Utah’s Best Bites of 2019
”Nicole O. - Pro SifterDec 31, 2019
In 2019 we anonymously dined at nearly one-hundred local restaurants, new and old, up and down the state of Utah. These are the dishes that made us say, “wow! I want more!” Be prepared. It was too difficult to rank them. Happy eating and enjoy this list of some of Utah’s best bites!
Confit Chicken Pot Pie – $18 – Oquirrh, Salt Lake City
The pie is the star of Oquirrh’s menu. The crust had a great buttery and flaky texture. The chicken leg was tender and moist. Instead of just your traditional broth with carrots and celery, the sauce included white wine and mushrooms. The addition of these two ingredients brought a slightly bitter and umami flavor to the dish that really won me over.
Pork Shank – $30 – HSL, Salt Lake City
The pork shank packs a lot of flavor and is tender. Basted in a homemade Frank’s Red Hot sauce, the flavor comes from staples like cayenne pepper, garlic, and hints of vinegar. Despite this, the dish isn’t spicy. As my wife went to cut into the dish, it flaked right off of the bone. It comes with apple butter, whipped ranch, and mixed greens. The fresh apple slices and butter really helped to balance the flavor of the meat to create the perfect sweet and savory meal. Absolutely fantastic! One of the best pork dishes I’ve ever had.
Pepper Steak – $50 – The Tree Room- Sundance
This dish, from Robert Redford’s restaurant, was magnificent! The filet mignon was perfectly marbled and crusted with pepper. It was incredibly tender and cooked perfectly medium-well. A light mango chutney reduced the spiciness and added a sweet wow factor! Wilted spinach adds a hint of bitterness. The buttermilk mashed potatoes were extraordinarily creamy. Simple yet amazing!
Duck Breast – $24 – White Horse, Salt Lake City
The duck breast at White Horse is outstanding! The tart cherries and the sweet Beurre Rouge sauce added a playfulness to the dish. I had it cooked medium rare and it was cooked to perfection. So tender! The accompanying baby potatoes, cooked in duck fat, were moist with a nice crust. The broccolini portion was plentiful, something rarely seen with dishes like this. Hands down, the best duck I have ever eaten!
Caramel Pudding Cake – $$ – Aragosta, St. George
Fresh out of the oven, the dish was evenly warm, moist, and melted in your mouth. The caramel was a bit salty and the chocolate sweet. Combined with the cake they created a nice mocha flavor. This honestly might be the best dessert I’ve ever had. I would come back just for this alone. If you don’t see it on their menu, ask for it. You won’t want to miss it!
Street Corn – $4.95 – Birdhouse, Salt Lake City
Best untraditional side. It shocked us by how good it is! The Street corn is grilled with fresh queso fresco and spicy aioli. It’s salty, buttery, cheesy, saucy, spicy, need I say more? Corn has a good crunch, and the pickled peppers compliment it well. However, it’s on the small side. Birdhouse, please make this with a full ear of corn because I want more!!!
Calamari – $11 – SLC Eatery, Salt Lake City
This isn’t your typical calamari. Expect sauteed calamari with a robust southwestern taste. Surprisingly, grilled jalapeno, citrus, and a refreshing cilantro aioli make the calamari sing. It also comes with crispy rice cakes for texture and crunch. If you get nothing else, don’t forget this appetizer at SLC Eatery.
Korean Cheesesteak – $12.99 – The Angry Korean, South Jordan
This Korean fusion dish will rock your taste buds! The beef bulgogi was the star of this dish. Very tender and more sweet than savory. This sandwich also added white mushrooms, white wine, caramelized onions, and melted cheese to the mix creating the perfect contrast of flavors and texture. Replace the hoagie roll with a better bun, but otherwise, don’t change a thing.
Cocamel – $3 – Suss Cookie Co. – Provo
This cookie is similar to the Samoa Girl’s Scout ‘s version, but better! It’s a soft shortbread cookie with a chocolate coated bottom, salted caramel, toasted coconut, and drizzled chocolate frosting. You can find them at all Vessel Kitchen locations or at Jessica’s bakery in Midway or at the Provo location. It’s seriously my new favorite cookie!
Bison Short Ribs – $22 – London Belle , Salt Lake City
You won’t need a knife for this entree. The sweet huckleberry sauce, potato mashers, sauteed asparagus, carrots, and scallions make each bite a tender indulgence. My spouse and I kept our forks deep in this dish and polished the plate clean. Truly something I would not have thought to order without our waiters recommendation.
Pastor Pizza – $13 – Oakwood Fire Kitchen, Draper
I loved the sweet and savory combination for this Neapolitan pizza. The Al pastor style pork belly was moist and seasoned well with the perfect amount of salt. Fresh pineapple added a splash of sweet and fruity tang! The crust was consistently light, moist, and perfectly cooked for each pie. Puffy around the edges and thin in the middle. A slight char adds a touch of smokiness from the wood-fired oven but isn’t overcooked. Pickled red onions and chives added a vibrant contrast of colors, enhancing the presentation.
American Wagyu Bacon Cheeseburger – $14 – White Horse, Salt Lake City
As you walk into White Horse you feel as if you’ve been transported to the Sherlock Holmes set. The walls are lined with relics of the past and the atmosphere appears almost mysterious. But the real mystery is how a burger as delicious as theirs, topped with the most delicious offerings is only $14! The pork belly bacon is perfectly smoked and juicy, the American cheese lends creaminess, the brioche bun tastes almost like a toasted croissant, sopping up the juices from the real star, the juicy, clean, wagyu beef patty.
General Tso Cauliflower – $10 – HSL, Salt Lake City
This Hunan-inspired dish is prepared similarly to its chicken counterpart served in North American Chinese restaurants. The cauliflower is lightly fried and doused in General Tso sauce. It uses a combination of chiles, sugar, garlic, ginger to create a sweet and savory flavor, but isn’t too spicy. Even if you’re not a vegan, I think you will enjoy this flavor-packed take on cauliflower. I can’t say I like it better than the chicken dish, but I definitely prefer to eat my vegetables this way!
The Hoss – $13 – Sweet Lake Biscuit & Limeade, Salt Lake City
The fried chicken was tender and flavorful. Together with the biscuit dripping with gravy, bacon, cheese, and egg, it was an amazing mouthful! On its own, the gravy was not salty enough, but with the bacon it was perfect.