It’s a delight to find a menu paying true homage to its restaurant’s region, and Chef Tamara Stanger’s vision of local food, served at the new Lakehouse restaurant on Deer Creek, goes there in a way few do. Chef Stanger was raised in rural Utah, learning a knack for foraged food that sets her work far apart from the rest. After opening several successful restaurants in Arizona, she’s back in Utah, on familiar wild grounds.
Chef Stanger brings the foraging skill developed in her youth to the kitchen, along with profound respect and passion for traditional ingredients and preparations that date back to the native people who first lived in the Wasatch Front area. In a time when restaurants across the valley boast their ability to bring us dishes from all over the world (which, to be clear, is an absolute gift), it’s arresting and refreshing to sit down to a meal that’s both exquisitely detailed and aggressively local–that came from the ground, the fields, and the farms nearby.
Chef adds playful nods to the pioneers who came later and their descendants. In an evening of menu exploration, you might start on a Utah-style fried scone, but one with textural perfection that would make all the neighbor ladies feel bad, plated on a pool of luscious duck fat butter. You could move to an earthy tostada piled with tiny, beautiful, not-quite-recognizable flora, and then sip a tart rhubarb cocktail while you wait for dessert.
Dessert at the Lakehouse, by the way, is something you absolutely shouldn’t miss: this is not a place with phoned-in afters. The chef has an entire Instagram account devoted entirely to her achievements in pie. The silky chocolate refrigerator pie we tried was unassuming in appearance but I’d count it one of the best deployments of chocolate in a pastry crust I’ve ever had.
Specials rotate often at The Lakehouse, which is an excellent sign for a place so focused on local and seasonal ingredients. Watch Chef Stanger’s Instagram for current offerings; recent drops have included a warm squash cake with whipped goat cream and local trumpet mushrooms prepared burnt-ends style, served over wild rice spaetzle. Try to time your visit to catch the spectacular sunset over the reservoir, but even if you don’t, this unique meal experience with a view is well worth the drive.
5317 US-189 S, Heber City, UT 84032
Disclosure: Gastronomic SLC was invited to visit and sample the restaurant as part of a media event.
I’m Christy, I love the Oxford comma, and eating isn’t my full-time job but you’d never know it. Find me spending all my spare minutes prowling restaurants, markets, and food trucks around SLC, then filling the internet with photos and descriptions of what I love … which is just about everything. I specialize in hot and sweet—food, that is—and I’m an ardent supporter of eating local and supporting small.
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