It seems as though it has been a life time ago since my tasting trip to the High West Distillery & Saloon in Park City. The past six weeks jumped off the map in terms of organizing anything long enough to write the absolutely lovely review that this restaurant & distillery deserves. So, although long overdue, let’s have at it!
We all know that I am a wine girl at heart. When I think of a beverage to “pair” with food, it is rare that I consider anything else. However, I have always been intrigued with the idea of pairing tequila with great Mexican food or Whiskey with great comfort food. High West offers this exact experience. High West has been a distillery since the 1870′s, so they know a thing or two about whiskey. That was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was the amazing food that is served along side their signature cocktails and whiskey flights.
But, let’s start with the whiskey, shall we?
High West whiskey has always been a favorite of mine, although I wouldn’t call myself a regular partaker of whiskey in general. However, when I do drink it, I like to stick to the more high-end brands. And, the fact that High West is local makes it even more appealing. Using High West liquor and the freshest cocktail ingredients you can find will definitely make for an amazing libation experience.
The High West Lemonade was first on the menu, and recommended by our bartender. Fresh squeezed high west lemonade, double rye, and fresh mint made this a super refreshing cocktail for the middle of July (yes, it has been THAT long)!
The Dead Man’s Boots was something I couldn’t NOT order, because fresh ginger and I have a special relationship–the kind that means I don’t pass it up often. This cocktail was made with double rye, tequila, fresh lime, and ginger beer. Yay bubbles! This sucker went down smooth and light!
A little later in the meal, I had to try one more–for the sake of the review of course. The High West Silver Julep was, by far, my favorite of the evening. Cucumber? Mint? Rye? Yes, please!
And we can’t stop there, because we were at High West on the infamous “Whiskey Wednesday,” where whiskey flights and delicious food specials are presented on a menu specifically for that day. For $8, a flight of suggested whiskey was presented to our table for tasting. Good thing there were 3 of us! The Silver Whiskey got the most thumbs up for the evening–and the fact that each whiskey was served with a write up about the history of the whiskey and the flavor notes was really helpful in picking out the different flavors in each whiskey.
Now that we have covered what High West has been known for, I can’t express enough how much we all enjoyed our meals as well.
We started off with some stinky cheese that made us all happy! The Melted Mountain Cheese ($9) was pure, unadulterated heaven. It was oozing, bubbling, silky perfection and came with some amazing pickled veggies on the side. I had never experienced a pickled potato before, but I am of the thought that most things pickled are usually pretty fantastic. I was correct. The onions, pickles, potatoes, and carrots were divine and accented the creaminess of the cheese perfectly. This was my favorite dish we ordered!
I am a sucker for speciality menu items–which doesn’t make it easier for you, the reader, because usually that means that you might not be able to order that particular menu item on a regular day. But, my job is to write about the best food possible, and this dish was one of them! When someone says “pork belly,” you might cringe. Don’t. There is no reason. I had pork belly for the first time in a soup at a bar in Portland called The Victory and ever since have been a serious fan of the belly of pork.
It is rich and super fattening–which is what makes it so amazing. Pork Belly isn’t something to eat a lot, but if you can get it, try it! This pasta wore a light creamy garlic sauce with pork belly and that beautiful green stem on top is the top end of garlic, which is called garlic scape. The pork belly was definitely featured and no other flavor took over. It could have been very easy to do a rich heavy sauce with this dish, but that would have been far too much flavor explosion for one mouth to contain. So, High West did this one right by keeping everything else secondary. AMAZING.
The other two dishes ordered at the table were also fantastic. The Idaho Elk & Chanterelle Musrooms ($28) had a beautiful presentation and complementary flavors. I am not huge into game meat, but this was pretty ok. The plate was certainly cleaned by its owner and the Distiller’s Grain Spatzli with Kumquat Cranberry Relish on the side was delightful. Also, the High West Burger ($14) was perfection. Organic Niman Ranch Farm’s Beef and Rolling Hills Ranch Bison made for a hearty meat patty and the whiskey onions and gruyere added hints of smoke and good old fashioned western spices. The fries on the side were also tasty, crisp, and perfectly salted.
And, because it was Whiskey Wednesday, the small plates special had quite the gem: Blackened Kodiak Halibut with Sherry Champagne Grape Gastrique. Oh, momma! We didn’t even get a photo of this one before breaking into it. The blackened taste with the white fish, complimented by the sweet grape compote on the side was a spicy/sweet that I haven’t tasted too often. Perfect combination!
Yes, we are beyond full at this point. BUT, we couldn’t pass up dessert. This sweet treat brought a joyous tear to my eye! Metaphorically, of course. :) I have a hard time passing up a donut of any kind. This was no exception. Don’t pass up the High West Grillswith ($8), which is a grilled cinnamon dusted krispy kreme donut with whiskey vanilla ice cream. Yes, the sucker is fattening beyond belief…but this is one dish that is worth every calorie!
This might be one of my favorite reviews so far. The service was excellent and every recommendation was delicious. If you are a Salt Lake local, take the 20 minute drive up the canyon and check out High West at 703 Park Ave in Park City, Utah!
And don’t forget to pick up a bottle of your favorite High West Whiskey on your way out at the General Store!