Address: 111 E Broadway (300 S), Ste 170, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. 801.355.3282.
Review: Last night was movie and a dinner (in that order) night at our house. We chose to see "The Walk" (an alright movie by Emilio Estavez about a group of mismatched pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela; but this isn't a movie blog, so I won't go on) at the Broadway Theater. Coincidentally, or perhaps providentially, The Copper Onion (TCO) is situated fifty feet from the Theater, so our dinner choice was made.
I've heard many a thing about TCO over the last year. It's the new in restaurant in Salt Lake. I tend to look at the new in thing with a healthy dose of skepticism. The in is often like fashion: the in's inness wears off after a few months (think slap bracelets from the late 80s) and people move on to the next in (think capris, or, even more hideous to the soul, manpris); man, can't wait for those to soon die an ignominious death once again). With this in mind, we entered TCO's stainless and glass doors.
The initial waft of food smells was delightful. You know what I mean by food smells: all the smells of all the foods being prepared amalgamated into one aroma. If the initial smell is not a good one, chances are the meal will be correspondingly not good. Under the circumstances, we were encouraged right out of the gate.
We began with the bone marrow plate, which came with not only bone marrow but also a salad of radishes, capers, parsley, and fennel.
Now, for those out there not sold on marrow, you should be. Marrow, which is almost pure fat, is the best butter you'll ever taste. It's incredibly rich and silky. The idea with this plate was to scoop out the marrow and couple it with a bit of the salad on the toast. Great idea, and it worked pretty well. The salad, light and vinegary as it was, contrasted nicely with the fattiness of the marrow. Unfortunately, the marrow was somewhat inartfully prepared. Some of the smaller bones has been roasted too long, so the marrow had coagulated too much. Conversely, the large bones weren't cooked all the way through, which left hard, unspreadable marrow in the center. This notwithstanding, it was a good way to start the meal.
Next arrived the bone-in pork chop, laid on a bed of crispy polenta over an ancho chile sauce, topped with an egg, and surrounded by shishito chiles. It looked a little something like this.
I noticed two things right of the bat: (1) the chop, which was thick, thick, was cooked perfectly (still a little pink in the middle, the way pork should be); and (2) the polenta was out of this friggin' world. (Note: I have lived in northern Italy, so I've been fed polenta many times in many different forms. This was probably the best I've ever had. It was full-flavored corn, crispy like you wouldn't believe, and creamy on the inside. Great stuff.) The ancho sauce was beautiful and added great savoriness to the dish. The sauce also played well with the shishito chiles. They too are a bit more savory than most chiles, and the heat added a little something to the chop. The meat, as stated previously, was perfectly cooked, and just tasted like a good pig should taste. In all, very well done dish.
And now, the sides (because man cannot live on pig, corn, eggs, and chiles alone).
Left-to-right and top-to-bottom: (1) sauteed spinach with golden raisins and cashews, (2) grilled scallions topped with romesco (i.e., sauce made from red peppers and almonds), and (3) roasted cauliflower with capers and what I think was a homemade aioli. The spinach was our least favorite. It was under-salted, and the raisins added little sweetness. The scallions were nicely roasted and the romesco was a wonderful compliment to them (note: this dish is a staple in Spanish cooking, and for good reason). The cauliflower was our favorite. Caper and mayonnaise-like sauces are always a good bet, and the roasted cauliflower was a spot on vessel for all the flavors.
Keeping in mind my healthy skepticism, I really enjoyed this meal. At this price level, a couple mistakes were made that shouldn't have been, but the flavors and overall quality was quite good. We'll be back, and soon.
Rating: 7.5/10, and likely to go up after the second visit (5/10 is average).