Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pallet improves SLC dining with superior taste | The Daily Utah ...

While not a pioneer in the New American eatery category in Salt Lake City, Pallet could very well have succeeded by delaying its debut of delicious food, stunning atmosphere and warm service.

This thrilling addition to the downtown dining scene — near Pierpont Avenue — brings the promise of a new option for New American at a fair price.

Pallet’s interior space is fantastic. The restaurant has an eclectic feel, with quaint paintings adorning the walls, lots of windows, metal and wood tables, benches with leather pillows and patterned textiles that add a whimsical feel to the restaurant. It’s cozy without being too familiar. The service was excellent, far superior to that of Copper Onion, which, in some peoples’ minds, might seem like a competitor in this category.

Though there is a bar at Pallet, there is no place to wait for a table except for outside. You really need a reservation, as this is a popular eatery with little space.

The truffle fries were exquisite and, at only $9, an absolute bargain. Each bite evoked the earthy delight that only truffles imbue. As a perfect starter to share, they also came with a lemon-herb aioli that added a freshness to the dish that really set off the nutty feeling of the shaved Parmigiano garnish.

The pulled elk with mushroom risotto and cherry glaze was delicious. Elk can be a bit gamey, but the fresh sweetness of the cherry made it more than tolerable. The beautiful wild mushrooms strewn across my plate were a reminder of the creamy risotto complementing the elk meat. The risotto was well cooked, with the individual grains being perfectly al dente. It wasn’t the consistency of porridge, and it wasn’t at all dry — a perfect medium.

In lieu of an entree, my dinner company opted for two smaller plates. Among the items I sampled were a deconstructed spring beet salad and a plate of cippolini-onion gnocchi. They were some of the best gnocchi I’ve had this side of the Italian Arno. They were soft and didn’t have the hard starchiness that many lesser dumplings do.

I shared a wonderful dessert — a gooey chocolate shortbread with a crust of oat and walnut. It had a quenelle of decadent ice cream, all of which was surrounded by fresh berries.

The wine list includes a number of Spanish varieties, but is not extensive. It was, however, quite reasonably priced. My pulled elk and mushroom risotto paired excellently with a glass of Tempranillo, which was only $6.

In all, Pallet is probably best for a splurge, a hot date, or maybe even a dinner with your parents if they’re picking up the check. In my case, my friend and I were celebrating each other’s birthdays, and it was perfectly celebratory. With wine, it cost about $35 each.

The Salt Lake City dining scene still has quite a ways to go, but restaurants like Pallet bring us to the vanguard of dining, closer to modern dining perfection here in Utah.

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Posted by on Apr 25 2012. Filed under A&E, Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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