Thursday, December 17, 2009

Market Street Broiler

I once worked for a chef who demanded that our salads be plated on ice cold plates, preferably served with an ice cold fork. This tradition stems from an old food serving practice seldom followed in today's restaurants - serve hot food on hot plates, cold food on cold plates. When my side salad came to the table I immediately touched the plate and felt chills jolting up my spine...the plate was ice cold. The salad was a simple plate of mixed greens, a few cherry tomatoes, and cucumber slices. It made me smile...dinner at the Market Street Broiler tonight was going to be a flashback to old school.

When I opened the menu, I was reminded about the gamut of classic dishes the Broiler serves such as clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, and seafood Louie. These dishes have definitely stood the test of time and for whatever reason - I equate these old school classics with decadence; they give me a kind of Great Gatsby feeling and I'm not quite sure why. What's also nice about the Broiler though is that in addition to these many classics, they also offer some modern interpretations such as an Asian style salad with Ahi tuna which really balances out their classic approach quite nicely. As the kitchen proclaims itself a seafood specialist, ordering the seafood at the Broiler is a safe bet. So on this night, my dining companion and I decided to try out the early bird special which includes seafood or steak (we chose halibut as our fish), a starch (boiled, herbed potatoes, rice, or french fries), salad or soup to start, and dessert for $18.99 - a great value if you're in to dine before 7pm (this concept in and of itself is also old school - not many restaurants do such a thing anymore).

We also decided to try out the fresh catch of the day, the teriyaki glazed steelhead. Steelhead is in the trout family but its consistency and flavor is more similar to that of salmon. The fish on both plates were cooked perfectly. We requested a light breading on the halibut and it had a nice, crisp exterior with a very tender, flaky flesh. In contrast, the steelhead was glazed in a slightly sweet teriyaki sauce without being too cloyingly sweet. The steelhead was broiled to a perfect medium giving it a silky, smooth texture, which was balanced nicely with crunchy green beans and herbed rice pilaf. The dish composure wasn't fancy or modern at all - it was your basic dish: protein-starch-veg at a ratio of about 50%:25%:25% respectively (an old school ratio used for portioning food). The plating on the salmon was also quite basic. The food wasn't placed on the plate to be a modern work of art, plated in a way that makes you think a lot about wasn't extraordinary looking by any means - it was just food on a plate simply meant to be eaten and enjoyed. And that it was.

For dessert, we sampled their sabayon. Sabayon is a classic french custard-like sauce made with white wine (the Italian version is similarly tagged Zabaglione; when each is pronounced they actually sound more similar then they are spelled). At Market Street, they top off a small scoop of vanilla ice cream with their sabayon and top everything off with fresh berries and mint. The sabayon gave the ice cream a nice creaminess with an added depth of flavor from the white wine; the berries added a tart but sweet finish. It was really nice - not too overlwhelmingly sweet. Our evening was a hit, confirming the experiences I've had at the Broiler over and over for the past 10 years.

Gastronomy, the company that runs all of the Market Street restaurants, focuses their menu on heavy surf and turf options - an old school delight for sure. With fresh seafood delivered daily, Gastronomy's restaurants offer a regular menu of different seafood as described above but they also cater to heavy meat eaters as well. Their variety and quality of steaks is outstanding and their rack of ribs offers an excellent finger-licking-good option. I've been known to devour a whole rack of ribs with only a Hefeweizen in hand to wash it down. The ribs are that good. Their full service bar also offers a large variety of mixed drinks, wines, and beer - and  the restaurant decor lends itself to either a fancy dinner or a casual night out. The nautical theme around the restaurant isn't subtle as portholes and ship-style carpentry adorn everywhere. The upstairs is even shaped to look like you're eating on a ship of some sort. Although it sounds campy, it really isn't. The style maintains a modern, yet truly elegant feel...which really sums up my evaluation of the Broiler: unassuming but good food, great service, and a wonderful environment. The Broiler offers classics that take you back to when cold salad plates and basic three-part plating were in vogue, yet it still remains both modern and elegant enough to feel like I'm not actually eating through a cheesy recreation of the Love Boat. It's an old school sort of way.

Market Street Broiler ~ Salt Lake City, Utah
260 South 1300 East
Chef Hans Cluff

Market Street Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. This really is one of the worst restaurants in SLC... can't believe that you liked it. Gastronomy could only survive in a town like Salt Lake where lack of options and a general lack of palette eventually conditions residents to accept restaurants like Market Street as passable.

  2. Well I certainly can think of worse restaurants. I've found the meals I've had at the Broiler quite nice (haven't been to other locations for dinner). The food and presentation is dated for sure (see blog for details) but there is a nostalgic touch that I appreciate. Having been several times, I can't say that I was ever disgusted by the food or that I've gotten miscooked food or bad service. Also I don't think the Broiler pretends to be something it's not - it's an old school steak/seafood place. Nothing more, nothing less. The meals I've had have been good and that's what I judge on. We're certainly not talking French Laundry caliber here - just some grilled fish with basic sides...

  3. I love the place and overlook the minor service confusion and inconsistencies as just par for the course of serving picky people. (Definately the pickiest eaters go there!) The FOOD is always energising, GREAT Coffee, High end cleanliness and a genuine desire to give you a good meal. The price is still amazing for breakfast, as who serves real fish for breakfast, not overly poached or sliced to smitherines! If I was a person that eats at only 1 resturant (and I don't by far!) This would be it! Hollidase sauce is the best in town. Yes it's pricey if you just try n' order like a loose goose, (French toast is a meal, not a side) but if you read the menu, its full of great deals!