Finca * – Spring menus are now starting to blossom, so expect a flurry of these over the coming weeks. The first of which comes from our pals at Finca, who sent us the following thoughtful explanation of their new menu and inspiration therein. Owner Scott Evans kicked things off by email:
“It’s bigger and bolder than our previous menus with approximately 40 items – almost double the size of our current menu. We wanted to bring some new Spanish flavors and combinations to the menu, make use of great spring produce like asparagus, carrots, peas, spring greens and more, expand our vegetarian options (several which can be made vegan) and continue to raise the bar on our classic dishes.”
The kitchen team of Dallas Olson, Carter Light, Jaime Muniz and Phelix Gardner contributed more details on the Spring menu:
“We’ve really been inspired this time by a few things that we wanted to make more prominent on the menu. First is our commitment to food sustainability. We’ve always bought from local producers, but we want to bring Finca’s quality and focus on sustainability to a new level. Before finalizing any menu item, we tested products from many of our suppliers and only added things to the menu that we felt represented the best quality product from local sources.
Almost our entire menu is made in-house and completely from scratch – we buy the best produce we can from local farms, we use organic eggs, we have a robust in-house butchering program to make things like house-made sausage and meatballs and ensure top quality of all our meat products, we make our breads and pastries in-house daily. This means we can be holistic in our use of products and cut down on food waste, while making higher quality and better tasting food.”
“This is Finca’s third year as a restaurant, and we continue to explore different regions and cultures in Spain through the food. Moroccan culture has a big influence in Spain’s food, spices and flavors and we wanted to bring some Moroccan elements to the spring menu, like the pollo tagine – a slow-cooked savory stew made in a traditional clay tagine pot, and the cous cous with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spring vegetables, and black pepper and mint ricotta.
We also greatly expanded our vegetarian options (some of which can be made vegan). We always like to have a few tasty vegetarian choices and ended up adding even more than we expected because there are such great produce options right now and everything tasted so good! So we added and just kept adding – we’ve got verduras de primavera sautéed spring vegetables with a simple romesco sauce and shallots, gazpacho aguacate a cold avocado soup with orange, candied pistachios and cilantro, queso horneado a baked goat cheese with red pepper jam and house lavosh, ensalada de setas asparagus salad with pickled mushrooms, poached egg, iberico lardo and and crisp mushrooms, paella de vegetal with spring vegetables, saffron aioli and globe artichokes, along with some of the classics on our menu like the papas y aioli and the ensalada de remolacha salad with beets and pickled strawberries.”
“We had fun adding more traditional Spanish items to the menu like the jamon serrano shaved Spanish ham, chef daily presentation of empanadas, a traditional paella catalana and vegetarian paella de vegetal, and a daily selection of 4-6 pintxos (small 1-2 bite appetizers) like datils fried dates with bacon and Cabralese blue cheese or beet pickled deviled eggs.
We love steak and wanted to feature a “steak lover’s steak” on the menu, the bistec braseado. It’s a large cut of meat – 24 oz of Niman Ranch bone-in rib eye – and is just such a quality piece of meat. We prepare it simply with a perfect sear so the meat takes center stage, and just add a little romesco and glazed vegetables on the side. It’s expensive but we think worth every penny for someone who really appreciates a great steak.”
327 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Kyoto * – One of SLC’s most venerable restaurants has recently welcomed acclaimed chef Peggi Ince-Whiting to its kitchen. Peggi’s love of Japanese cuisine and creative combinations of new flavors are an exciting new addition to Kyoto. While the original menu that Sam and Yoshiko Tada created when they opened in 1984 will remain largely unchanged due to popular demand, Peggi has a new focus on the popular sushi bar that was added in 2001.
“I’m so excited to be working with the LaSalle Restaurant Group,” said Whiting. “It’s a joy to work with such professionals. This gives me the chance to meet so many of Kyoto’s regular customers and to work with the talented sushi chef, Steve Park. ” The new sushi menu, released April 1, will introduce diners to some new tastes, as well as some of Whiting’s classical favorites. Peggi and Steve have created many new specialty rolls for Kyoto. New to the menu:
* Tuna tataki: slightly seared tuna served over marinated cucumbers
* Funky charley roll – tempura fried roll with spicy tuna, green onion and wasabi mayo
* Ichigo roll: spicy crab salad and avocado topped with yellowtail and fresh strawberries
* Pink power roll: shrimp tempura, cucumber, asparagus, avocado and spicy mayonnaise rolled in pink tofu paper
* Mars roll: shrimp tempura with crab, tuna, avocado, tobiko and eel sauce
* Miso esco roll: miso marinated asparagus, escolar and cucumber
* Green eggs and ham Roll: with yellowtail, scallions, kaiware sprouts, cucumber topped with wasabi tobiko and siracha chili sauce
* Lobster roll: crab, asparagus and avocado topped with baked lobster, tobiko and kaiware sprouts
* Deadly spider roll: soft shell crab, spicy sauce, lettuce and cucumber
Peggi Ince-Whiting: Peggi has been making sushi in Utah for over 30 years. She is one of a handful of female chefs to work behind a sushi bar in Japan. Peggi was trained by Sushi Master Inou at Hama Sushi in Tokyo. After finishing her apprenticeship under Master Inou, Peggi returned to her native Utah to open her own restaurant, Ichiban Sushi. Over the 20 years that Peggi owned and operated Ichiban she received many awards and acknowledgements for her talent from US publications such as Bon Appetite, Fine Cooking and Zagat. She has also received notations in numerous Japanese publications.
