Forage – Salt Lake City, Utah


Okay, try as I might to come up with a clever title for this blog… I just couldn’t think of anything witty enough. At least… nothing to do Forage any justice with the ample amount of respect attached.

Chefs Viet Pham and Bowman Brown have recently been acclaimed one of Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs 2011. It’s rare we ever see this sort of national praise from a Utah establishment. So, well… we had to try.

Set at a very nonchalant house in the 9th and 9th neighborhood, Forage can be easy to miss if you don’t keep an eye out – 370 East 900 South, 84111. There is plenty of street parking around as well as a small parking lot available in the back.

From there, the grandness of it all begins. Our server delightfully greeted us as I pulled up on my bike and just happened to run into Michael. A bit of parking guidance and as we entered… doors were opened for us. First class, indeed.

We were quickly greeted at our table with crisp cool water in nice Riedel glasses (the O-Riedel water glass, I believe). There were no decisions to be made, but a menu was placed at each setting to showcase what was in store for the night –  a five course prix-fixe menu.

Okay, okay… enough of my blabber. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Roasted sweet onion croquette. As our server allowed us to grab one from the tray, she warned of the “liquid center.” Take it in one bite for the full effect.

Um, I did not take a photo because it went by so fast, but there’s a great one of it here: Forage SLC Blog. Panko crusted (or so it seems) with a quick crunch that explodes to a delicious sweet but savory burst of soup. Yum.

So, FIRST COURSE:

Soft scrambled egg with a maple syrup and sherry cream, then sprinkled with chives (?). Basically – breakfast kicked up about 100 notches of fancy. The sweetness is a welcome touch.

SECOND COURSE:

Smoked salmon roe (“ikura” for sushi lovers) with pickled squash, yoghurt and a homemade buckwheat cracker. I’d have to say the cracker was my favorite part – it reminded me of something along the likes of a Japanese senbei (cracker).

Then we had some bread with house-churned butter and a wild salad with a few greens right from the greenhouse out back. So fresh!

Wild herbs, greens and flowers with fresh curds and whey. I LOVED the smoked buttermilk dressing with the curds and whey. When I ate these fresh greens, I did sort of feel as if Little Miss Muffet went to CIA and came up with this salad while sitting on her tuffet…

THIRD COURSE:

Roasted Maine scallop with young turnips, peas and a smoked bonito (fish flakes) butter. I love scallop(s). Oh, so tenderly cooked.

FOURTH COURSE:

Jackfish with asparagus, grapefruit and coconut. I wish I could recall what the dark nutty bits were, but I can’t remember! They were so good!! There were so many flavors to this dish, my taste buds were bouncing off the walls. It was incredible. Viet/Bowman – if you are reading this, I may need another taste to properly assess this dish.

FIFTH DISH:

A 21 (or was it 24 or 28?) day aged beef with garlic, grains and charred kale. The grains were sooooo good! Chi mentioned that the burnt ends of the kale… “are so good!” And… perhaps you can tell, but this is about the time the sun started disappearing over the horizon. We lost our lighting!

A shot to whet the appetite for dessert – juniper soda with a spoon of lemon sorbet.

And what better way to keep you wanting more than the dessert! Douglas fir ice cream with a dollop of homemade yoghurt, toasted oats, crushed rhubarb and sorrel. It tasted like a forest! It was very interesting, intriguing…

Michael and I were still hungry for more so we also opted for the additional cheese platter: local artisan cheeses with… the best part… wait for it…. wait for it…. homemade apricot preserves and buckwheat crackers.

With the bill, another pleasant sweet surprise – chocolate caramels.

We had reservations for 7:00 pm and probably did not finish until close to 10:00 pm. Although I can definitely see my bank account floating a bit higher as it lightened, it was definitely worth it. An experience and culinary adventure completely deserving in taste and service – check it out!

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