Sought after, chic eatery known for their vegetable starters, creative meat plates, and seasonal ingredients

HSL – Handle Salt Lake

Salt Lake City, UT – Modern American – $$$ – Upscale Casual Dining
Sifter Critique

Nicole O. - Pro SifterMay 22, 2019

Overall 4.6 / 5.0

4.7

Food

4.8

Service

5

Ambience

4

Value

Overview

Founded by Chef Briar Handly out of Vermont, the atmosphere is rarely quiet so be sure to dine early or book a reservation ahead. A child to its parent restaurant, Handle in Park City, this hip downtown restaurant is serving up modern American fare with local ingredients and seasonal dishes. They are mainly known for their vegetable starters, creative meat plates, and market fish. You can also find a pizza, burger, and pasta on their menu. In the middle of their open kitchen, they have a wood-fired oven used to prepare many of their dishes and add that smoky touch.

Value

Since HSL focuses on seasonal local ingredients and crafting a culinary experience, expect higher prices. However, you can still expect hearty portions and great presentation.

3 most popular dishes

Gen Tso Cauliflower, Pork Shank, Fried Chicken, and HSL Burger. These are actually the only constant items on the menu. Everything else changes depending on seasonal items.

What I ordered

Gen Tso Cauliflower, Pork Shank, and HSL Burger.

Food quality

Everything that we tried on their menu used choice ingredients. We liked some entrees better than others.

Pork Shank
The pork shank packs a lot of flavors and is so 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.

General Tso Cauliflower
This Hunanese-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!

HSL Burger
HSL’s menu is seasonal but their burger is one of three menu items that are always available. We enjoyed the quality and taste of the beef patty the most. They use an 80/20 blend of grass-fed ground chuck roast, from Niman ranch out of Cali. The flavor was fresh and clean. However, there were a few things that brought it down for us. First, we ordered the burger medium and it came out well done, reducing the juiciness. The bun was also dry, the in-house cheese blend was grainy and the condiments were lost. More dijonnaise and tomato jam would have heightened the flavor. We greatly prefer their other entrée items over their burger, but it’s still one of the city’s better burgers. It actually made it on our top 15 list for 2019.

Ambiance

The atmosphere is very inviting. It was dimly lit, light music playing in the background, and an eating area with couches for seating. The dining area is immaculate and sits right next to an open kitchen so you can see the chefs prep the food. We came midweek shortly after the restaurant opened and it was packed. Due to the crowds, it was a bit noisy and made it hard to hear my companion sitting across the table. There is also a bar with open seating if you are unable to grab a table. Overall, the environment was very hip, casual, and inviting.

What I liked most

The pork shank, the service, and the environment. The general manager was walking around the restaurant warmly greeting everyone, even before we pulled out our DSL camera and lighting equipment.

What I disliked most

The hamburger didn’t live up to all of the hype. We came in with high expectations due to it being on many top foodie lists. Their other food is way better!

The verdict

We really enjoyed this restaurant and could see ourselves coming back just for the pork shank or to try their other dishes. Simply great food!

Overall 4.6 / 5.0

4.7

Food

4.8

Service

5

Ambience

4

Value

Overview

Founded by Chef Briar Handly out of Vermont, the atmosphere is rarely quiet so be sure to dine early or book a reservation ahead. A child to its parent restaurant, Handle in Park City, this hip downtown restaurant is serving up modern American fare with local ingredients and seasonal dishes. They are mainly known for their vegetable starters, creative meat plates, and market fish. You can also find a pizza, burger, and pasta on their menu. In the middle of their open kitchen, they have a wood-fired oven used to prepare many of their dishes and add that smoky touch.

Value

Since HSL focuses on seasonal local ingredients and crafting a culinary experience, expect higher prices. However, you can still expect hearty portions and great presentation.

3 most popular dishes

Gen Tso Cauliflower, Pork Shank, Fried Chicken, and HSL Burger. These are actually the only constant items on the menu. Everything else changes depending on seasonal items.

What I ordered

Gen Tso Cauliflower, Pork Shank, and HSL Burger.

Food quality

Everything that we tried on their menu used choice ingredients. We liked some entrees better than others.

Pork Shank
The pork shank packs a lot of flavors and is so 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.

General Tso Cauliflower
This Hunanese-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!

HSL Burger
HSL’s menu is seasonal but their burger is one of three menu items that are always available. We enjoyed the quality and taste of the beef patty the most. They use an 80/20 blend of grass-fed ground chuck roast, from Niman ranch out of Cali. The flavor was fresh and clean. However, there were a few things that brought it down for us. First, we ordered the burger medium and it came out well done, reducing the juiciness. The bun was also dry, the in-house cheese blend was grainy and the condiments were lost. More dijonnaise and tomato jam would have heightened the flavor. We greatly prefer their other entrée items over their burger, but it’s still one of the city’s better burgers. It actually made it on our top 15 list for 2019.

Ambiance

The atmosphere is very inviting. It was dimly lit, light music playing in the background, and an eating area with couches for seating. The dining area is immaculate and sits right next to an open kitchen so you can see the chefs prep the food. We came midweek shortly after the restaurant opened and it was packed. Due to the crowds, it was a bit noisy and made it hard to hear my companion sitting across the table. There is also a bar with open seating if you are unable to grab a table. Overall, the environment was very hip, casual, and inviting.

What I liked most

The pork shank, the service, and the environment. The general manager was walking around the restaurant warmly greeting everyone, even before we pulled out our DSL camera and lighting equipment.

What I disliked most

The hamburger didn’t live up to all of the hype. We came in with high expectations due to it being on many top foodie lists. Their other food is way better!

The verdict

We really enjoyed this restaurant and could see ourselves coming back just for the pork shank or to try their other dishes. Simply great food!

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