Evening dinner review
Recently, I told a friend of mine I was going to try the new restaurant “Vinto” on 200 South and he gave me a strange look and said, “Do we really need another pizza place in Salt Lake?” Well, I have an answer now that I’ve eaten there, and that answer is yes.
As usual, I talked some friends into trying the place with me, and upon walking into the space we were very impressed with how beautifully the space was designed. Lots of clean lines, but with warm finishes – my kind of décor for sure. We were seated in a big booth with a fairly small table, and the first thing I wondered was how all four of our meals were going to fit on the table. Luckily, this didn’t prove to be a problem because the wait staff was very diligent about removing used plates etc.
Our server arrived quickly and we ordered the Antipasto Piatto ($9.00) to eat while we figured out what we wanted for our entrees. I really do love salami and prosciutto in almost any form, but the veggies on this plate didn’t play second string. The glaze on the mushrooms was balsamic in nature and very tasty, and I really liked the green bean addition to the typical squash and peppers.
As I just mentioned, I love prosciutto, and so I then ordered the V Salad ($7.00). The arugula was nicely dressed with olive oil and lemon, and the prosciutto gave the salad a little heft. Jason got the Insalata Mista ($5.00), with gorgonzola dressing and he raved about the heirloom cherry tomatoes on it.
Danielle and Wayne shared the special salad – Utah Heirloom Tomatoes with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil ($6.50). As you can see from the picture these tomatoes were perfect (‘tis the season!), and the simple olive oil and salt really let the differences in the tomatoes shine through.
After all the raving about the tomatoes at the table, I decided to try them too on the Campania pizza ($11.00). Wow, this pizza was great. Little cubes of tasty pancetta with caramelized onions, and the tomatoes (although not raw) were perfectly sweet. This one is a keeper for me. I’ll order it again for sure.
Danielle ordered the Regina pizza ($11.00), and I have to admit I almost wish I’d ordered it. Roasted chicken and whole garlic cloves with fontina and wild mushrooms. Very yummy.
Jason ordered the Tuttabella pizza ($9.00), and although he liked the sausage and caramelized onions he thought the roasted red peppers were a little too sweet for his taste. Wayne ordered the pasta special – Orecchiette, sundried tomatoes, calamata olives, and goat cheese ($7.50). My bite of this reminded me of something I make at home every now and then, but the top notch ingredients really took it to another level.
Dessert was definitely in order at this point. Wayne ordered the Apple Crostata ($5.00). Like a good apple pie without the heavy crust – flaky pastry and a nicely spiced filling. Jason ordered the Molten Cake ($5.00 – and sorry for the fuzzy picture). Made with bittersweet chocolate it wasn’t overly sweet, so I definitely approved.
Danielle ordered two scoops of gelato ($4.00), one espresso and one mint chocolate chunk. Both were very good I thought, with the mint tasting like actual mint and not mint-flavoring.
When we first sat down and looked at the menu I noticed something in the “Dolce” section that really piqued my interest. Along with a regular order of gelato, you could have it topped with chocolate sauce, or (and this is what caught my eye) you could order it topped with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I asked the server about it at the end of the meal and she suggested I try it with the vanilla gelato. My first bite was sort of what I expected and sort of not. The type of olive oil they use (the server actually mentioned the name and it now escapes me) is really lovely, but I was surprised the coldness of the gelato didn’t dampen the flavor of it. I tasted it alone and the complexity of the oil really held up to the salt and the vanilla. Everyone at the table had a bite and we all agreed it was delicious and definitely a unique presentation (and I don’t mean unique in a bad way).
Vinto is definitely a welcome addition to the Salt Lake restaurant scene, and I’m looking forward to going back and trying one of the Piadinas (they sort of look like large taco and according to our server are made with an Italian tortilla). We saw one pass our table and it looked very intriguing. But then again maybe I’ll just get the Campania…
(Stu’s note: since Corrinne reviewed this restaurant the chef Roseanne Ruiz no longer works in kitchen. With the restaurant now functioning to the owner’s expectations, Roseanne is stepping down in favour of a general kitchen manager who can oversee the day to day operations of Vinto. Roseanne will be retained as a consultant in the role of selecting and training said replacement/s.)
418 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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14 thoughts on “Vinto restaurant review”
Dang, I am hungry now! Must go check it out.
