Postcard From Tom: Salt Lake City
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema's monthly report from the road.

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