Tired of those boring end of year lists written by folks who couldn’t tell a blini from a bellini? If so, might we tempt you a list created by, well you, our super smart reader? Excellent. In no particular order then, here’s what got you guys the most excited and hot under the collar this year, based on likes received on our Instagram account during 2015…
Spitz – A veritable titan on social media during 2015. Whether it’s their original downtown location, the latest Sugarhouse iteration or just a quick to go order – public approval, nay, out right fandom for Spitz is off the charts.
It’s not hard to see why, the concept is whip smart. Affordable, casual cuisine that is vibrant and vivacious. Couple that with a roster of local brews on tap or bottle, cocktails and wine – and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Caffe Niche – New chef Andy Morrison certainly made an impression this year taking over at this downtown favorite. And with desserts like the Irish coffee French toast pictured above, how couldn’t she? Challah bread is battered with Baileys (!) dipped in espresso and served with whipped cream, whiskey caramel, espresso syrup and chocolate shavings. With Morrison’s new menu being offered in its entirety all day long, you can eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. And you should.
Naked Fish – Naked Fish is my hands down favorite restaurant in SLC. You guys seem to agree as well, you guys are awesome by the way. Naked Fish is a true ensemble effort under the guidance of owner Johnny Kwon; from the familiar smiling face of executive sushi chef Sunny Tsogbadrakh up front to executive chef Akane Nakamura out back – Naked Fish creates dishes that I can only describe as sublime.
Their omakase creations feature course after course of mind blowing precision, replete with technique and talent you simply won’t find anywhere else in town; fresh wasabi root grated with a shark skin paddle? Imported Japanese binchotan charcoal used to lightly kiss and char the outside of delicate fish? Uni, octopus and giant clam, almost as fresh as reaching right into the ocean? It’s all here, and so much more.
Chedda Burger – A late comer to the best of party, but the excited response to this picture was clear. The ‘urban campfire’ shake topped with a smoking, ember of a marshmallow got pulses racing. Expect to hear a lot more about these guys in 2016.
One of the few food trucks to make the leap back to bricks and mortar the menu is packed full of indulgent, nay insane, creations. Take for example the Kill Me Softly burger with bacon, blue cheese, arugula, cranberry gastrique all hosted on, wait for it, a Krispy Kreme Donut…
Pictures on Instagram: one.
Chef Craig Gerome – For much of 2015 Gerome headed up the kitchen team at The Annex by Epic Brewing. During his tenure the food at The Annex was some of the best SLC has seen in as long as I can remember, and to boot, drop dead gorgeous on the plate.
Chef Gerome has since left for pastures new. Now working within the La Salle group of restaurants expect to see both him and his considerable talent resurface sometime in 2016.
Hot Dynasty – Another fine addition to the dining options at South Salt Lake’s Chinatown development. The cuisine here is largely Sichuan influenced, but in truth, with more than 240 dishes on the expansive menu there’s much more than a single region to sample. I reviewed the restaurant for the SL Tribune back in May.
Current Fish & Oyster and Under Current Bar – This heavyweight creation from La Salle and Trio group restaurants made some serious waves (see what I did there) in 2015. A restaurant space that looks like the million bucks that actually did go into creating it and a team of big names from chef Logen Crew, bar whizz Amy Eldredge and sommelier James Santangelo.
Drinks, drinks, drinks – One thing is abundantly clear from our Instagram over the past 12 months, all of this is thirsty work, and a drink or three is always in order. And how SLC’s restaurants, bars, brewers, and distillers have risen to the challenge. It seems like every week we have a new craft beer, spirit or cider. Couple that with an ever growing trend in like minded events (farm to glass contests, food and wine events, beer fests and more) and its clear SLC can sate most thirsts.
And on that note, cheers to a great 2015, let’s all raise a glass to 2016!
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.