Salt Lake City Restaurants That Rise Above

By Corinne Humphrey

Zy isn’t just a restaurant…it’s the experience of good local food,” says Chef/Owner Matthew Lake, winner of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef ” award and Salt Lake Magazine’s Reader’s Choice for “Best New Restaurant.” He glows when he speaks of the “magic of cooking,” and his passion for food is evident in the atmosphere, the servers’ zeal, and Zy’s lively menu. The Scallops with Almond, Curry & Red Wine reduction were indeed magical. The Buttermilk Fried Oysters and the entrée of Pecan Pork are prepared in the traditional southern style and the Shrimp a la Plancha or Seared Barramundi with mashed chickpea, warm citrus, olives & tomato are great summer dishes. Zy’s moderate size allows Chef Lake to take advantage of limited supplies of Pave Steaks or Steelhead Trout that are presented like surprise gifts to guests. Zy is also known for its cheese platters—choose three or five selections of local and limited edition cheeses. Or skip the cheese and go straight to dessert of Chai Crème Brulee and other treats.

Sea Salt, located on a quiet corner in Sugarhouse, is leagues away from any ocean, but its simple décor, large patios and classic Mediterranean-style dishes highlight Italian food culture and the pleasure of food, wine and conviviality. Owner Eric DeBonis takes “locally grown” to a whole new level, canning enough crates of fresh tomatoes and vegetables to use all year long. Sea Salt’s tag line, “Enoteca-Osteria- Maccheroneria-Pizzeria” says it all—plenty of choices and price ranges for everyone in your party. Dining here feels like a party with an extensive wine list, daily specials, and a large seasonal sampling of dishes like: “Saltimbocca alla Romana,” pan-seared, Free Range Veal Scaloppine with Proscuitto di Parma, sage pan sauce and Porcini mushrooms; or wood-fired “Neapolitan-style” pizzas like the “Fiorentina,” with Clifford Farms eggs, black truffle, arugula and Proscuitto di Parma. For an appetizer, try the “Scafata di Verdura,” of braised zucchini, green beans, San Marzano tomato, garlic, chile, marjoram, and feta cheese.

At Franck’s, you’ll be sure to enjoy the setting as much as the food. Located in a restored bungalow on a quiet, tree-lined street in Holladay, this cozy restaurant run by Chef Franck Peissel, a native of Chamonix, France, offers classic French dishes like Moules & Frites and Duck Confit, or inventive items like Goat Cheese Crème Brulee with Guinness Cocoa Vinaigrette. A secluded, shady patio is perfect for al fresco dining, and starters like chilled Spicy Watermelon Soup will cool you off on hot nights. Dessert lovers will be giddy over the rosemary ice cream or warm chocolate tart with hazelnut chocolate ice cream. For “Kitchen Confidential” fans, a screen in the dining room allows patrons to watch Chef Peissel create his edible art.

Log Haven Restaurant has earned multiple DiRonas and many other awards too numerous to mention here. Chef Dave Jones’ mantra of “Nurturing Your Palate and Your Soul” is manifested in the peaceful setting and his great blending of flavors and use of sustainable wild products from local artisans and farmers. The Alpine Nachos—house chips, Raclette cheese, smoked prosciutto and forest mushrooms will be the best nachos you’ve ever tried. The Organic Greens Salad of Creminelli sopressa, pickled onions, white beans, dried tomatoes and rosemary vinaigrette is a hit, as is the entrée of Braised Piedmontese Short Ribs.

Log Haven was built in 1920 by Salt Lake businessman L.F. Rains as an anniversary gift for his wife, and its rustic, romantic setting in Millcreek Canyon is perfect for a grand event or casual dinner. Speaking of special dinners, check out “Dinner & Dance” evenings that bring new meaning to dancing with the stars, or escape the heat with your four-legged friends for the new “Dog Days of Summer,” offering “Canine Kabobs” and other unique treats for you and your doggie date.

ZY: 268 S. State Street, Salt Lake City, 801-779-4730
SEA SALT: 1709 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-349-1480
FRANCK’S: 6263 South Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-274-6264
LOG HAVEN: 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255

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