Fresco is a quaint, delightful, hidden gem in the unique 15th and 15th district of Salt Lake City. I have never heard one negative thing about the food or service – but for some reason, it took me a while to get there. This year, for our birthdays (and after Fresco’s recent win for Best Italian Restaurant at Salt Lake Magazine’s Dining Awards), Russ and I decided it was the place and we took our good friends Hollie and Ben with us. Logen Crew, Fresco’s Head Chef, is Hollie’s brother and she had been talking up his cooking skills for months. She wasn’t kidding – Fresco’s menu is interesting, bold, and mouth-watering.
Fresco really is off the beaten path – hidden between The King’s English Bookshop and Mazza, and it can be easy to miss. The dining room is small and intimate – perfect for a special occasion. And, I hear, their patio is to die for in the warmer months. Overall, Fresco really invites you in and makes you a part of their family as you dine. The atmosphere lends itself to great conversations among wonderful food.
The appetizers we decided to start with were the Grilled Calamari ($11) and the Charred Cylindra Beets ($8).
I don’t think that either dish could have been more delightful. The calamari was not breaded – something I truly appreciate – and was cooked to absolute perfection. Topped with caper salsa verde, lemon oil, shaved carrot, and piled on a bed of fregola (similar to Isreali couscous) – this calamari was maybe the star of the evening. It was unique, tender, and memorable. The beets captured wonderful flavor and were served with orange and pine nuts. Both were simple, yet unique, and full of flavor.
Logen also sent some great bites to the table as well – including a delightful baby carrot dish with lentils, house-made sausage with shaved Brussels spouts, and a perfectly cooked salmon with kale. All beautiful, and all delicious bites of well thought out ingredients.
After a pallet cleanser of lime sorbet with olive oil and black pepper (YUM!) we were ready for our entrees.
On the list: House-made Risotto (with chicken confit and green onion, price varies), Bucatini with Smoked Eggplant, (fresh mozzarella, pickled Fresno chile, breadcrumbs, and basil, $17), Ricotta Cavatelli (with lamb and calabrian sausage ragu, pecorino, $23), and the Charred Beef Flat Iron (with Yukon potatoes, root vegetables, and red wine sauce, $31). My personal favorites were the Risotto (velvety and divine) and the Ricotta Cavatelli (rich and bold). The Bucatini was spicy and earthy – and the steak was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
And for dessert? A polenta tart with Meyer lemon and caramel…and fresh house-made cookies. And to top it all off, a lovely birthday wish – which made us feel so very special!
Our evening at Fresco was wonderful – excellent food, service, atmosphere, and company! We are putting it in the regular rotation, and so should you!
Find Fresco on Facebook HERE >>