Let me start this post with a question: why does anyone EVER eat at Chilis? Or Applebees? Or Olive Garden? Why OH why, when you can get amazing food at local eating establishments with fresh local fare that is priced sometimes far lower than these chain restaurants where everything served comes out of a frozen bag? I am baffled.
That brings me to quite a lovely local downtown restaurant called Vinto. Vinto is a charming little restaurant that has a modern feel. The decor and atmosphere are great for nearly every eating occasion you could think of–from a client lunch to a nice night out. Everything from the style and straight lines to the modern tables and chairs, all really create an atmosphere where you feel as though you are dining at a restaurant that pays attention to detail.
I was only at Vinto for a quick lunch, but since I had never been before, I really wanted to do a review of what we were able to try. I had heard that I could NOT pass up the artichoke appetizer, so that was first on my list to order. This is a wonderful dish that is very full of flavor and perfectly light for such an occasion. I have to say as well, never having been an arugula fan, I am starting to really like this bitter lettuce with other things such as tomatoes and artichokes, especial when a rich olive oil is involved. The Grilled Artichoke ($7.00) was delicious. It is served with shallot vinaigrette and arugula and you simply must have your server finish it off with some fresh ground black pepper. This stunning appetizer was close to perfection.
When I do a review, I try to order off the regular menu, as the specialty menus at restaurants (especially ones that are local) change quite often. However, on this occasion, there was a pizza on the specialty menu that I couldn’t pass up. For $12.00 they were offering a pizza dressed in brie and Utah pears, spicy honey glaze, and mozzarella. How do you say no to that? And I wasn’t disappointed. I was worried the pears may be overcooked and mushy. They were not. I was worried that the honey would be overwhelming. It was not. It was sort of a perfect concoction of sweet and savory. This pizza should be on the menu all time so that I can have it whenever I want (I am selfish like that). It was delicious.
I also loved the fresh way the condiments came out with the pizza!
My friend Kristen ordered the Italian Chopped Salad ($8.50). It was light, but had a good mix of flavors. The pancetta that was diced up into small bits made for a great salty flavor against the Italian dressing, and the bread stick was pretty awesome too–crunchy and salty; a perfect match. The salad was certainly a nice light choice to go with the pizza.
As a “critic” (I hate that word), I have been tying to find something about my Vinto experience that I didn’t like. But really, I walked away full–but not over indulged. I really felt as though the ingredients were seasonal and as local as possible, which is really important to me as a consumer. The flavors were fresh, the service was good, and the prices were spot on. I am really looking forward to trying everything else on their menu. Everything from the coffee to the gelato to the pasta looks great. And as I always say, support our local business here in Salt Lake!! Let those chain restaurants go by the way side–there is just no reason to eat that frozen food in this wonderful city!
Find Vinto at:
418 East 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111