Modern American fine dining with unique twists on classic dishes, like the chicken pot pie
Salt Lake City, UT – Modern American – $$$ – Casual
”Brandon O. - Pro Sifter & PhotographerJune 26, 2019
Overall 4.0 / 5.0
At around four months old, Oquirrh is one of Utah’s newest attempts at fine dining. It’s located in Vertical Diner’s former location. The restaurant is run by Chef Andrew Fuller and his wife Angelena, formally at Copper Onion, HSL, and Pago. He brings his experience to put a new twist on traditional dishes, like the chicken pot pie.
For us, the value was lacking. Two appetizers, entrees for four people, and two deserts ran us close to $200. The portions were also smaller than competitor restaurants SLC Eatery, HSL, and White Horse. After paying the tab, I found myself eating a snack at home. I think they would be wise to increase the portion sizes or add a complimentary appetizer, like the sourdough.
Most popular dishes
Oquirrh’s menu is pretty small and constantly changing. I’m not sure what their constants will be, but for now, the Confit Chicken Pot Pie, Duck Breast, and Curry Fried Lamb Shank are among the most popular.
What I ordered
Raddichio, Carrots, Market Fish, Duck Breast, Confit Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Bavette Steak, Pain Au Chocolat, and Sunchoke Cereal.
All entrees appeared to use high-quality ingredients but some were prepared better than others. Great focus also goes into the details of each dish and we enjoyed the composition.
Confit Chicken Pot Pie:
The pie is the star of their 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. This is hands down the best savory pie that I’ve eaten.
The duck breast was extremely tender. It had a crisp honey glazed crust and a soy-based sauce. Not the best I’ve ever had but overall a great dish.
Market Fresh Fish (or any seafood):
As the food scene has exploded in SLC, more and more restaurants are flying in fresh seafood. I had read about Oquirrh’s sea bass and was excited to try it. However, for this dish, I experienced some cognitive friction. On the menu, it implied that I would be getting fish. In reality, I was given soft-shell crab. In their defense, it was a great dish, but I wanted to try their fish. At minimum, I would have liked to be forewarned. Enough about my rant. Onto the details: The blue crab was lightly battered in tempura and placed in a white wine sauce with shiitake mushrooms and turnips. The crab itself was fresh and when paired with the sauce, extremely flavorful. If you get this dish, be sure to let the juices soak in. Just as good as what I’ve had along the Atlantic, which is surprising.
For those of you unfamiliar with this cut, it is commonly confused with hanger steak and is similar to skirt and flank cuts. Bavettes are known for their tenderness as the grain structure of the muscle fibers is incredibly loose. Unfortunately for us, our steak was more chewy than tender. It was difficult to eat and cut and reminded me of a tough London Broil. It was the least favorite entree of our experience.
When the greens, fried onions, feta cheese, pepper, dairy based dressing, and thick bacon bits came together the bites were palatable and often quite good. Overall the dish was very bitter, especially if you missed one or two of the fixings. A little more sweet and salty elements would improve the dish.
From what this dish lacks in size it makes up for in flavor. The dehydrated carrot chips had a good crunch and saltiness. The carrots were steamed and slightly al dente. The vegetable-based sauces that glazed the plates were rich and sweet.
Pain Au Chocolat
Pain au chocolat is made of the same layered doughs as a croissant. It’s meant to be crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. This one was dry and rock hard. I didn’t finish it. I brought up this concern to one of the managers and they told me that the firmness was intended. I’ve been all over Europe and can tell you, that’s not how it’s done in France. On the other hand, the sourcream icecream was quite good. Very smooth and creamy.
Uncovered open fridge flavor. The sunchoke granola was good but the almond ice cream didn’t have any almond flavor.
The room is fairly loud and could use some sound dampening measures. The tables are set well and the decor is modern and minimal.
The wait staff was very accommodating and the co-owner was very kind and made you feel welcome. They don’t have strong gluten-free options but were very accommodating to make recommendations and adjustments to their recipes.
What I liked most
The confit chicken pot pie and the service.
What I disliked most
The bavette steak, the desert, the noise level of the dining area, and the price.
In our opinion, Oquirrh still has a few areas of improvement to work on to become one of the great restaurants in Salt Lake City. For now, we prefer SLC Eatery, HSL, and Whitehorse over it. However, we’re eager to try it again in the future to see if they’ve mastered their trade.