A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Troy Greenhawt, the owner of The Wild Grape in Salt Lake City Utah, an award winning new restaurant. I was asked to come in and do a review. I knew my birthday was coming up soon, and I decided to combine the occasions. It turned out to be the best birthday dinner I have ever had.
Located at 481 E. South Temple, the location of the former Avenues Bakery, The Wild Grape has totally transformed the space and made it their own. The atmosphere was trendy, but still classy. There were plenty of tables, both inside and outside, but we decided to eat inside since it was a very hot day. We ended up sitting right by an open bar stool area that looks right into the kitchen, which was very cool. I like seeing my food prepared, since cooking is a hobby of mine.
As it was my birthday dinner, and I had let them know when I made reservations, they did the coolest thing I have ever had a restaurant do for my birthday. They printed up custom menus for us that said Happy Birthday Sam across the top! For me, this really made the occasion more special and more personal, and I really appreciated that. I’ll be coming back for my next birthday too!
My wife and I, my mother and my grandmother were all there, representing 3 generations of hardcore foodies 🙂 As such we immediately ordered the Local & Artisan Cheese Tasting platter ($15) as our appetizer. It was a great choice! It came with a variety of locally produced cheeses, from Barely Buzzed, a cheddar with coffee grounds, to a delicious goat cheese crusted with pistachios, served with fresh toast points, glazed pecans, and an assortment of fresh and dried fruits. We pretty much cleaned off the plate.
For our entrees, we each decided on something different, and we all got to taste all four entrees.
My grandmother got the Seared Diver Scallops served with Creamy Cheddar Grits, Tasso Ham, and a Leek and Corn Succotash ($23). The scallops were perfectly cooked, seared on both sides, and were tender and flavorful. The cheese grits and succotash were also amazing, adding a delicious contrast to the creamy scallops.
My mom went with the Sweet Corn Risotto, served with Summer Mushrooms, Piquillo Peppers, and both Chevre and Aged Gruyere cheeses ($14). This was absolutely the best Risotto I have ever tasted, and I think it was actually the best dish we had that night. It may be simple dish, but it was full of flavor, both rich and creamy, and every bite was a taste of heaven.
My wife had the Veal Chop, served with Wild Mushrooms and Spinach, Whipped Potato, and a Sour Cherry Jus ($26). The meat was perfectly cooked, medium rare, and flavorful. I love veal, and this was some of the best I’ve had. It was served on the shank, which makes for a great presentation.
Finally, I had the Niman Ranch New York Strip served with Whipped Potato, Haricot Verte and a Porcini Bordelaise ($26). Niman Ranch is a company that produces humanely treated, antibiotic free natural meat. This steak had an amazingly beefy flavor, and was very tender.
We finished everything off with two of their desserts. We got the Blue Corn Waffle, served with a Brandy Caramel Sauce and Pistachio Gelato ($7), and the Cherry Pana Cotta ($8). The gelato was top notch, and the waffle had an amazing flavor of its own. The Pana Cotta was the best I have every had, just shy of cheesecake in texture, with a delicious but not overpowering creamy flavor. Amazing.
Every single dish was wonderful, perfectly cooked, and flavorful. I was thoroughly impresses. The wait staff was very attentive without being overly so. I was able to talk with the owner, Troy, and learn a bit more about the restaurant and their philosophy. We happened to be there on a special event night, with the famous wine maker Rick Longoria presenting some new wines. While I am not a wine connoisseur, it was still fun to watch and listen. All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and I will most certainly be back again.
You can view their menu and see upcoming special events at their website: The Wild Grape