Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Wild Grape

I've been going to The Wild Grape since I've lived in Salt Lake City. That being said, I think I had a mediocre experience once with an entree, and their bison burger is the best hamburger in Utah, so I've never ventured far from the burger since that first visit. Well, we were headed to a Jazz game and wanted something quick so we though Wild Grape for burgers would hit the spot. Walking in, it was about 4x busier than I had ever seen the place (this made me feel good as I've worried in the past about their traffic levels on weekend nights). The Outdoor Retailer show meant that we were offered to wait or take a seat at the chef's counter.

I can't imagine at this point that I'll ever NOT sit at the chef's counter when I go back to The Wild Grape. We started off with the Arugula salad. Super high quality Arugula that kept its pepper flavor without being bitter at all. I will stick to the signature "The Grape" salad in the future because it's the only time I find pickled grapes on my plate and I love them, but both of these salads are worth your time.

At this point the chefs just started plating up small plates for us to check out some of the things they were up to. The memorable appetizer was the small portion we received of the Gnocchis. Braised beef in what tasted like a bourguignon sauce then sauteed with spinach and truffle oil. That dish, in full size, is now on my hit list for next time.

Feeling like we were in for something special, and seeing that my first impression may have been wrong (these guys can cook), I decided to spring for the scallop entree that I've always lusted after. My wife gave permission (she doesn't eat scallops and we almost always trade plates halfway through a meal), so I went for it. They were fantastic. Served on a spinach puree and a bed of root veggies, thick sliced bacon and spinach - the scallops were cooked perfectly. Dead Guy Ale complemented the really variable meal well. We grabbed a bread pudding dessert and hit the road, where my Mavericks embarrassed the poor Utah Jazz.

The Verdict? The Wild Grape should get more credit than it does. The meal we had significantly outshined what we've gotten at several much hyped foodie hangouts in the neighborhood (Pago) at half the price. We spent less than $75 for a three course meal (plus a few small plates on the house) and had a great time talking with the sous chefs all the while.

Wild Grape Bistro on Urbanspoon

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