Pallet – Rustic Roots and Fresh Flavors

Pallet feels like it has a story from the moment you walk in. There is something about the dark wood, the beautiful artwork on the walls, and the vintage looking light bulbs hanging from that ceiling that says right away there is a long history lingering in the air. The building itself was built in the early 1900s and was used as a loading dock for Salt Lake City’s first creamery. So, it is easy to imagine the space as it used to be a hundred years ago, which is pretty cool. Pallet does a great job of making you feel like you have traveled back in time, with a modern twist. I think it is one of the coolest looking restaurants in the city.

For this review, I ate at Pallet for both Lunch and Dinner – so I got a really good idea of their menu, flavors, and what they do really really well. Pallet is a new restaurant, and like any new restaurant, there are always some bugs to figure out–but several of Pallet’s dishes hit the nail on the head–hard.

My favorite dish on the lunch menu was the Asparagus (sauteed shallots, arugula, fried egg $7). The asparagus was perfectly ripe, fat, and grilled with a perfect char. The arugula and fried egg on top pretty much made for the most impeccable combination of flavors and textures. And of course, we all know how I feel about a good egg. Put an egg on anything – I don’t care what people are saying about yolks these days!

The other dish that was a hit at lunch was the Grilled Pancetta Sandwich (braised pear, goat cheese, arugula, balsamic $11). This was like the Rolls-Royce of lunchtime BLTs. The pancetta was crisp, the pears were full of flavor, the goat cheese added creamy smoothness, and the arugula added a little bit of bitter that evened out the richness of the other ingredients. It was a splendid layering of flavor. This is a fairly heavy sandwich, so it was great for sharing. For $2 you can also upgrade your side to Pallet’s famous Truffle Fries – which I highly recommend. They are one of the most divine things I have ever eaten.

Appetizers seem to be what Pallet is really good at. When we ate at Pallet for dinner, the starters really took center stage. The Truffle Fries (truffle peeling, parmesan, house aioli $9) are so outstanding and unexpected. You actually get slivers of truffles, not just truffle oil. Fantastic! They have a flavor I can pretty much guarantee you have never tasted on a french fry. For the past several months, all I heard about in reference to Pallet was the Truffle Fries. And they lived up to their reputation. We also had Gloria’s Meatballs (pork, veal, beef $10) and a special appetizer that was referred to as “cheese stuffed with cheese.” How can you go wrong? House mozzarella stuffed with creamy cheese and served with figs – it was outstanding.

Some of our other favorite entrees were the Chicken Caprese Salad (heriloom tomato, arugula, shallot, house-pulled mozzarella, balsamic reduction $12 – lunch), Utah Red Trout (black rice, citrus, lemon beurre blanc $13 – lunch) and the Seared Scallops (black rice, citrus, stone fruit, salted carmel $24 – dinner). Each of these dishes melded flavors together but allowed the main ingredient (scallops, trout, tomatoes, etc) to really shine. No flavor outdid the other, which is sometimes really difficult to do when using several rich ingredients. Also, each of these dishes had a intense freshness.

Overall, Pallet was a success on both occasions. We only had one real hiccup on our dinner trip – the Scottish Salmon (polenta, peppadew pepper, shallot, arugula, bacon $22 – dinner) was quite a bit undercooked in the center. However, the polenta was great and the dish itself would have been terrific if the salmon filet hadn’t been raw in the middle.

Dessert is also something that Pallet has locked down. The House Made Seasonal Market Cobbler ($8) and the Warm Oatmeal Walnut Shortbread (chocolate, caramel, berry, house-made icecream $8) were awesome. Full of flavor, house-made, and original. We also really liked The Cookie Jar ($8).

And don’t forget Pallet’s great cocktails. They are hand-crafted and excellent. The Sazerac 237 (single malt mist, irish whiskey, citrus bitters, burnt zest) and the Vanilla High Manhattan (High West double rye, vanilla bean, bitters) were a few of our favorites. Cocktails range from $9 – $10.

If you want to give Pallet a try, lunch is a great option. There is so much to choose from and the pricing is very reasonable. Entrees range from $9 – $15 and salads and starters are also priced decently. Dinner will run you quite a bit more with cocktails, but the atmosphere when the sun goes down is really fantastic. The lighting and decor at Pallet really shine in the evening. The service and attention to detail were impressive on both occasions, however. So, get down to Pallet and enjoy a unique and wonderful atmosphere along with fresh and surprising food.

Thanks to Pallet for having me!

Check Pallet out for yourself for lunch or dinner!
Tues-Fri Lunch 11:00am – 3:00pm
Tues-Sat Dinner 5:00pm – close

Find Pallet at 237 South 400 West.
Find them here on Facebook.
Pallet on Urbanspoon

I took so many photos at Pallet, I had to share more!

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