Steve Park – Sushi Chef: Steve Park began learning his artistic style of sushi making at Samurai Sushi and Zakuro Sushi in Sacramento, CA. After 20 years of developing his skills, he moved to the Bay Area where he spent the next few years. Steve continued to hone his abilities in other fine California establishments until he decided to move to Utah and explore opportunities in the Rocky Mountains. Steve’s artistic eye and creative skills have added beauty and sophistication to the sushi at Kyoto. His beautiful displays of sashimi and sushi presentation show the real artistry of his work.
1080 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Current Fish And Oyster – Downtown’s newest fine dining option is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., then serving a limited menu from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Boasting an all-new weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Turning their talents to mid-day, chef Crew and his culinary team have created hot and cold small plates, composed salads, sandwiches, farm-fresh egg dishes, and delicious fresh oyster offerings. Pastry chef Alexa Norlin creates delectable desserts to round out the meal. Always with a highlight on freshness and high-quality ingredients, the cuisine is straightforward with a spotlight on healthy choices and sustainability.
The lunch menu entices with the best of east and west coast oysters, along with the best chowder in town, crab cakes, grilled calamari and other hot dishes. Cold plate selections of house smoked salmon, smoked clam dip and Current’s signature shrimp cocktail complement thoughtful salad selections like organic kale, albacore BLT, seafood cobb and chopped spinach. Sumptuous sandwiches like shrimp salad, grilled fish, and a tasso ham melt with Gruyère are offered alongside a caramelized organic salmon filet entrée and land-locked offerings like the Un-Common burger and a chicken sandwich.
Chef Crew’s brunch menu includes some items from the newly created lunch offerings and adds farm-fresh egg dishes. Highlights include a crab Benedict, fried chicken and waffle, spring vegetable hash, cornmeal biscuits and gravy, shrimp and white cheddar grits and the 3rd and 3rd omelet.
The emphasis on vibrant beverage offerings is equal to the focus on the cuisine. James Santangelo, beverage director for The LaSalle and Trio Restaurant Dining Groups and well-known wine and spirit educator, has created a fun line-up of brunch drinks. In addition to the traditional Bloody Mary, he offers a Verde Maria with tequila, comprised of roasted tomatillo, cucumber and cilantro. A Violet Fizz with gin, creme de violette, lemon, egg white and soda is offered in addition to seasonal Bellinis, Irish coffee, La Barba coffee selections, and Numi loose leaf teas.
279 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Park City – If you’re headed up to Park City to escape our recent heat wave, take note that many restaurants will be temporarily closing or adjusting their hours for the spring shoulder season. Here are the respective closing dates or schedule amendments for the restaurants, provided by (and members of) the Park City Area Restaurant Association:
Closed April 11 to mid-June
Closed April 13 to May 21
Closed April 13 to May 21
Closed Sundays and Mondays until early June
Closed May 4 to 6
Closed April 13th only
Closed May 4 to 6
Closed April 13 to June 30. Reopening July 1 for dinner only
Closed April 18 to May 6
Closed April 13 through May 21
Deer Valley Fireside Dining
Closed for the season April 4.
Deer Valley Grocery~Café
Closed April 13th only
Deer Valley’s Snow Park, Silver Lake and Empire Lodges
Open through last day of Season Sunday, April 12th
Escala Provisions Company
Closed April 5 to mid-June
Closed April 12 to June 30
Closed April 12 to May 27
Closed Mondays for the shoulder season starting April 13
Closed April 13 and 14
Closed April 19 at 8 p.m. to May 4
Closed April 12 to May 29
Riverhorse On Main
Closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from April 26 to June 6
Royal Street Café
Closed for lunch service April 12 to June 18. Closed for dinner service for the season April 4
Closed for the season April 4
Closed April 6 through June 3
Closed Friday through Sunday from April 12 to mid-June
Closed March 28 to June 11
Closed for the season for lunch service April 6
Closed for the season for dinner service April 12
Closed Sundays and Mondays from April 13 to June 6
Open for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
* Gastronomic SLC is a proud local partner of Finca and Kyoto.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.