oasis Cafe is located at 151 South 500 East in downtown Salt Lake City.
New Year’s Daybrunch at Oasis Cafe is also a favorite with locals. It’s loaded with traditional breakfast dishes, soups, salads and sandwiches. Brunch is ala carte and will be served from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with lunch served from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
Oasis Café will only be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Christmas Eve serving the regular brunch menu and then will be closed in the evening and on Christmas Day to allow their employees to enjoy the holidays with their families.
George (Formerly Finca)
Current Fish & Oyster
Chef Alan Brines and his culinary team are excited for Current Fish & Oyster’s New Year’s Eve celebration. His four-course menu is available from 4 until 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. Diners choose one selection from each course. First course options include a trio of oysters, crab cake, wagyu beef tartare or local burrata. Second course selections include an apple and barley salad, silky crab bisque, a house salad or Current’s famous clam chowder. For the main course, diners can choose from Current’s signature branzino, black cod, pan roasted sea scallops, Double R Ranch New York steak, Mary’s organic chicken or roasted cauliflower. Dessert options abound from pastry chef Amber Billingsley: orange semolina cake, chocolate torte or her famous gelato and sorbet selections. Wine selections by Mike Fayad will be presented tableside.
The cost per person for the four-course dinner is $75 and does not include beverages, tax and gratuity. “We are excited to ring in the New Year with our guests,” said General Manager Ryan Mickelson “This is a great opportunity to introduce some special menu offerings, guest favorites and some terrific wines that pair perfectly. We also want to thank everyone for a terrific year.”
Current Fish & Oyster will be open Christmas Eve for lunch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and dinner from 4 until 8 p.m., serving the regular dinner menu plus some specials. Current will be closed on Christmas Day to allow their employees to enjoy the holidays with their families. Current will be open on New Year’s Day for dinner starting at 4 p.m.
Stanza Italian Bistro
Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar’s celebrated chef Jonathan LeBlanc is proud to present a special four-course dinner on New Year’s Eve to be served from 5 until 10 p.m. The cost is $70 per person and does not include alcoholic beverages, tax or gratuity. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 801-746-4441, firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.stanzaslc.com. Stanza is located at 454 East, 300 South in Salt Lake.
Stanza will be open for Christmas Eve lunch and dinner, closed on Christmas Day and open for dinner only on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. They will be closed on New Year’s Day to allow their employees to be with their families.
Stanza’s New Year’s Eve menu includes an amuse bouche of Alaskan halibut pâté. Starter selections include a silky Australian Lobster bisque, lump crab and heirloom tomato, veal and prosciutto polpette or winter burrata. Main course entrée and pasta selections include a dry-aged New York strip, red crab agnolotti, Snake River Farms porchetta, quail bucatini, or scallops.
Desserts by Salt Lake’s favorite pastry chef Amber Billingsley include a Meyer lemon panna elderflower panna cotta, pecan pie cannoli or raspberry semifreddo. General Manager Keith Foust’s knowledgeable service staff will guide diners through the best wine and craft cocktail pairings for each course.
Oak Wood Fire Kitchen
Café Niche on 300 South will be hosting a special four-course New Year’s Eve dinner celebration from 5 until 10 p.m. Chef Andy Morrison’s menu includes: a “first bite” of her famous sour cream and onion deviled egg; second course choices of cheesy cauliflower soup or roasted asparagus with lemon and local Romano; an intermezzo of seasonal granita; entrée selections of scallops and grits, pomegranate braised lamb shanks, pretzel-crusted chicken, horseradish flank steak or wild mushroom mac and cheese. For dessert, diners can choose between a chocolate peanut butter Bundt cake or Luxardo cherries jubilee cheesecake.
Cost per person is $55 and does not include beverages, tax or gratuity. Wine pairings will be offered tableside. Reservations are a must and can be made by calling 801-433-3380 or by visiting www.caffeniche.com.
Holiday Hours: Café Niche will open on Christmas Eve for brunch from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. serving the regular menu and closed for dinner. They will be closed on Christmas Day all day to allow their employees to spend time with their families.
New Year’s Eve open for dinner only from 5 until 10 p.m. On New Year’s Day, Niche will be open for brunch from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., closed for dinner, and will be open again for regular business on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2018.
