It’s pretty well known that Park City is not an inexpensive dining destination. But, there are exceptions. And one is a very appealing restaurant located in the Peaks Hotel. It’s called Versante Hearth & Bar and some friends visiting from out of town and I stopped in for an early dinner recently after a day of skiing. We were happy that we did.
The independently owned Peaks Hotel underwent a complete renovation a few years ago, including Versante, which is a spacious restaurant with a full bar and a couple of dining areas including a glassed-in atrium type of room in the rear that is very appealing and airy. Colorful wall art lends a contemporary, unique feel to the ambiance of Versante and ample wood flooring, tables and chairs give the restaurant a welcoming sort of warmth.
Versante has an Italian culinary slant, with a menu full of pizzas, pastas, soups, salads, and entrees such as Market Fish with Chef’s risotto ($30), Chicken Piccata ($27), and Skirt Steak Frites ($32).
There are a number of starters on the dinner menu that are quite appealing. Spinach Artichoke Dip with roasted artichoke ($15) for example, or Blistered Shishito Peppers ($13) with lemon zest, Maldon salt, and Calabrian chili aioli. Kids and adults alike will love the White Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese ($12) made with cavatappi pasta, crispy prosciutto, panko breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. There is also a complex version of Bruschetta ($13), grilled rustic focaccia slices topped with slow-roasted tomato, feta, artichoke, chives, basil, balsamic glaze, and garlic butter-shallot spread.
After a lengthy conversation about the merits of shishito peppers versus Brussels sprouts, my friends and I opted to share a starter of Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($13). These were seriously badass Brussels sprouts and we were all happy with our choice. They are served with bacon and a white truffle-honey glaze and somehow, the Brussels sprouts are deep-fried without being greasy or heavy. In fact, they come to the table as light as air; crispy Brussels sprouts chips that are as delicious as any I’ve ever tried. This dish would make a terrific bar snack for anyone who just wanted to nibble on something while enjoying a cocktail, glass of wine or a beer.
In the soups and salads section of the menu is Minestrone Soup ($8), Italian Chopped Salad ($17), Wedge Salad ($15), Steak Nicoise Salad ($22), and a few other salad offerings. Versante also has sandwiches such as a Bison Burger ($18.50), Meatball Sando ($16.50), Veggie Sando ($16.50), and a Versante Burger ($17) with Gouda cheese sauce, bacon, lettuce, caramelized onion, and tomato on a pretzel roll with fries.
From the pasta portion of the menu, my friend Dave ordered House Spaghetti & Meatballs ($18). It’s a very ample dish of freshly made spaghetti pasta which had excellent taste and texture, served with large house-made meatballs, classic tomato gravy with shaved parmesan cheese, and a large slice of grilled rustic bread on the side. My buddy ate and loved every last bite of the spaghetti and meatballs, despite the sizable portion. Other fresh pasta dishes at Versante include Mushroom Fettuccine ($20), Creamy Pesto Bucatini ($21), and Shrimp Linguini ($22). Gluten free pasta or zoodles are also available.
Versante sports a full bar offering signature cocktails such as a Pama’rita: Cazadores Reposado Tequila, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, a squeeze of lime, with cranberry juice, simple syrup and lime garnish. There is also a small but well-chosen wine list that includes by-the-glass or full bottle options of wines such as Conundrum, Marchesi Di Barolo Barbera, Erath Pinot Noir, Pence Ranch Chardonnay, some selections from Park City’s own Old Town Cellars, and others. The beer menu is nicely skewed toward local brews from craft brewers such as RoHa, Wasatch Brewery, Uinta, Moab Brewery, Shades, 2 Row, Level Crossing, Epic, Squatters, and Salt Flats. Nice to see the folks at Versante supporting local breweries.
Hearth-baked pizzas are a big draw at Versante and there are 10 or so options, including Build Your Own. There is a classic Margherita, a Miners Meat Pie, BBQ Chicken, vegetarian Parkite, Speziato with spicy capicola, and others. Pizzas range in price from $14 to $20. We shared a pizza called The Spiro ($20), which was a beautifully baked, crispy crust topped with mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted pistachio, baby arugula, truffle oil and honey.
Service at Versante Hearth & Bar is super friendly, but professional, and we appreciated that our water glasses were kept full after skiing long and hard all day. For my entree, I was severely tempted by the Peaks Cioppino ($23), a seafood stew with mussels, salmon, shrimp, Italian fried orzo, and lemon focaccia. But in the end, I went with one of my favorite comfort foods: Chicken Parmesan ($22). It was a heaping portion of fresh linguine-style pasta topped with a huge chunk of breaded and fried boneless chicken with homemade tomato sauce, melted mozzarella, fresh herbs, shaved parmesan, and grilled bread to help soak up the sauce. I loved the chicken parmesan but, unlike my buddy, I couldn’t finish the generous entree and took half of it home to reheat and enjoy the next day for lunch.
I’ll certainly return to Versante to try some dishes like the cioppino, chicken piccata, grilled Caesar salad, and those blistered shishitos I mentioned. I’ll return because Versante offers very good food and enormous portions at prices that are decidedly not Main Street, Park City prices. Combined with such an inviting ambiance and superb service, that’s a can’t-lose proposition.
Photos by Ted Scheffler & Courtesy of Versante
Culinary quote of the week: “Everything you see, I owe to pasta.” – 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.