I am already on record as saying that Bill White – the Park City owner of eight successful restaurants – is the smartest, most creative, and hardest working restaurateur I’ve ever personally met. And that includes the likes of Danny Meyer, Mario Batali, Todd English, Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and other high profile restaurateurs with multiple eateries. Even during the pandemic – going from some 500 employees to zero virtually overnight – he has, with intelligence, resourcefulness and plain hard work, managed to keep his businesses, including Bill White Ranches and Farms, above water and has been able to hire back most of those employees.
I was reminded how unique each of Bill’s restaurants are – Windy Ridge, Grappa, Chimayo, Wahso, Billy Blanco’s and Sushi Blue – when my wife and I enjoyed an excellent meal at Ghidotti’s last weekend. It’s a restaurant that, when it opened in 2005, was unlike anything we’d seen in Park City, and still is.
The first time I walked into Ghidotti’s, I felt like I’d wandered into The Bellagio in Vegas. To enter the dining rooms you pass through a bar/lounge area that ultimately opens up to a dining room with 25-foot high ceilings. Warm, soft, Mediterranean colors make the restaurant remarkably inviting, decorated with Italian artwork and sculptures, fresh flowers, attractive tilework, tapestries, marble pillars, heavy curtains and beautiful chandeliers. It’s a large, sprawling dining destination that’s as classy as it is spacious. And yet it feels comfortable, not pretentious or dated in any way. Timeless.
Ghidotti’s specialty is Italian cuisine, serving pizzas, pastas, appetizers, soups, salads and entrees that are surprisingly fair-priced for a place this opulent in an expensive ski town. And, good news for gluten-free diners like my wife: A substantial portion of the menu items are gluten-free or can be made so, including pastas.
During Park City Dine About – which runs through Sunday, October 17th – Ghidotti’s is offering a special $40 prix fixe menu that includes an appetizer, choice of soup or salad and an entree selection chosen from four entree options, including Bill White Ranches steak, chicken parmigiano, and pappardelle alla Norma.
My wife chose to go with the Dine About selections while I ordered from the regular Ghidotti’s menu. First up, arriving via a terrific server named Tyler, was a gratis bread bowl of focaccia with a wonderful olive oil, vinegar and egg emulsion dipping sauce. I could eat the dipping sauce all by itself, but it’s really delicious with the light and airy focaccia from Windy Ridge Bakery.
During Dine About the first course is a choice of a Cheese Board with Italian cheeses paired with fruit, microgreens, grilled baguette slices and Marcona almonds or Crudité Toscano – a selection of raw seasonal vegetables with a variety of dipping sauces. My wife ordered the Cheese Board and was kind enough to share it with me. We both loved the smoked Gouda and Asiago cheeses that were included.
From the regular menu, I ordered the Crispy Lamb Ribs ($14) appetizer which was a sensational dish. I always used to enjoy the lamb ribs at MacCool’s before they went out of business. And those ribs were pretty hard to beat, but these are even better. It’s a plate of tender, falling off the bone lamb with sticky, sweet-and-tart balsamic agrodolce and served with wine soaked cherries and an herb, arugula and parmesan salad. Other appealing Ghidotti’s appetizers include beef carpaccio ($16), mussels with buttery white wine broth ($16), homemade meatballs with spicy arrabiata sauce ($12), calamari fritti ($15), and an antipasti platter ($14).
Next up for my wife from the Dine About menu was a Grapes + Gorgonzola Salad – sweet red grapes, fresh greens, roasted almonds, Gorgonzola cheese, and a drizzle of red wine vinaigrette.
For my second course I chose Mamma’s Chicken Soup ($), which is available both on the Dine About and regular menus. It’s a bowl of heavenly homemade chicken soup with veggies and a large, satisfying parmesan dumpling that reminds me of an Italian version of matzo ball soup. I could eat it every day.
Throughout the evening our server, Tyler, made sure our wine glasses never were empty and General Manager Joe DeStefano patrolled the dining rooms ensuring that guests were pampered and happy, which of course they were. How could anyone not be happy here?
My wife’s entree – again, from the Dine About menu – was piccata-style mahi-mahi. She was given a choice of salmon or mahi-mahi and opted for the latter. A generous mahi-mahi fillet was grilled and served with a classic piccata sauce of lemon, capers, parsley, white wine and butter and served with gluten-free macaroni. Normally the dish comes with Ghidotti’s fettuccine. I have to admit, the gluten-free pasta was excellent; I’d never have known it was gluten-free in a blind taste test.
I’m a fan of the pastas at Ghidotti’s and was leaning towards ordering either pappardelle Bolognese ($24) or grilled shrimp and crab fettuccine ($35) as my entree. But, ultimately, the pork osso bucco ($32) beckoned and I’m happy it did because it was absolutely awesome. A humongous braised Niman Ranch Heritage Pork shank is gently cooked until oh-so tender and served on a bed of sugar snap pea risotto with red wine jus and lemon-pine nut gremolata. Simply put, the osso bucco couldn’t have been any better; it was outstanding and there was plenty leftover for lunch the following day.
Although we were stuffed to the gills, we were seduced by Joe’s description of a chocolate pistachio bomb dessert ($10), which turned out to be delectable and delightful – another product of Windy Ridge Bakery’s kitchen, I’d guess. Although perhaps it was prepared by Ghidotti’s’ Executive Chef Gudren Thorne-Thomsen. Wherever it came from, that chocolate bomb really was THE BOMB!
Choosing which Bill White restaurant to dine at in Park City is always a Sophie’s Choice sort of situation. I adore Grappa for certain reasons and Chimayo for others. Billy Blanco’s is always fun and Sushi Blue serves up some of the best Asian fare and fish around. For comfort cuisine, Windy Ridge is a solid go-to choice. But I have to say that in its current incarnation, I’m as fond of Ghidotti’s as I am of any eatery on the Bill White roster. And with Park City Dine About in full swing, guests can take advantage of the chance to dine very economically at any of the aforementioned Bill White restaurants. Each and every one is a winner.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” — Sophia Loren
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.