NewYear’s Eve is no exception when it comes to Table X’s commitment to serving sophisticated, modern cuisine with seasonal ingredients. Recently recognized by Salt Lake City Weekly for creating some of the city’s most innovative cuisine, the restaurant’s three chef-owners are collaborating on a special tasting menu to wow their guests’ culinary senses. The December 31 celebration features a seven-course tasting menu for $85/person (wine pairing – $35/person; non-alcoholic beverage pairing – $20/person). It will include Hudson Valley Foie Gras with blueberries preserved from the Table X Garden and Morgan Valley Lamb with sun chokes. The restaurant is now accepting reservations at www.tablexrestaurant.com or call 385.528.3712.
“We love helping our guests welcome the NewYear with our cutting-edge, artfully presented cuisine,” says Nick Fahs, one of the chef-owners of Table X. “The evening is designed for those seeking a more elevated, sophisticated way to close out 2018 while appreciating our seasonal approach to dining and sampling new dishes in a stylish, modern setting.”
The seven-course tasting menu also features house made items such as burrata cheese and sourdough bread, Clifford Farm soft egg with fermented mushrooms and farro porridge, Pacific Stripped Bass, and Persimmon & Drakes Farm Goat Yogurt Parfait.
For those looking for a truly special NewYear’s Eve, Element is offering a four-course prix fixe prepared and served at home. Surf-and-turf with braised short ribs and lobster tail is the star attraction – with an option of shaved black truffle – plus diners’ choice from six appetizers that include seared tuna tataki or duck confit, a choice of Caesar or peppery green salad, and dessert of ugly fudge cake, Mexican chocolate mousse or orange vanilla sponge cake.
Escala Provisions Company Restaurant at Hyatt Centric Park City
Adults $100 per person, Children (6-11 years) $40
Children (5 years and under) $10
Prices do not include beverages, tax or gratuity
Specials at Fireside Dining for New Year’s Eve include a selection of salads and soups including the Little Gem Salad, House-Pickled Beets, Antipasto, Roasted Brussels, Sprout Panzanella Salad, Chickpea Soup and Lima Bean Stew. Dinner specials include Wild Boar Schnitzel with smoked hibiscus jam, roasted gala and granny smith apples, Almond Flour Dusted Trout with sea beans and caramelized shallot thyme sauce, Veal and Wild Mushroom Stew with crimini, hen of the woods, shiitake, chanterelle and oyster mushrooms, accented with fresh rosemary and lemon, Hand Grated Rösti Potatoes with fresh thyme, housemade fresh herb cream, Fire Roasted Leg of Lamb with rosemary jus, Juniper Rubbed Prime Rib with roasted garlic béarnaise, fresh herb au jus, horseradish cream, Purple Potato Gnocchi with roasted thyme wild mushrooms, Seahive Cheddar and miso butter and Roasted Butternut Squash with fresh pomegranate seeds, sweet potatoes and baby kale.
The AAA Four-Diamond restaurant will be offering specials in addition to its regular à la carte menus, including selections such as Maine lobster, 22-ounce dry-aged bone-in ribeye, Maui Nui Axis venison, foie gras with burgundy winter truffles, and a selection of domestic and imported caviar with traditional accompaniments
NYE: 3-course prix fixe, $79.75 per guest
Park City’s beloved steakhouse is serving a sumptuous three-course dinner for NYE.
For New Year’s Eve, choose between the Caesar, wild rice and mushroom soup, or the salad bar, followed by surf-and-turf of herb-roasted striploin with a forest mushroom demi glace and Maine lobster tail. Dessert is a classic: chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.
$160 per person. Wine pairing available for an additional $65 per person
To celebrate the new year, enjoy Osetra Caviar with roasted corn flan and king crab, puffed sorghum and yuzu, Chestnut Soup with warm winter vegetable salad, wild mushroom spiced orange espuma, Char Sui Boa with Niman Ranch beef, black garlic-soy and radish baby bok choy. Selections also include Cassoulet with sucking pig, toulousian sausage, flageolet bean and roasted duck, Veal Chop with sweet potato risotto, picked peaches and verjus. The dessert is a Citrus Rum Baba with Valrhona white chocolate mousse and blood orange caramel champagne pomegranates. A vegetarian menu is also available.
