Tag Archives: Utah Restaurants

Communal in Provo – Very Tasty Cuisine

Colton Soelberg and Joseph McRae, the creators of Pizzeria 712 in Orem, have done it again. With the recent opening of their new restaurant Communal in Provo, they have created yet another wonderful haven for foodies in the midst of the valley. From what I hear, this restaurant makes 2 down, with a few dozen more to go for these culinary wizards 🙂

The menu at Communal is diverse, and full of fantastic comfort foods such as Tomato Bread Pudding, Braised Bacon, Steak, Pot Roast…and the list goes on. While the prices are a little high for the portions, the flavors will quickly drive such thoughts from your mind.

The menu is divided into a number of categories, such as Greens, To Start, Starches, Vegetables, Meat and Sweets. Mix and match whatever makes your mouth water to assemble your meal.

We elected to go with two entrees, one starch, one vegetable, and a sweet. I apologize for not getting pictures of everything.

For the entrees, we had the Grilled Flatiron Steak with Gremolata Butter, $15, and the Pot Roast with Pan Jus, also $15. Both were perfectly cooked, with the Pot Roast being easily the best I’d ever tasted. My mouth is watering again just writing this 🙂 The steak with the Gremolata butter was tender and juicy, but also very bitter. However, I’m sure it was just a bad batch of Gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, garlic), which is a concoction that is easy to do wrong.

For our starch we went with the Potato Leek Gratin, $5, which was absolutely wonderful. I’ve always loved Au Gratin potatoes, and these were the best example I’ve tasted, as we scraped the dish clean and considered ordering more.

The Potato Leek Gratin at Communal in Provo

For our veggie we had a Roasted Squash with Apples and Thyme, $5, which was both inventive and tasty. The flavor profile was very unique, and each bite was quite delicious.

The Roasted Squash with Apples and Thyme at Communal Provo

We rounded it all out with a Peach Pandowdy with Vanilla Ice Cream, $8, which was one of the best desserts I’ve tasted.

I’ve eaten at a lot of great restaurants, and to have tasted 3 different things at one place that I can say are the best I’ve had is quite an accomplishment. Not only can I say I will be back, but I will be back quite often!

Dinner for 2, with tax and tip, came to roughly $60, so for most people I would class this restaurant as a special occasion spot. Seating is limited, and I would recommend reservations, whether for lunch or dinner.

They are located at 100 North University Ave., in Provo, right on the corner next to Goldsmith’s. They are open for lunch Tuesday to Friday from 11:30am to 2:30 pm, and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 10pm.

You can view their website here: Communal Provo

Directions are below:

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Communal on Urbanspoon

The Wild Grape in Salt Lake City UT

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

[googlemaps=http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=wild+grape+salt+lake+city&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&cid=0,0,16047031663578746140&ei=yvlVStCoH43YtgOkxNnzAQ&ll=40.771718,-111.876247&spn=0.004875,0.006437&z=16&iwloc=A&output=embed]

Wild Grape Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thai Drift in Orem UT – Awesome Thai Food!

So I guess I’m on a Thai kick or something 🙂 After writing my review of Thai Village yesterday, I was talking to a co-worker who REALLY loves Thai food. He said he has eaten at every Thai place in the valley, and the best he had found was a little place in Orem called Thai Drift. I’ve driven by it a hundred times, but for whatever reason I’d never been. So, I picked up my wife from work yesterday and off we went!

My first impressions were clean but small. Thai Drift was very stylish in atmosphere and decor, but there was only seating for 36, and with food this good, I bet it gets crowded. However, we got there at a great time, and were seated immediately.

The waiter was friendly and efficient, very polite. We sat in the corner, right next to a cool little water feature burbling in the background. The menus, like everything else, were elegant. We decided to start with an appetizer, and instead of our usual Chicken Satay, we got the Thai Dumplings ($5.99). There were 8 of them, fresh and crispy, served with a sweet and sour chili sauce that was tasty but no spicy.

For entrees, my wife got the Pad Thai, while I went with the Red Curry. One of these entrees could EASILY have fed two people, but we like variety, and my wife likes leftovers, so we always get two. Each entree was $8.99, about average for Thai food places in the area. The Pad Thai was delicious, though I felt the noodles were not quite soft enough. The tamarind flavor was subdued, and there was just a hint of chili powder, but it was not at all spicy.

The Red Curry was absolutely delicious, and I would say it ties with Thai Village in AF. I had beef in mine, but you also have the choice of chicken, pork or tofu. The sauce was delicious and creamy, and had just the right amount of curry spice. I stuffed myself, and still had enough left over for another meal, which is awesome!

For an appetizer and two entrees, our total was about $25 with tax, not too shabby. The food was delicious, and we will most definitely be back for more 🙂

You can view their menu and hours here: The Thai Drift

Directions below:

[googlemaps=http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=thai+drift+orem&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&cid=0,0,14358381959987099292&ei=x8JMSq29Bo2OtAPWrrXOBQ&t=h&ll=40.329501,-111.708512&spn=0.004907,0.006437&z=16&iwloc=A&output=embed]

Thai Drift on Urbanspoon