Yes, Utah is a landlocked state. But even so, there are plenty of places to find fresh and delicious fish and seafood dishes here in the Beehive. Thanks to rapid transportation services, we can enjoy food on our plates that was swimming in an ocean or lake 24 to 48 hours ago ― something that was unthinkable 30 years ago. Here are 10 of my favorite restaurant fish and seafood delights to try:
At Current Fish & Oyster, there’s a myriad of delectable fish and seafood selections ranging from grilled oysters, seared calamari, char-grilled sea bass and fish stew, to the beautiful chilled seafood platter and killer crab cakes. However, the Spanish Octopus with heirloom beans, eggplant puree, Moroccan olives and tomato is a must-try.
There isn’t a restaurant in Utah serving more authentic Northern Italian cuisine than Veneto Ristorante Italiano. And one of the treasures there is Filetto di Branzino con Capperi Fritti. It is a deceptively simple dish of a large branzino filet with fried capers, olive oil, and fresh lemon slices. What makes this branzino so special is that the delicate fish gets top billing and a gentle treatment because it isn’t buried under heavy sauce or seasonings. Sometimes less is more.
There are few places I’d rather be on a sunny day than on the deck at Deer Valley Resort’s Royal Street Cafe. While sipping an award-winning cocktail like the Blueberry Mojito, I recommend giving the Vietnamese-style Banh Mi sandwich a go. It’s a seafaring sandwich with crispy soft shell blue crab, pickled daikon and carrot, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, cucumber, fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and basil, with housemade Deer Valley sriracha aioli on a banh mi baguette with Royal Street fries.
And while we’re in Park City, Chef Matt Harris and his crew at Tupelo cook up Roasted Idaho Trout with avocado, cucumbers, capers, dill, and a chili dressing, as well as another seafood favorite: Seared Diver Scallops with summer squash, locally-foraged mushrooms and roasted tomato butter.
Maybe Kaysville isn’t the first destination you’d think of for fresh seafood, but at Nikko Sushi & Ramen, that’s precisely what you’ll find. One of the best menu items Nikko offers is their Hamachi Jalapeño appetizer. It’s a bowl filled with generous pieces of delicate, almost ethereal, hamachi sashimi served with julienned daikon, thin slices of fresh jalapeño, and drizzled with a heavenly yuzu-miso sauce.
Up in Millcreek Canyon, Chef Dave Jones knocks my socks off at Log Haven with his stunningly good Risotto dish. It’s a generous portion of perfectly cooked, creamy risotto rice in a silky lemon tomato-butter sauce with loads of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, tender grilled shrimp, asparagus, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
And while we’re on the topic of tender and tasty shrimp, Caffé Molise pulls out all the stops with its glorious Gamberetti Salad. It is a large plate filled to the brim with mixed greens and seasonal fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries), yellow and red cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, Feta cheese, and strewn with plump grilled Gulf shrimp. It’s simply a sensational salad.
True tuna lovers need to make their way to Layton to dine at the beautiful Blue Fin Sushi restaurant. When you do, be sure to order the Ocean Roll. It’s a wonderful maki-style roll cut into four large pieces: otoro tuna, maguro tuna, and snow crab with masago on top, garnished with sriracha and wasabi mayo. This is superb sushi.
Dining on the deck at Bill White’s Grappa restaurant is always a special warm-weather treat. And that’s especially true if you’ve had the good sense to order the Lobster Fregola Sarda pasta entree. Fregola pasta is similar to Isreali couscous, and that’s the basis of this delightful seafood dish. Incorporated into the fregola and spicy seafood broth is Maine lobster tail, black mussels, calamari, wild shrimp, and chorizo, with a grilled baguette for dipping.
However, don’t get the notion that I always have to have my fish fancy. For example, I love the Cod Stewart fish sandwich at CodSpeed, which is located at HallPass in The Gateway. It’s a fully stacked sandwich of beer-battered fish on a fresh brioche bun with tartar sauce, pickles, cilantro-jalapeño slaw, tomato, spicy mayo, and even potato chips layered for added crunch. Be sure to include a side of Seashore Fries with your killer Cod Stewart sammich.
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