Powder at Waldorf Astoria
New Year’s Eve: Five-course prix fixe, $95 per person
Powder’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration returns. The evening opens with caviar blini and oyster, followed by a choice of yellowfin tuna and scallop tartare or beets and goat cheese. Enjoy porcini mushroom consommé and a champagne intermezzo, then an entrée of either venison and veal loin or Chilean sea bass, followed by NewYear’s Surprise for dessert featuring Tahitian vanilla, fromage blanc and raspberries.
Adults $75 per person, Children (6 – 11 years) $30 per person
Children (5 years and under) complimentary
Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet will feature a special New Year’s Eve dinner offering appetizers such as Niman Ranch baby back ribs with cilantro glaze or housemade ancho and agave BBQ sauce, Niman Ranch braised beef short ribs with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, housemade brown sugar cured bacon, Littleneck Clams and PEI Mussels with white wine, garlic, tomato and housemade focaccia crostini, Beet Cured Aractic Char Crostini with horseradish cream cheese, crispy shallots and everything flavored baguette and Grilled Shrimp and Crispy Grit Cake with roasted tomato salad, Gold Creek Farms feta and mint and lemon chimichurri. Featured soups will include Carrot Ginger Bisque, Lobster and Fennel Chowder and Curried Cauliflower. Hot specialties offered will include Honey Soy Glazed Sablefish with ginger rice and orange ginger sauce, Pan Seared Sea Bass with tomato, eggplant, artichoke and caper ragout with crispy chickpeas, Crispy Skinned Ora King Salmon with pesto whipped potatoes and lemon compound butter, Lobster, Crab and Uni Risotto with roasted mushrooms, sweet peas and sherry vinegar, Sea Scallops seared to order with truffle crème fraiche and black garlic aioli and Ahi Tuna seared to your taste. A selection of desserts will also be included in the evening’s special menu.
My mom has been a candymaker for longer than I’ve been alive, learning the tricks and techniques from my grandmother. When I was young, she and my grandma Atkinson wrote a cookbook, Candymaking. It’s long been out of print, but it’s fun when I hear people who still refer to this cookbook on a regular basis. Growing up, I was surrounded with caramels, fudge, chocolates, and truffles. But my favorite was always a sweet treat called penouche.
The best way I can describe penouche is that it would be the love child of caramel and fudge. It has that thick, creamy texture of fudge, along with the sweet, caramel notes of a rich caramel.
For our neighbor gifts this year we decided to whip up some penouche, and I thought I’d share the recipe from my mom’s book.
2 C whipping cream
1 T light corn syrup
2 C granulated sugar
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
3 T butter
1/2 C white compound coating or white chocolate chips
1.5 C pecans, toasted and chopped (if desired)
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap; set aside. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, and sugars. Place over medium high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. If sugar crystals are presents on the edges of the saucepan, wash down the sides with a wet pastry brush.
Clip on candy thermometer (if you don’t have a candy thermometer, use another highly accurate thermometer like a Thermapen (not sponsored–I just really like their stuff. But if you’re reading this, Thermapen, holla). Cook, stirring occasionally, to 236F (229F along the Wasatch Front due to our higher elevation/lower boiling point). Remove from heat. Without stirring, add butter. Let stand until thermometer cools to 210F. Without stirring, add compound coating. Let stand 1 minute. Remove thermometer. Add nuts and stir with a wooden spoon until white chocolate is melted and butter is fully incorporated. Candy should be thick and creamy. Scrape into prepared pan. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 64 pieces.
While cooking, the penouche will stall right around the boiling point for several minutes while the water boils out. After that, it climbs quickly to 229F, so keep a close eye on it and don’t walk away. While stirring, stir gently to avoid having the sugar accumulate on the edge of the pan, otherwise the penouche will crystallize and lose its smooth, creamy texture.
Two new restaurants are making their debut this season in the Park City area, and an impressive new gingerbread display has been erected at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. Read on to find out more.
Hearth and Hill
Hearth and Hill, a 192 seat upscale casual restaurant will open its doors on December 16th. Brooks Kirchheimer, the former manager of Daly’s Pub at Montage Deer Valley and Sundance’s Zoom restaurant, is the proprieter, with Mia Yue (formerly of Firewood and High West) as the GM. Chef de Cuisine is Adam Walker (formerly of Handle and Yuki Yama). The restaurant is located in Kimball Junction and will offer an eclectic selection of food, such as a daily gyoza selection, hamachi crudo, seasonal soups of the day, ramen, burgers, Korean fried chicken, Utah trout, and filet mignon. Sounds intriguing!
