According to regional gardening lore, it’s safe to plant tomatoes once you can see the last snowmelt off the Oquirrh Mountains (that’d be pronounced “OH-kerr,” for those unfamiliar with this local bit of geological wonderment). But luckily for us all, we needn’t wait for spring thaw to enjoy the Salt Lake Valley’s local, seasonal flavors; they’re abundant at Oquirrh restaurant, a snug and inviting spot on the eastern fringe of Downtown.
Loyal locavores to their cores, Chef Andrew and GM Angelena Fuller comprise the duo responsible for this stellar setup. And, while they may be young in years, the Fullers have worked at some of SLC’s best and brightest dining spots. They’re not fanatical about their sourcing radius, but these two are super persnickety about the details that matter, like top-notch ingredients, beautiful, hand-thrown ceramic ware that serves as a neutral, earthy palette for the deftly plated dishes, and a high-level of attention to service that does not disappoint.
Chef Drew confidently commands a small but mighty-talented kitchen crew, and, when a chef with this legend-level care for veggies is at the helm, we make it a point to order selections like griddled hearty greens, kale and rye risotto, and milk-braised potatoes (served table-side with a warm whey vinaigrette pour-over—if you feel the way we do about these, you’ll probably end up ordering two). The menu changes with the seasons, but we hope Oquirrh never, ever does away with the comforting confit chicken pot pie, and the same goes for any iteration of their house-made pasta (in particular the butter-poached lobster in delicate celery sauce). And though the dishes served here are consistent with some of the best fine dining in the region, neither the preparation nor presentation are fussy here.
It’s just clean, creative, and consistently satisfying food served with care.
The delightful cocktail menu and powerful-but-petite wine list keep in time with the unpretentious and diminutive scale of their space (which, by the way, serves as a revolving gallery featuring Utah artists; when we stopped by, the oversized, intentionally distorted and doctored photographs of John McCarthy’s “Downtown Rising, Part 2” series filled the space with color and motion.) In the spirit of taking care of their staff as much as they do their customers, Oquirrh gives their kitchen some recharge time by keeping Wednesday-Sunday dinner hours along with a sweet and savory, balanced weekend brunch. Like the gold mine legendarily hidden in this eatery’s namesake mountain range, this gem of a restaurant is decidedly a local treasure.
Oquirrh Restaurant, 368 E 100 South