Take it from a gal who moved here from New Haven, Connecticut – one town can never have too much pizza if the pizza is high quality. Let the competition begin! Yum! P.S., saw on their website that their sausage is made in-house. Cool! Do any other establishments in Salt Lake make their own sausage? It kind-of seems like they might be embracing the slow-food movement? Any thoughts?
I don’t know if anyone else here makes their own sausage in-house, but I do know that Settebello uses various meats from Salumi (this is the deli that Mario Batali’s dad opened in Seattle: http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/). I absolutely love their pancetta. But the best pizza I ever had was in Burlington, VT. There is definitely something about east coast pizza that speaks to my taste buds.
For Q Magazine
I approached Vinto by driving up 400 East in SLC and made an unfortunate detour thru the Checker Auto Parts corner parking lot—Wow, how could there be a David Harries bistro near-by? Then, as I left the gravel, dust and the checkers, and turned onto 2nd South, my whole body was warmed by elegant Mustard columns, rays of glowing lights and immaculate landscaping out front—not to mention the wafting aromas of toasted breads and roasting veggies—where was I?
Vinto, as you enter, is new, clean, and very contemporary in an Italo-Mediterranean mode. The floors, especially were made of some great material—I think they were large tiles but had the warmth of wood. There were Art-Deco booths—all full—so I couldn’t sit in them but they were reminiscent of old Hollywood. I walked past a diner-like counter area and stopped to chat with friends—this place was hoppin!
In the back corner, just at the end of the kitchen area, there it was, the gleaming, cone-shaped, wood-burning oven—the sight of it and the smells coming from it gave me instant delight and I might say, a bit of sexual arousal?
My host, David Harries, came by just in time to explain to me that his idea about Vinto was to create a sort of “quick stop” bistro with fresh foods and a simplistic casual approach to dining—nice, but not too nice, fast but not too fast. The clean look of the place, the menus, table-settings and prices all reflected this philosophy.
Since I had been invited by QSaltLake to visit Vinto, I had the staff bring me their very best stuff. The manager, Loren Gared, was kind, savvy and attentive. I had invited a couple of friends to join me and we started with the House-made Meatballs. They were juicy and plump—I knew they had been baked, and were topped with a very Italian Marinara sauce and two heavenly, buttery toasts from my oven. (Why there were not three toasts puzzled me but there was enough for all.) I tasted some soft, Greek Oregano like what I grow in my garden and I loved the simplicity of the dish, my friends, however, thought it needed a little more seasoning—(you have to ask for salt and pepper.)
Next came the Verdura Chopped Insalata. This was just a mound of “chefly” chopped veggies which included roasted corn and avocado. Although I understood the concept of simplicity here—this salad needed help. There was almost no dressing that I could detect and very little herb and no garnish whatsoever. Later, in speaking to Loren I recommended a little more zip! If it were me, I’d add some finely diced red onion, some ground mustard and some tangy flavored vinegar or citrus juice to bump it up a notch. I also felt it could use more herb—mint perhaps. And, please, surround the plate with some of the Devine, Italian flat bread we were given, but had to ask for. To me—simplicity here went too far or the person making it didn’t taste it!
We were amazed when the Pizza came. It looked exactly like a picture I have in an old Italian cookbook. It was rustic, oval-shaped and topped with home-made, tender, sausage. The base was not saucy, but thinly sliced garden tomatoes, both red and yellow and the crust from my oven was phenomenal—were angels singing? The pizza came with a side of Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and chili flakes—a nice touch.
I saw a lot of customers ordering what looked like a large, open taco. When I asked what it was, they brought me one. It was called a Piadina and we got the one with crispy prosciutto, arugula and basil mayo—kind of a BLT Taco on steroids—we loved it!
The dessert too, was not disappointing and very elegant—the gelati and sorbetti were house-made, gorgeously presented and yummy—espresso, vanilla, peach, chocolate, honey-orange and Utah raspberry. We also had a gooey Molten Chocolate cake with a dollop of whipped cream on the side with home-made, candied orange peel as a garnish—very nice.
The wine list is very well though-out and complete—I would not have trouble choosing something I liked. We, however had brought our own wine—I had an ’04 Vosne-Romanee and my friends brought an Italian Taurasi which both complimented our food—the only thing which was a true disappointment to me was I had to drink these elegant wines from a glass I could pull down from above my sink! The cuisine in this place deserves wine glasses that people can swirl and dote upon. The simplicity thing—Mr. Harries—you’ve already crossed over into the elegant and the heavenly—don’t fight it—just put on your robes and bask in the glory!
