Evening dinner restaurant review
Overall: Solid food in a fun atmosphere
Food: Upscale pub fare
Ambiance: Buzzing brewpub
Service: Quick and pleasant
My past experience of Utah restaurant/brewpubs has been limited to a few trips to Squatters. However, based on the ever-teeming crowds, there always seemed to be a long wait for a table, and frankly, I more often than not found Squatters not the worth the wait. When a reader of the site suggested I try Red Rock Brewing Company, who was I to argue. With a recent World Beer Cup Silver Medal having been awarded to Red Rock for their Nut Brown Ale, it seemed time to give the place a try.
As 6 p.m. rolled around last Saturday, a spur of the moment whim took hold. With the Salt Lake City Gay Pride festivities in full swing, we thought we had no chance of being seated, but chanced our luck anyway. To our surprise, even with crowds milling outside, we were instantly seated by the hostess. It was at this point I realised just *how* big Red Rock is inside. In addition to outdoor patio seating and a long expansive bar, the restaurant space extends quiet deep into the building. The former warehouse space is nicely ordered so as to not feel overwhelmingly large.
An urban industrial feel prevailed, with plenty of brick and wood. A long bar area with seating curled around the open kitchen, where kitchen staff could be watched working away. The vibe was certainly relaxed, and whilst the noise level was buzzing, it was not obnoxiously loud. As we were seated, I felt instantly comfortable and at home.
This was probably due excitement over the large selection of award winning beers on offer. Red Rock features a number of ever-present beers, plus a number of special occasional brews throughout the year. The beer menu was arranged from light beers such as Honey Wheat through to heavier dark offerings such as the Oatmeal Stout. I chose towards the heavier end of the scale and went with a pint of the Amber Ale ($4.50):
This was described as a “traditional northwestern style ale, offering just the right balance between the sweetness of malt and the dry tang of cascade hops”. It was very reminiscent of Uinta Brewery’s Cutthroat, a favorite, which I also drink quite often. I think I preferred the Amber Ale all said and done, so much so I ordered a second one later in the meal. Wendi isn’t a beer drinker so she went for a Cadillac Margarita ($9.50). I should note Red Rock offers a full bar selection beyond beer, including wine and liquor.
The menu would be best described as ‘upscale pub fare’. Amongst wood fired pizzas and sandwiches sit choices such as Almond Crusted Red Trout and Filet Mignon. We decided to split a couple of appetizers and began with the Organic Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella Wrapped in Prosciutto ($9.99):
We were a little taken aback by the size of the thing, Wendi proclaimed it big enough by far to serve as her main course. Three thick sliced tomatoes were topped with generous servings of fresh mozzarella. These were then layered with Prosciutto and liberally smothered with a Basil and Dijon vinaigrette. A simple dish, but executed perfectly.
We also chose to share an order of the Cajun Fried Tiger Shrimp ($9.49):
Another hearty sized plate, it was accompanied by cocktail sauce and a garlic aioli. Another hit for both us. The shrimp coating had a subtle heat, which played perfectly with the accompanying dipping sauces. Given the portion sizes, we both had to stop half-way through to ensure room for our entrees.
Wendi chose the Hearts of Palm & Bay Shrimp Salad ($13.99):
In addition to the main ingredients, the salad also included romaine lettuce, new potatoes, avocado, feta cheese, roma tomatoes, red onions and caper berries in a Dijon vinaigrette. Wendi gleefully dug in, more than satisfied.
I went for the Halibut Fish and Chips ($15.49), to see how this pub classic would stand up:
Whilst the chips were nothing to write home about, the beer battered halibut was delicious. The batter reminded me of authentic fish and chip batter from back home in England: rich and crunchy with a pleasing edge of grease. The accompanying coleslaw seemed like an afterthought, I left it largely untouched.
When our waitress came to clear our plates and enquire about desert, we were stuffed to the gills. Despite some of the sweeter selections looking tempting we resigned to take our leave, with plenty of leftovers in tow. Whilst on the topic of service, our waitress was extremely affable and checked in at the appropriate times throughout the meal. Even though the restaurant seemed to be close to capacity, the restaurant floor appeared to be running very smoothly.
I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Red Rock. I am not certain what I anticipated, but my expectations were certainly exceeded. Red Rock mixes great food with great beer in a fun atmosphere. Red Rock would be a perfect start to a night out on the town or maybe somewhere to celebrate with friends over a couple of beers. Which is just what we are planning to do on our next visit in a couple of weeks time. (Wendi’s note: Go Wendi! It’s my birthday!) Although, next time we will definitely be more aware of the generous portion sizes, and order a little less food, if only to leave a little bit of room of dessert.
(P.S. Many thanks to Jeff for the recommendation!)
Red Rock Brewing Companyhas two locations:
254 South 200 West Salt Lake City, Utah
1640 W. Redstone Center Dr. Ste. #105, Park City, Utah
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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