Evening dinner review
After living in Salt Lake for more years than I care to divulge, I’m always surprised at how confused I get driving around the area by the Capitol. I don’t know if it’s because the grid system is too ingrained in my brain to switch when I’m less than 15 minutes from my house, but on a recent drive around the area I suddenly passed Em’s Restaurant and couldn’t for the life of me remember the last time I’d been there. This had to be remedied!
I called a couple of friends and the four of us visited on a recent Friday night. When we arrived we were seated in one of the front window tables and at first I thought it might be too close to the bar and we were going to be bumped all night, but the staff seemed able to navigate the tight quarters with little trouble and I stopped worrying about it quickly.
We started with drinks and a couple of appetizers. I had a glass of the crispy Kris Pinot Grigio ($7.00) and everyone else got cocktails. The first appetizer we ordered was the Flatbread with Seasonal Toppings ($6.00), and this night that meant artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, and I think they said Havarti cheese. I’m not a huge marinated artichoke heart fan, but the slight vinegar taste here complimented the sweetness of the onions and saltiness of the cheese.
We also ordered the Tamales stuffed with Goat Cheese ($7.00). These were tasty, but tiny. With the four of us, the one bite we got was more of an amuse-bouche than anything else. Although beautiful to look at they were a bit hard to open. It might have been fun to have little snips to cut the little ties with, instead of our clumsy fingers diving into the Chipotle Con Crema underneath. I’d also like to put a plug in here for the bread they served. I don’t know if they make it at the restaurant or not, but it was great.
For my entrée I ordered one of the night’s specials, the Hand Pressed Cheese and Artichoke Ravioli ($18.00). It was served with rosemary infused olive oil and I was very impressed with light but bold flavor it had. The pasta had a nice texture and the filling really complimented the rosemary.
Jason ordered another special, the Pan Roasted Duck Breast with dried cherry sauce ($22.00). Wow, was that cherry sauce a knockout and it paired well with the flavorful duck.
Justin also ordered the special Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin with port wine reduction ($24.00). The steak was done to perfection (I snagged a taste), and the creamy mashed potatoes were a great accompaniment.
Laura ordered the Free Range Chicken Breast stuffed with Goat’s Cheese & Pine Nuts ($17.00). Although good, it really didn’t compare to the other meals. I had a taste and thought the chicken was pretty dry.
We then happily ordered desserts. Jason and Laura both ordered the Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding with a scoop of one of their house made ice creams (Jason got Toffee Almond and I think Laura’s was Bourbon Pecan). Justin ordered the Chocolate Chunk Brownie ($6.00), and I ordered two scoops of the house made ice cream ($5.00). I got a scoop of the mint chocolate chip, and more importantly a scoop of the chocolate habanero. I’m afraid I may just slide right into waxing rhapsodic about it. Justin also got a scoop with his brownie and with the first bite we were both instantly in love with it. Of course, Laura and Jason had to try and we all agreed it was if not the best, close to the best ice cream we’d ever had. We all like spicy foods, but the heat here is really secondary. The chocolate was just so amazingly chocolaty, and at first that’s really all you taste. Then you get the nice bright heat of the habanero chile, which quickly fades. It just blew all of us away. I’ll also mention the mint chocolate chip was pretty amazing on it’s own. Mint flavored, not mint-flavoring flavored it was like chewing on a tasty bit of the garden with some great chocolate chunks thrown in for good measure.
Even without the ice cream we had a great meal, and now that I’ve tasted that devilish concoction I have homing beacon centered on Em’s. I doubt I’ll ever get lost by the Capitol again.
271 Center St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103-1913
Brunch: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Sunday
Lunch: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm Tuesday – Friday
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Sunday