Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birreria at Eataly

We showed up hungry and thirsty, ready to pig out at Eataly, Mario Batali's new joint, per Richard Narramore's recommendation for a new, creative and delicious Italian experience in New York City, across the street from the Flatiron Building. Eataly was swarming with locals, tourists, foreigners all wining, dining and shopping for all things Italian, expensive, gourmet and fabulous. 
Birreria, one of the restaurants of Eataly, is a sneaky little brewery serving fantastic gourmet pub food and homegrown organic beer on a retractable roof deck in the Flatiron District. In order to get to the back stairway leading up to Birreria, we had to literally elbow our way through the mobs of walking traffic on Eataly's main floor. The place was slammed.
Bierreria beers are artisanal beers that are brewed in house in this very room. Beers are fermented in casks and naturally carbonated, served straight, unfiltered and unpasteurized. Our server temped us with samples as soon as we sat down.
House Brewed Ales, $10 each.  Barista, Wanda, Gina...
Speck, $11.  Slices of smoked prosciutto from Alto-Aldige were razor thin, salty and ridiculously buttery. Insanely delicious.
Insalata Cotta Cruda, $13.  Romaine, artichoke, potato, roasted onion, cauliflower, red cabbage, cucumbers, olives, capers, red wine vinaigrette.
Cavolo Nero con Salsa, $10.  Kale craze was still on and we loved every bite of this. Chopped kale, grapefruit, pomegranate, poppy seed frico and anchovy vinaigrette.
Maitake con Percorino Sardo, $15.  Whole, uncut bundles of roasted maitake mushrooms, percorino sardo crema and roasted brussels sprouts. Ridiculously large, intensely flavorful and nutty funghi.
Pork Shoulder in Beer and Apricot, $19.  Beer-braised and glazed pork shoulder served with celery, cucumber, persimmon and mustard vinaigrette. The mustard seeds added a glorious tobiko-like pop to every bite. This was big and fantastic, sugary and fruity.
Quaglia con Finocchio, $22.  These gorgeous birds, from Manchester Farms, were marinated in honey flavors and seared flat on both sides. Underneath was Sambuca braised fennel. The quail was extremely tender and juicy with crisp caramelized skin. Some of the best quail I've ever had. I loved this unusual dog-pile stack of three headless quail.
And this aerial angle shows off broad breasts and robust thighs :)
I dig black subway tile wainscot with grey grout, especially when they are in large spacious public bathrooms.
Open skylights reveal a magical bluebird day and a perfect peek of the Empire State Building.
Birreria @ Eataly on Urbanspoon
Dang It Delicious Salt Lake City restaurants

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bar Boheme at Easy Street

There are only a handful of favorite lunch places in Park City including High West, Windy Ridge, and some others that I can't think of right now... Took Bro out for a birthday lunch on Main Street at Easy Street's downstairs chill bar and full-service restaurant called Bar Boheme. This place is the main dining hall for The Sky Lodge so you will always into lots of friendly vacationers mingling with locals chatting it up getting the scoop on where to eat and what's up with the Utah liquor laws. Cheery vibe, cozy atmosphere, solid comfort food (with a raw bar).

Coffee, $2.95.  Needed to wake up again!
Calamari, $11.95.  We all agreed that this would have been much better minus the spiced mayo.
Lamb Burger, $15.95.  In general, I think Euro flavors are way too subtle. The lamb patty was amazingly juicy and packed with rich flavor. Maybe I have a sodium problem, as I needed to salt every bite.
Mussels (Large), $25.25.  I love the mussels here in spiced red broth.
Chocolate Croissant, $4.94.  
Oysters (Half Doz.), $19.50.  I prefer just a squeeze of lemon and chili or pepper. Love oysters to death.
Chocolate Fondue Spread.  Surprise, baby bro! Chocolate fondue spread on the house. Happy Birthday to YOOOOUUUUUU!
Make a wish.....
Easy Street Steak &Seafood on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frida Bistro

It was social media that lured us into Frida Bistro for the first time the other day. Frida Bistro check-in traffic and comments kept taking over my Facebook newsfeed from friends I forgot I had. I was intrigued and finally begged my bro to schlep down to the industrial side of downtown Salt Lake City to meet me for lunch to see what the fuss was about. We were pleasantly surprised.
The vibe inside was a delightful mess of lowbrow coffeehouse wall art, dolled up with cloth napkins, black table linens, wine bottle displays and oversized white platters for food presentation. Bro and I loved the atmosphere immediately when recognized a Justice mix. Who doesn't love eating to a French house playlist?! Oh yes, we like.  
Aguacate con Cangrejo, $13.  This was an enormous pile of perfectly seasoned spiced lump blue crab on top of half an avocado and guajillo vinaigrette. I appreciated how tasty this was as it is so easy to ruin lumb crabmeat by not seasoning it properly. Although it was very good, it was missing a chippy crunch. 
We got their delicious flavored ice tea...can't remember the flavor?
Ceviche de Atun, $10.  This was more of a tropical fruity tartare than a ceviche, and disguised as pico de gallo. This could have been extraordinary, but the big bowl plating, the teeny spoon and the overcrowding of the chips made it annoyingly difficult to eat.
In the back was a salsa bar. I am a sucker for get-it-yourself salsa. They had five salsas and various toppings like chopped cilantro, peppers, pickled onion and caramelized onion. The salsas were very good but the toppings were impossible to reach and scoop. They ought to replace those useless forks with tongs (or, better yet, chopsticks!). Do you know how impossible it is to pick up chopped cilantro from a deep cylinder under this glass cover with a fork?
These onions were the bomb and, actually, the most memorable. We could have eaten the entire container of these caramelized onions.
Enchiladas de Pollo with Mole Negro and Black Beans. $12.  This Mole Negro contained a complex mix of awesome Oaxacan flavorssugary, chocolaty, garlicky and loaded with chili and other nutty spices. Some of the best mole I've ever had. Even though the mole totally killed it, this very dished confirmed my total aversion to shredded chicken breast (dry and flavorless). (My problem, not Frida's, btw. I tried to ignore the shredded white meat and fantasized having this insane Mole Negro poured over dark meat and shrimp. Omg!)
Tacos de Pescado with Arroz Blanco, $14.  The battered halibut and jalapeno balsamic aioli on mini corn tortillas resembled and tasted like fish 'n chips. Not bad, but not mind-blowing either. The arroz blanco, white Mexican rice, was excellent, a refreshing and elegant choice over the usual reddish tomato-flavored rice.
Tacos a la Raul with Ranchero Beans, $12.  Bite-sized chunks of achiote marinated pork served with pineapple and corn tortillas were pretty tasty. The beans were packed with rich porky fatty chunks.
Classic Flan.  The flan was a little too dense for my liking. And by the time this came out we were so crazy full we could barely move.
The backroom had more eclectic Frida-esque art and decor. It's nice to finally be able to enjoy some classic upscale Mexican grub with great music and linens 'n tablecloths in downtown Salt Lake City, right off the I-15 freeway exit to downtown.
Frida Bistro on Urbanspoon
Dang It Delicious Salt Lake City restaurants