The restaurant has a full bar, a large patio, and a 36-seat private dining room. The restaurant will be open year-round for lunch and dinner, and offers takeout.
1153 Center Drive, Newpark Retail Center (between Jupiter Bowl and Best Buy). More information at www.hearth-hill.com
RIME Raw Bar
Matt Harris, chef/owner of Tupelo Park City, is opening RIME Raw Bar, the world’s first ski in/ski out seafood and raw bar. RIME opens December 20th, and will offer an oyster happy hour ($2.50 oysters from 2-3pm). The menu includes ahi tartare, chowder, crudo plates, chopped salad, lobster rolls, French dips, tacos, and more, along with a selection of various beers, sparkling wines, reds, and whites.
With a tagline of “Where Powder Meets Chowder,” it’s already off to a great start in my book.
RIME is located at the top of the Jordanelle gondola, and is open Thursday through Sunday, 11am – 3pm.
Viking Gingerbread Display at the Stein Eriksen Lodge
The incredible pastry chef team at Stein, led by Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Garcia and Corporate Chef Zan Holmquist, have done it again, creating a huge Viking ship made out of gingerbread. The ship features a 13-foot candy cane mast, and 8-foot dragon figure, and 9 feet of gingerbread stretching from bow to stern on each side.
The ship features hundreds of pounds of fresh-baked gingerbread, fondant, cookies, and candy.
“Our annual gingerbread display is one of my favorite ways to impress our guests during the holiday season,” said Jeremy Garcia, Executive Pastry Chef at Stein Eriksen Lodge. “The level of creativity and passion for such an enormous display – entirely constructed of pastries – is a testament to our team’s dedication to ensure the holidays spent at Stein Eriksen Lodge are an unforgettable experience.”
The display is located in the Mountain Lodge at Stein Eriksen. For more information, see their website.
You’d be hard pressed to find higher quality dining at any ski resort in the country than the culinary selections at Deer Valley. Not only does their food blow away most other resorts’ offerings, they also compete with some of the state’s best restaurants, period. Don’t believe me? Their contemporary cuisine restaurant, Mariposa, was recently named by Zagat as Utah’s best restaurant. Not best ski resort restaurant. Best restaurant. From coffee and baked goods at Deer Valley Grocery Café, fresh sustainably-sourced seafood at the Seafood Buffet, brick oven cuisine at The Brass Tag, or their AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Goldener Hirsch, Deer Valley always sets themselves apart from the rest of the ski world with their culinary offerings.
The resort recently rolled out their new winter menu for the upcoming ski season, and I was able to attend a media tasting event to check out their new offerings. Although the famous chili and incredible baked goods will of course remain on the menu, a variety of locally-sourced and environmentally-conscious ingredients have found their way on the various menus across the resort.
See the photos below to get a small glimpse of the resort’s newest offerings. Not shown are the Silver Star Farms wagyu short ribs, with fall squash, Matsutake mushrooms, celeriac, burgundy truffles, and truffle-soy jus from Goldener Hirsch. It was the best plate of the night.
tupelo Park City, historic Main Street’s home for inspired fine dining, invites guests to an exclusive wine dinner featuring Ridge Vineyards. These single-vineyard wines hailing from California’s Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties will be paired with four handcrafted courses from tupelo’s kitchen on Wednesday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m.
“Ridge Vineyards produces some of the best wines in Northern California, and we know the palates here in Park City will thoroughly enjoy them,” said tupelo Park City Chef & Owner Matt Harris. “Our menu is focused on the season, and we look forward to pairing some of our autumn harvest with the vineyard’s exceptional varietals.”
Chef Harris and his team will prepare four courses and close with a decadent dessert course, each to complement a thoughtfully selected Ridge Vineyards wine. The full menu includes:
To learn more about the Ridge Vineyards Wine Dinner at tupelo, contact Christa Graff with Graff Public Relations, LLC, at 435.640.7921 or email@example.com. Additional information, hours of operations and reservations are available at tupeloparkcity.com.
Guys, I know I’m way late to this one. There’s only like three days left. But if you haven’t checked out a Dine O’Round restaurant yet, I’d highly suggest it. It’s a great way to check out a new restaurant and get a sense for their offerings without necessarily breaking the bank. See the press release below.