Chef Drew H. Ellsworth, M.A., C.E.C.
Thanks for the note Corrinne. I have tried some of papa Mario’s pancetta and I agree, it’s incredible. It’s nice to see more and more small artisanal food producers popping up in the states. I also love the locally produced sausage Caputo’s has started carrying. I haven’t been able to sample their wild boar sausage yet, they were out last time, but I hear it’s darn good. My companion has a business partner who’s parents are Italian and he claims the sausages take him back to locally produced meats in his parent’s hometown. I’m not an Italian sausage expert, but they do remind me of something found at an Italian meat shop too. You know, the type that you try to smuggle into the states only to have taken by customs officials? Kudos to Vinto for taking the time and effort to produce their own sausage, and good sausage from the sound of it. Now if we could only fix the biscuit problem here in Salt Lake. I’m a southern gal, and southern buttermilk biscuits are not sweet!!!!! Right now, we head Cracker Barrel for our biscuit and sausage gravy fix. We can do better SLC! Until then, can’t wait to hit-up Vinto for some homemade meatballs and sausage! Also thanks Chef Ellsworth for the heads-up on the wine glass issue. We’ll bring our own just in case, but hope by our visit, Vinto has more suitable red glasses.
I have tried Vinto recently and I found the pizza to be completely flavorless, including the sausage. It lacked one essential ingredient…SALT!!! The entire thing needed salt (and a little evoo wouldn’t hurt) to bring out the flavor of the tomato, sausage and the crust. The crust had great texture but lacking in flavor. I had a friend who tried Vinto on a different occasion and said the same thing. We both were there for lunch on a Saturday (maybe the chef those days??). The meatballs were great as was the salad. But if you are going to have a pizza place, the pizza should be awesome. Its too bad because I really wanted Vinto to rock. Oh well.
I agree wholeheartedly with Kerrie – Vinto should have been good, but it was probably the most severely under seasoned restaurant food I have ever had! If you’re going to not put salt and pepper on the table, it’s pretty unforgivable to season so poorly.
Also, I have to complain about the pacing of the service. With no one waiting, we were rushed through from start to finish. 10 seconds after sitting down they wanted our drink order, the pizza arrived about 30 seconds after the salad, overwhelming the small table. Then, the server actually stood behind me and waited while I took the last bites of the dessert so she could leave the bill (while we still had half full drinks).
Contrary to Kerrie and Zak, I am one that prefers to taste the food not salt or pepper. I found that the servers at Vinto offered fresh crack pepper and provided a plate with red pepper flakes, dried oregano and parm cheese with my pizza, it was perfect. From what I was told and read on the menu, Vinto is all about fast service; I think it is called “fast casual” service, much like Cafe Niche or Noodles and Company. The prices are competitive to these type places and yet it provides such a better experience. I love this place for what it is, quality food, fast service, cool space, and GREAT prices!
Only just becoming familiar with Vinto and after reading Zak and Kerrie comments I am excited to try the food as I for one love to taste the flavor of the food over the salt and pepper
This is where wings and things used to be, man I miss wings and things, the best wings salt Lake ever had, please come back wings and things and bring your sauce too.
It’s about time they opened up a restaurant that offers quality food and “real” Pizza. Now I dont have to wait once or twice a year to eat pizza in NY. My only wish is that this place was a bit closer to me, they need to open more quickly!
I really wish people in Utah could appreciate amazing food. Vinto is by far the best “fast food” in the state. Prices are reasonable, the food is prepared fresh and when I say fresh you can hear them chopping the ingredients for your salad or pizza. I can’t believe how many people like over salted, peppered, or dried spice food in Utah. Kerrie and Zak you need to retrain your taste buds for what real food should taste like, rather than the reheated chain food its sounds like you enjoy.
Fifty bucks and we all left hungry. The pasta was bland. Pizza was good enough but not great. The portions were so small. Cramped next other diners and last… our tabled wobbled.
I’ve been to Vinto and the food is great! Zak and Kerrie: It’s not supposed to have a big flavor to it,
it’s Italian food. It’s not like American food that is a mix of crap. Vinto has real Italian food and I know that because I’m Italian. If you want a bad italian restaurant, go to your dumb Olive Garden! Now that is some bad food right there.