During a recent stay at the beautiful Pendry boutique hotel at Park City Mountain’s Canyons Village, my wife and I had the pleasure of enjoying a dinner at KITA, which is Pendry’s Japanese steakhouse and sushi restaurant.
Stroll up to the check-in stand and you’ll be greeted by very friendly Pendry staffers such as Stuart, a supervisor who was extremely helpful to us during our stay. Frankly, I was blown away by how accommodating and hospitable everyone at Pendry was, from receptionists at the front desk to Megan and Cody at The Pool House, Brett, the manager at Dos Olas Cantina, and our stellar server at KITA, Dillon. And they say you can’t find good help these days?
There are multiple options for seating – all good ones. There is lots of room to roam in the main dining room with seating at tables, booths, at the sushi bar, or al fresco on the patio. The decor is very contemporary but also quite warm, with lots of natural wood and leather that serve to create a calm, soothing vibe.
There are two main menus to peruse at KITA. One is the dinner menu, highlighted by wood-fired chops and steaks as well as entrees like Glazed Short Ribs ($42), Wood-Fired Mary’s Half Chicken with orange-mirin glaze ($45), Kurobuta Pork Chops ($36), and others. And then there is the sushi menu, with an array of sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls.
As we studied the extensive wine list and considered menu choices, a Staub cast iron baking pan arrived at our table with a half-dozen light and airy, house-baked milk bread rolls topped with black and white sesame seeds and served with silky homemade butter sprinkled with Hawaiian black sea salt.
Hamachi – aka yellowtail – is a fish that is much-loved in Japan, and also much-loved by moi. So we couldn’t resist the Hamachi Crudo ($28) from the Small Bites menu at KITA. The melt-in-the-mouth raw hamachi slices came with wasabi edamame puree and white ponzu foie gras “snow.” Just heavenly.
We both enjoyed – but my wife adored – the Wood Grilled Octopus ($22) from the Small Bites menu. If you resist ordering octopus because it’s typically tough and chewy, I urge you to try KITA’s. It was tender, nicely charred octopus leg drizzled with shishito pesto and black garlic emulsion, on a carrot miso puree bed, and topped with bitter greens. There’s a lot going on in that dish, and all of it’s good.
Other tempting Small Bites items we didn’t get to on this visit include Katsu Fried Cauliflower with tonkatsu sauce ($14), organic Awase Miso Soup ($14) with shiitake, wakame, and scallions, and an unusual spin on standard Edamame ($12) with sesame seeds, bonito, and bourbon teriyaki. If you’re dining solo or just want a more informal eating experience, I recommend bellying up to the KITA bar for some small plates or a full meal. KITA offers an extensive array of cocktails, beer, wine, sake, Japanese spirits, and much more.
The missus and I love sushi, and especially nigiri and sashimi. We enjoyed both with an incredible sushi platter that included remarkable seared Japanese A5 Wagyu beef, an assortment of sashimi including hamachi, zuke sake, bluefin tuna, and hirame, along with bincho-charred maguro and tamago nigiri. We were in sushi heaven.
Ah, but the sushi train hadn’t quite left the station yet. Still to come was a chef-inspired maki roll that included shrimp tempura, avocado, bluefin tuna, microgreens, and probably a half-dozen other ingredients that I can’t remember. Whatever it was, we both went gaga over that marvelous maki. KITA features a dozen different maki rolls ranging from a California roll ($14) to Negitoro ($32) with sustainable fatty bluefin tuna, wasabi and scallions. I’m looking forward to trying the spicy Hot Tail roll ($26) next time: maguro, avocado, cucumber, charred serrano peppers, hamachi, and serrano shoyu sauce.
First and foremost, KITA is a Japanese-style steakhouse featuring both American and Japanese Wagyu and USDA Prime beef. The American Wagyu is sourced locally from Idaho’s Snake River Farms. As mentioned, the Japanese A5 Wagyu is otherworldly, and I highly recommend it as it’s as delectable as it is rare to find on Utah menus. For beef choices at KITA, there is a shareable 30-day dry aged Wagyu 20-oz. Kansas City/New York Strip ($135); USDA Prime Filet Mignon ($70); American Wagyu Rib-Eye as either a 12-oz. New York Strip, 16-oz. Rib-Eye, or 8-oz. Hanger Steak; or a bodacious shareable 32-oz. American Wagyu Tomahawk steak.
I devoured every morsel of my American Wagyu Rib-Eye and appreciated that the fabulous cuts of meat at KITA are wood-grilled to order and brushed simply with yuzu butter, allowing the flavors and textures of that beautiful beef to sing! There are additional optional sauces available however, including Point Reyes Blue Cheese Crust, Brown Butter Ponzu, Wasabi Gyu Dare, Yuzu Kosho Chimichurri, and traditional Bordelaise.
Vegetable lovers will appreciate the Nabemono dinner entree, which is mixed vegetables with wild mushrooms, tofu, and vegan broth ($28). My wife enjoyed her generously portioned Miso-Sake Halibut, grilled and served with ohitashi spinach – a classic Japanese side dish of blanched spinach with light dashi soy broth and bonito. Enhancing the halibut was a carrot miso puree with ginger.
When our superb server Dillon asked what sort of things we like for dessert, my immediate answer was “Anything with banana and chocolate!” Well, the next thing you know we had a delectable dessert in front of us: Banana Chocolate Gratin ($14) with salted caramel ice cream and almond-orange streusel. It was a sensational close to a very memorable evening.
As is the case with most resort restaurants, KITA is not for the faint of heart, price-wise. But if you’re going to splurge, this is a great place to do it. Simply put, KITA kills.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week: “In places where people read hardcover books and eat sushi, they’re not signing a five-year-old up to tackle another five-year-old.” – Chris Borland, Former NFL Linebacker
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THIS CONTENT IS FROM UTAH BITES NEWSLETTER.
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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.