DOWNTOWN DINE O’ROUND SEPTEMBER 28 – OCTOBER 14
Downtown’s Best Restaurants Offer Specially Crafted Three-Course Dinner Menus or Two-Item Lunches.
Salt Lake City (September 21, 2018) – Featuring the top downtown Salt Lake City restaurants, the 16th annual Downtown Dine O’ Round, presented by Nicholas & Company, begins Friday, Sept. 28 and runs through Sunday, Oct 14, 2018. Diners can sample two-item lunches for $5 or $10 or three-item dinners for $15, $25 or $35 during a two-week span that includes three full weekends.
Dine O’Round attendees may choose a three-course dinner for either $15, $25 or $35, depending on the cost of typical entrees. Sampling three selections at such a significant discount allows people to experience a wider selection of tastes than sampling a single dish. Some restaurants will choose to put one of their guest favorites on the Dine O’Round menu, while others may change their Dine O’Round menu daily or weekly.
Options range from gourmet – think Current, Finca, Copper Onion, Stanza – to more casual options. The unique concept of Dine O’Round is designed to attract new diners to restaurants they have yet to experience or to re-visit old favorites. Newcomers this year include The Daily, London Belle, Argentinas Best Empanadas and Copper Canyon.
Diners are also offered the opportunity to “win dinner for a year” via a photo contest. Because diners are fond of posting photos to the social media network Instagram, restaurant-goers can upload photos from their Dine O’Round experience and enter by using the hashtag #DineORound and tagging @downtownslc on Instagram to be automatically entered to win.
The Alliance coordinates this event each fall to bring new people downtown, as well as encourage downtown residents and office workers to explore what the city has to offer. “Downtown Salt Lake City truly punches above of its weight class when it comes to food and culture,” said Dee Brewer, executive director for the Downtown Alliance. “Our fantastic restaurateur partners have elevated Salt Lake City’s brand as a culinary hotspot with quality dining options, culinary talent and varied ethnic cuisines.”
The lunch crowd is not forgotten during Dine O’Round, as nearly half of these top-notch dining establishments offer a wide array of two-item meals for either $5 or $10. Adding lunch to the mix gives workers downtown, who often may not often venture beyond their block or building, a good reason to sample the wide range of delectable culinary options downtown.
For the second year in a row, Dine O’Round will also feature the Chef Showdown on Oct. 10. This three-course cooking challenge pits two of Dine O’Round’s top chefs against each other and features a panel of local food critics. The chefs will use special ingredients from the Downtown Farmer’s Market and offer two signature cocktails. Attendees can bid on plates with proceeds benefiting local charity.
Restaurant-goers do not need to sign up for anything, carry any cards or clip coupons. All they need to do is ask for the Dine O’Round menu from their server. However, they are certainly not limited to just the special menu: diners are welcome to add on additional appetizers or drinks to further sample additional flavors.
Dine O’ Round is made possible with strategic partnerships and corporate sponsorships with Nicholas & Company, City Weekly/Devour, OpenTable, City Creek Center and Salt Lake Chamber.
I’m a simple man that enjoys simple pleasures. Near the top of that list is a fried chicken sandwich. Confession time: I enjoy chicken sandwiches in all of their forms. Elementary school mystery patty smashed between two slices of Wonder Bread? Sign me up. Spicy Chicken from Wendy’s? I’m already there. The classic chicken sandwich from Chick fil-A? They’ve had to serve me eviction notices before.
There’s been somewhat of a resurgence of fried chicken and its many variations recently in SLC. Viet Pham opened Prettybird, an homage of the various Nashville hot chicken shops. Justin Soelberg, formerly of Avenues Proper, opened Nomad Eatery in an off-the-beaten path location near the Salt Lake airport. And Scott Evans, of Pago, Finca, and Hub and Spoke, is opening a new restaurant in the 9th and 9th neighborhood named The Birdhouse, serving (you guessed it): prime rib. Just kidding. Chicken.
So chicken’s the new hotness in town. And while Prettybird does nothing but chicken, the fried chicken at Nomad is just one of various menu items. So, loyal readers, as your humble servant I took it upon myself to visit both locations and try their respective versions of the fried chicken sandwich, and I’d like to report back on how it went.
Short version: it went very, very well.
Long version: keep reading.
