This last week I had the opportunity to attend the Big Business and Technology Expo in Orem, UT, where dozens of businesses, large and small, gathered to showcase their companies. Being the food junkie that I am, one booth stood out amongst all the rest. Spark Restaurant Lounge.
About a week ago I was reading a Utah magazine, I can’t remember which one, and I came across a story about a local restaurant called Spark. The article said it was in Provo (near Center Street and University Avenue, at the base of the Wells Fargo building), served excellent food, and had a very unique atmosphere. I made a mental note to check it out.
So, here I am at the Business Expo, and I come acros a booth for this restaurant I had read about. They had a few games going at their booth, so I gave it a shot. I had to throw a dart and try and hit part of their logo, and a ring toss game. If I hit the green part of the logo, I got free gift cards. Shockingly, I actually won! I also got coupons for free house drinks…more on that in a minute.
So, my wife and I decided to go and cash in our spoils, and to see if this restaurant lived up to all the hype. Lets just say it now, this place absolutely rocks! I LOVE SPARK!!! (The photo below is of the steak and potato croquette, the entree in their latest $10 3-course lunch special)
To me, there are 3 things that set Spark above the competition. Number one, and to me the most important, the food. I love high quality, creative food. Number two, and a close second, atmosphere. So many restaurants are boring, and have no character. Number three, hours of operation. I like being able to eat when I want, not on the rest of the world’s schedule.
The food at Spark is absolutely 5 star. I’ve eaten at some of the nicest restaurants in the country, and I can honestly say that I have never had better food than I did at Spark Restaurant Lounge. My wife and I started with the free house drinks we had won. Now I have to say, this is one of the coolest things that Spark has going. They have a huge drink selection, and it is all 100% non-alcoholic! From the Apple Martini to the Bellini, there are drinks suited to every taste. I was a bit skeptical at first, but everything we tried was excellent! What a great way to target the Utah crowd.
On to our food. The Executive Chef at Spark is Lauro Romero, of Bambara fame, and he has definitely brought his A game to Spark. We started with an appetizer of Pommes Frites, which is rosemary potato fries with garlic aioli and blue cheese sauce. My wife is a fry junkie, and these were her all time favorite fries. Spark took a simple fast food to a whole new level, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Next we shared a Pomegranate Frisee Salad, featuring sliced granny smith apples, fresh pomegranate seeds, apricot Stilton cheese, pistachio dust, and a fantastic pomegranate vinaigrette. Easily the most tasty and interesting salad I’ve ever experienced.
For our entrees, my wife went with the Fettuccine Pasta, which has oyster mushrooms, asparagus, Madeira cream, porcini butter and a black truffle essence. I chose the Fillet Mignon, which was served with a delicious layer of scalloped potatoes, lima beans, carrots, and a delicious sauce. The flavor of the pasta was wonderfully rich and earthy, just as it should be with porcini and truffle in the mix. My Fillet Mignon was easily the best steak I have every had, incredibly tender and full of flavor.
For dessert, we had the Chocolate Pudding, which turned out to be so, so much more than the name implies. It was bits of chocolate pudding coated with crushed almonds and heated, served with a delicious ice cream and a chocolate and citrus sauce. I have to say, I have never had a better dessert, anywhere. This was very creative, and wonderfully delicious.
The atmosphere at Spark is fantastic, very much in the style of a hip, high class lounge. From the colors and seating to the artwork, Spark is rich in character and style. I intend to have my birthday party this year at Spark, and I won’t hesitate to use it for business meetings as well.
Last but not least, the hours of operation suit me well. While they are open for traditional lunch and dinner hours, they represent the “lounge” well in that they are open for Late Night Nosh, from 10pm-12am most days, and 10pm-1am on weekends! Being a night owl by nature, this suits me perfectly! Finally, somewhere to go when I have late night cravings for fantastic food and excellent drinks.
While the dinner prices are a little on the expensive side for a Provo area restaurant, the 5 star quality of the food, the attentiveness of the staff, and the unique atmosphere make it worth every penny. For those looking to spend a bit less, I would absolutely recommend the lunch menu. Spark serves a 3 course lunch for $10, a price that can’t be beat for this quality of food! I’ve paid three times the price for food of lower quality at supposedly “5 Star” restaurants, and I will choose Spark over those from now on.
You can view the menu and more information at www.SparkRestaurantLounge.com. They are located at 86 North University Ave, Downtown Provo, UT, 84601. The phone number is 801-701-6780, and I would highly recommend reservations. Their hours of operation are as follows: lunch: Mon-Fri 11 am to 2 pm, Sat 12 pm to 2 pm | dinner: 5 pm to 10 pm Mon-Sat | late-night nosh 10 pm to 12 am Tue-Thurs, Fri-Sat 10 pm to 1 am | closed Sundays.
My Compliments to Chef Lauro Romero, and to the owner of Spark Restaurant Lounge, Blake Ballard! Thank you for taking Provo dining to a whole new level.
You can find Spark here: