Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Copper Onion

The Copper Onion focuses on seasonally changing menus due to product availability, as well as any time the chefs find new and amazing ingredients to showcase.  Home-grown Utahn Chef Ryan Lowder decided to return to his hometown and apply his culinary training to Salt Lake’s rapidly expanding food scene. Chef Ryan's menu reflects his passion for working with seasonal ingredients, showcasing products from the best local farmers and purveyors, as well as international flavors reflective of his time abroad.

During our trip to Salt Lake City, this restaurant was on our "must-dine at" list from pre-arrival.  I scored us reservations, which was great and probably not necessary since the restaurant was so near our hotel.  To start, I ordered a glass of 2012 Honig Sauv Blanc from Napa Valley with refreshing notes of kiwi, grapefruit, and lemon grass.  It was surprisingly very enjoyable, and had it not been a 'school night', I would have ordered a second glass.

One colleague, GA, ordered a couple starters for the table.  A heaping pile of patatas bravas - fried potatoes with spicy aioli and a plate of lardo iberico de bellota - cured pork fat, arrived at the table.  I only sampled a couple of the patatas, but skipped on the super fatty lardo.  The patatas were crispy, hot, and lived up to the Spanish reputation.

For my main course, I ordered one of the daily specials - Manila Clams Pasta.  Thick, wide noodle pasta called fettuce was served with roasted fennel, tomato, garlic, shallots, olive tapenade, and radish sprouts.  The clams were meaty and very fresh.  I loved the combination of the fennel with shallots and olives, which paired perfectly with my white wine.  The noodles, however, were a bit undercooked and stuck together too much.  Nevertheless, I happily cleaned my plate.

I had to snap a picture of JB's dish. She ordered the other daily special - Green Chilie Chuck-Eye Poutine.  Pulled chuck-eye meat mixed with roasted jalapenos and grotte caputo were piled on top of house-cut steak fries, and topped with creme fraiche and cilantro. This artfully presented dish, reminiscent of Jenga was tasty, but a bit too heavy.  She paired it with a nice glass of Malbec though, to provide a hearty meal.

Overall, I enjoyed my meal at The Copper Onion.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and great for groups.  The menu reflected fresh, seasonal ingredients with global inspiration.

Total Rating: 4.28
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Manila Clams Pasta
fettuce, roasted fennel, tomato, garlic, shallots, olive tapenade, radish sprouts

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