Let’s start with Prettybird. Prettybird benefits from being founded by local celebrity chef (and Iron Chef winner) Viet Pham, formerly of Forage. This guy knows food. It is fun seeing Chef Pham transition from “fine dining” at Forage to the somewhat lowbrow concept of a fried chicken shop. But there’s nothing lowbrow about Prettybird. The tiny shop on Regent Street is clad in all-white, lending an aura of cleanliness and levity. What the place lacks in interior seating it makes up for an even greater lack of exterior seating: the patio had two small tables that fit 4-6 people total. Everything you’ve heard about the long lines and depressing lack of seating is true. A victim of their own success I guess. Get there early and plan to take your food to-go.
Nomad is such a bizarre location, located near the Jet-N-Go or whatever the name of the airport parking lot is. But you know what? It works. There’s certainly an underserved market of workers near the airport, and it’s a close enough drive from downtown that makes it worth the journey. And what it lacks in a convenient location to downtown, it makes up for in a trendy, upbeat interior. And did I mention it’s big enough that paying customers can sit down and enjoy their food? What a concept.
So Prettybird wins in the “walking distance in downtown” category, and Nomad wins in the “you pay $11 for a sandwich, you should be able to sit down and enjoy it” category. I give the nod to Nomad because of all of the pleasures available in life, sitting is right up near the top.
On to the most important part: the chicken. Both locations offer super tender, moist chicken thighs as their base. Both versions are brined and breaded in their own spice blend, then fried. I don’t know if this is going to make any sense, but it does in my head, so here goes: Prettybird’s chicken is more crunchy, and Nomad’s is more shatteringly crispy. I really liked both, but preferred the crispyness of Nomad’s version. But you can’t go wrong with either, as they are both mind-numbingly excellent.
Prettybird’s version is topped with house-made pickles, cider slaw, and their Prettybird sauce. You can get it seasoned with your heat preference: everything from mild all of the way up to a version that will make you regret it the next day. Nomad’s sandwich is topped with mayo, shredded lettuce and zucchini pickles, and comes with a hot buffalo sauce, either smothered on the chicken or on the side. For those of you who prefer your food more on the mild side, like myself, I highly recommend getting it on the side.
Chicken winner: Nomad
There’s really not too much to this one. Nomad’s is a bit crustier and drier, while Prettybird’s is fluffier. Both have great chew and are strong enough to stand up to the massive chicken and toppings inside. But I like fluffy.
Hot Buns Contest winner: Prettybird
Sides are offered a la carte at both locations. At Prettybird you have a choice of cider slaw, a seasonal offering, and crinkle cut fries. I went with the fries, since the sandwich already comes with the slaw as a topping. Crinkle cut fries never cease to disappoint, no matter where I try them. I’m sure Prettybird puts a lot of effort into their fries, but whenever I have crinkle cuts I can never quite get over the bad nostalgia associated with sad, soggy elementary school crinkle cuts. Just say no to crinkle cuts. They just aren’t good.
Nomad offers a variety of sides, including wings, falafel croquettes, pickled and roasted beets, house-made salt and vinegar chips, and fries. I opted for the fries, which were well cooked and cut and fried fresh. I think next time I’ll check out the salt and vinegar chips.
Fry winner: Nomad.
In my not-so-scientific analysis, Nomad wins three of the four categories (although location could go either way depending on your dining preferences).
But look, you can’t go wrong with either of these spots, and they have quickly risen to two of my favorite spots to grab a bite in the city. I will happily recommend each, with a couple caveats. Prettybird: get ready for a line, sometimes they run out, and you have a 50% chance of getting a seat. If you’re with a group of 4 or more, forget about it. Nomad: it’s just a bizarre location, that’s all. But it works. If you’re looking for some super spicy, delicious chicken and aren’t with a larger group, I’d say go with Prettybird. If you’re with a group that may prefer a bit more menu options, go with Nomad. But like I said above, go to both. Make a day of it. Because they’re both fantastic and I’m so glad to see them doing well.
Park City Culinary Institute’s Salt Lake location is hosting seasonal chef demonstrations and tasting dinners throughout the summer. Chef Jordan Miller, recently invited to cook at the James Beard Foundation, developed a tasting menu that showcased some of the very best that Utah has to offer: raw milk butter from West Jordan, local trout, pine nuts, pepperweed, dandelion, and Morgan Valley lamb.