Monday, June 13, 2011

Wild Grape Bistro

I know there's been a lot of discussion regarding group deals as of late (i.e. Living Social, Groupon, etc.).  I see many possible benefits for consumers and businesses IF both use them correctly and intelligently.  I actually did a marketing evaluation in my MBA program on Groupon.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is that a LivingSocial deal allowed me to try out Wild Grape Bistro - a restaurant that has been on my list since it opened.  I had an email warning me to use my deal soon or lose it - so use it I did.

Wild Grape Bistro took over a restaurant location that seems to have experienced a lot of turnover.  When they first arrived, I wondered how long they would last.  Here's to hoping they continue.  My meal on Saturday was superb.  Have a glimpse into my experience.

We started with a small plate of Potato Gnocchi, served with braised beef, mushrooms, spinach, truffle oil, and a dusting of parmesan.

Delicious.  I'm a sucker for gnocchi.  Pretty much anytime I see it on a menu, I need to try it.  A large part is due to the fact that good authentic gnocchi seems incredibly difficult to find.  I'll be honest - the gnocchi here were good but not what I consider gnocchi done right.  The flavor was there but the texture too squishy.  Good gnocchi should be somewhat firm.  These were closer to potato dumplings.  The real winner of this dish?  The braised beef.  It was incredible.  Tender, pull apart, but with the right amount of chew so you still felt like you were eating meat.  My next visit will include their tenderloin just so I can taste the magic they create again.

Next up - Grape's Bison Burger.  8 oz. Colorado Bison, house-made steak sauce, blue cheese, fried onions, spinach, bacon, and served with house cut fries.

Sadly, due to pregnancy food restrictions (which also prevented me from ordering their Arugula salad which sounded ridiculously good for a summer day) I had to withhold the blue cheese.  The sacrifices I make....anyways.  I hadn't experienced Bison before.  For those who are a little more on the reserved side when it comes to game meats or meats not normally seen in the grocery store I'd say go for it!  It's an incredibly mild tasting meat but delicious.  I assume the grind wasn't mixed with any beef suet but it's possible.  The burger was exquisitely composed with the right layering and thickness of bun to burger with a lovely crunch of onion and sweet tang from the steak sauce.  Another win for Wild Grape Bistro.

Lastly, we finished with a Organic Chicken Breast, served with Moroccan roasted vegetables, polenta fries, and smoked eggplant.

I had wondered what the "polenta fries" would come out as.  I love polenta, and tend to prefer a firmer style.  This was perhaps a bit too firm for me and resembled more of a coarse corn bread than polenta.  The chicken was moist and slightly garlicky.  And the vegetables were the real win.  Tender, well-seasoned, and summery.  I fear it was unfair to the chicken to have followed the braised beef.  If you're in the mood for chicken, it was well cooked and satisfying but not memorable in the way the braised beef was.

So, while some may argue that group deals are of the devil (and some consumers abuse the system to make it so while some businesses overestimate their ability to fulfill), it proved successful for me.  Wild Grape Bistro?  I happily recommend your fare.  Your service was great and patio seating on a lovely summer day are hard to not love.

1 comment:

  1. This is a nice write up on a restaurant that has become one of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake. But to really be fair I believe that their gnocchi dish is one of the best dishes in the country. It sounds like you have actually had gnocchi that was not prepared correctly and you prefer it that way which is fine but, Gnocchi (pronounced "knee-o-key") are really light puffy dumplings. It should taste like a very airy biscuit if it is done right. Hard gnocchi is most likely made with flour and water and is being passed off as potato gnocchi. Authentic potato gnocchi should be light and airy. It takes a lot of time to do it correctly so many will cut corners.