Sunday, April 25, 2010


'...they still got it.'

Three things I like about spring: 1) an end to snow, 2) the weather is not too hot yet, but not freezing cold (it reminds me a lot of the weather I grew up with in the bay area), and 3) new spring restaurant menus. New spring menus mean that a restaurant changes their menu according to the seasons. Eating what's in season means using the freshest product out there; it's also a nice change to the monotony people might feel in a menu that stays the same year in and year out. I think we all get in a rut, eating what we know and love at our favorite establishments. The thought of something new on the menu allows a restaurant to grow and re-introduce itself to you. It had been a while since I had been to the Metropolitan...and I felt like it was time to get re-acquainted.

The Metropolitan offers a great space - the mix of materials such as exposed concrete, stainless steel, and polished copper all work together in a fluid modern concept. You can't help but feel sophisticated and chic in this place. The service is equally as bright, with obvious professionals aiding you at the front door, serving you pre-dinner cocktails at the bar, and executing near flawless service tableside during your meal. The experience is seamless at the Metropolitan; it's easy to be there...and the good news is that it's even easier to eat there. We started our meal off with an amuse bouche of a crisp potato wafer in a potato and leek puree. This duo of potato nicely reflected a deep, rich potato flavor in the puree with the crispy potato adding some nice crunch. We started our meal off with ease.

We continued with a plate of the artisanal green salad. The salad was lovely, lightly dressed in a creamy ramp dressing, topped with shaved fennel, crispy sweet potato, and smoked onions. The smoked onions gave a nice smokey background and almost a pickled kind of taste - adding some zest to the salad. This paired nicely with the licorice flavor from the fennel and the sweetness of the potato crisps. Ramps, which are relatives of the leek, really give this salad a nice bright, spring coating in the form of a creamy vinaigrette. This composed salad was really quite amazing....artisanal indeed.

We continued to be impressed with our entrees. The Utah trout was particularly satisfying, served over a pear and pistachio puree alongside some radishes and fiddlehead ferns. The trout was well cooked, although I thought the skin could have been crisper (I'm a big fan of crispy fish skin) and the pistachio and pear puree offered a rich, sweet, nutty, and creamy alternative to mashed potatoes. The soft texture of trout paired with a soft puree screams for some texture and that's where the fiddlehead ferns came in. If you've never had a fiddlehead fern, I suggest you try it...before it's too late. Fiddlehead ferns are only available for a limited time in the spring so I'm sure this is one entree on the Metropolitan's menu that will change in the next month. The fiddlehead ferns are a bit like green beans in that they don't have a strong flavor, but they offered a nice crunch to the otherwise soft accoutrements.

Also pretty amazing was the Wagyu beef. Wagyu is essentially the American version of Japanese Kobe beef, arguably the best beef in the world. At the Metropolitan, their Wagyu is served over fava beans and ciopollini onions, with mashed leeks and cashew butter. The beef, cooked perfectly medium-rare melted in your mouth. I hate to say it because it's kind of cliche - but it was like butter. The onion and mashed leek gave it an American steakhouse appeal but the cashew butter added a richness that brought this dish to another level. Could it get any better than this?

Indeed it did. Better came in the form of dessert: a red curry crepe served with caramelized bananas and chocolate with a dollop of yogurt sorbet on top. In a word: delicious. The bananas were sweet and silky, a hint of cinnamon gave it a Banana's Fosters feel. The use of red curry in the crepe batter was ingenious. The curry offers a slight bit of heat as well as that wonder factor. If the menu hadn't told me there was curry in the crepe, I would have never guessed it. It doesn't register on your tongue as the spice that you know from Indian or Thai food - but the crepe has a unique flavor that keeps you guessing and that's what I really enjoyed. The chocolate and yogurt sorbet melted into a sauce that really brought the entire thing together. A superb ending to a great meal.

The dessert, the entire meal really, kept me on my toes, taking food I was familiar with and giving it a little unique twist - turning everything into something a little more special. To me that's what New American cooking is all about: a modern interpretation on classic American flavors. The Metropolitan is a master at its craft. In my mind it was the first and is really still one of the few forerunners of modern, cutting edge food here in Salt Lake City. The Metropolitan has long been Utah's model for New American Cuisine and their new spring menu is a reminder to me that sometimes the tried and true places like the Metropolitan...they still got it.

The Metropolitan ~ Salt Lake City, Utah
173 West Broadway
Principal Owner: Karen Olson
Executive Chefs: Chris Durfee and Justin Shifflett

Metropolitan on Urbanspoon


  1. Another really fantastic review CD! Always look forwarding to reading your reviews, always in depth and informative.

    Haven't been to the Met in years, after a so-so meal.


  2. Thanks Stuart. You should give it another go and see if your experience is any different. Let me know if you do...I'd love to hear your thoughts. -CD

    Oh - I wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten my promise of a guest blog on gastronomicslc. It's in the works as we speak... =)