Postcard From Tom: Salt Lake City

By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 6, 2002

Host to the 2002 Winter Olympics, the U.S. city with the highest consumption of Jell-O per capita—and something of a fetish for ketchup—isn’t known for its memorable menus. But these three restaurants help make Salt Lake City ready for prime time:

BY MOONLIGHT (264 S. Main St., 801-321-0160):

Chef Adam Kreisel watches over the most eclectic restaurant in the valley. His food, which he calls “multi-ethnic fusion,” features monkfish-stuffed “Asian beignets” and grilled venison served with truffled risotto and a cranberry-sake glaze. The dining room, meanwhile, is labled “soft-industrial,” which translates into waxed concrete tables, lots of metal work and an enormous TV screen in the open kitchen. But guess what? It mostly works. Entrees $17-$25.

METROPOLITAN (173 W. Broadway, 801-364-3472):

Am I in San Francisco? It sure tastes that way, as I tuck into one fresh and beautiful course after another in this warmly modern renovated warehouse. Jonathan Perno was an organic farmer and a baker in an earlier life, and it shows in the young chef’s thoughtful cooking today. Celery and parsley salad sparkles. A winy oxtail ragout drapes over perfect gnocchi. Lush tuna sports a fine coat of coriander and cumin. There’s more to savor: the wine list is a grape lover’s dream, and live jazz accompanies dinner on Saturday. Entrees $18-$36.

THIRD WEST BISTRO (307 W. 270 South, 801-328-3463):

What used to house a Firestone is now the setting for an American bistro whose open design and restful colors encourage leisurely meals. Just as welcoming is the food, running from a chowder thick with halibut and smoked bacon to herb-roasted chicken, beef bourguignon and (be sure to save some room!) banana crepes, served warm with ginger ice cream. Not to worry; a stroll through the neighboring art galleries will help burn some calories. Entrees $14-$26.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company