Fall into Current Fish & Oyster

photo 4When Dave and I were first dating in the mid 90’s we spent a lot of time exploring downtown Salt Lake City. Our favorite destinations were coffee shops, book stores and antique shops. We spent a lot of time wandering through the antique store at the corner of 3rd South and 279 East. Who knew that 20 years later our favorite restaurant would inhabit that space?

After a million dollar renovation, Current Fish & Oyster opened last spring. Expectations were high with both the LaSalle  and Mikel Trapp’s Trio Restaurant Group developing this new restaurant. With Chef Logan Crew behind the menu, the contemporary seafood restaurant quickly became a Salt Lake City favorite. “We extracted what we feel are the golden nuggets from each region in creating this menu,” said Chef Crew. “We are not trying to recreate the wheel here. We just want to offer our favorite classic American seafood preparations and add our contemporary spin on some new tastes with innovative dishes. Oysters are huge for us. We like to highlight regions and educate people about different profiles and pairings and watch with delight as our guests discover some new favorites.”

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The Grilled West Coast Oysters with a Grapefruit Spice oyster back

In the months since Current opened, they’ve expanded their hours, serving lunch and brunch on the weekends. Under Current, their crafty bar, opened next door. Their latest addition is an updated menu for fall and winter. “We now have a good feel for our diners’ preferences,” said Crew. “This is a great opportunity to really tailor our new fall and winter menu offerings to seasonal specialties and to what’s resonating with Salt Lake City’s tastes.”

Both Dave and I fell in love with Current Fish & Oyster while I was researching my review for SLUG Magazine. We enjoyed dinner and brunch, sampling a variety of dishes from each menu. We were recently invited to sample the new dinner menu and were beyond impressed.

photo 1(2)Of course we started our meal with drinks. Amy Eldredge has crafted an innovative and delightful cocktail menu. I opted for the Vesper, a sophisticated combination of vodka, gin and Lillet Blanc, a fancy French aperitif.

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Octopus a la Plancha

Whenever we dine at Current, it’s a fun opportunity to try something new.  Since we’d never eaten octopus, we opted for the Octopus a la Plancha ($16). Each bite was tender and juicy with a pleasantly mellow flavor. A creamy bean puree with bright, briny olives accentuated the tender octopus while a champagne sauce added a whisper of sweet and sour.

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Grilled Hawaiian Prawns

The Grilled Hawaiian Prawns ($25) served with hominy, Utah corn and a thick tomatillo sauce were earthy and satisfying. It was a good dish to share; we each had two shrimp and plenty of other good stuff.

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Oysters Casino

Since it’s ridiculous to NOT order oysters at Current, we opted for a new oyster dish. The Oysters Casino ($10) were delectable. Raw oyster goodness topped with pork-fried breadcrumbs topped with a dollop of  what tasted like good bbq sauce. Next time we’re ordering two plates.

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The special that night was unforgettable. Marlin was flown in that day and elegantly prepared with olive oil and thinly sliced shallots. The fish was barely grilled, letting the true flavor shine.

We’ve never enjoyed such a perfectly paced dinner! Splitting every dish, and only ordering one cocktail left us with room for cappuccinos and dessert.

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Two lovely cappuccinos

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Yuzu Posset

Desserts are popular at Current Fish & Oyster. Pastry chef Alexa Norlin makes crave-able and imaginative desserts. Her Yuzu Posset ($7) is the most popular dessert in town! It’s a tart, creamy custard dotted with rosemary jelly and dusted with a feather-light powdered olive oil. If you don’t like rich overtly sweet treats, this is the dessert for you!

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Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Our other dessert was a new item. The Vanilla Bean Cheesecake ($7) was scrumptious. Served with chopped green apples, graham crumbs and caramel white chocolate gelato drizzled with warm caramel, this cheesecake was the ultimate fall dessert. Each carefully constructed bite was a caramel apple masterpiece with different flavors and textures.

Current Fish & Oyster is a comfortable, sophisticated restaurant with impressive food and drink. The service is spot-on – friendly and knowledgeable without hovering. The restaurant itself is gorgeous – both contemporary and rustic with high wooden ceilings and preserved brick walls.

Current is the perfect balance of comfy and fancy for us. The well executed menu, with interesting cocktail and dessert options is exactly what we crave.

Caffe Niche: New menu & new faces

Pistachio Encrusted Salmon

Pistachio Encrusted Salmon

Caffe Niche is featuring a new menu as well as a few fresh faces: a chef, a General Manager and Operations Manger. Caffe Niche’s new executive chef, Andy Morrison, brings over 20 years of experience at Michelin starred restaurants and high quality bistros to dining guests. After attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Andy immersed herself in the food and wine culture in Sonoma County serving as Sous Chef at Chateau Souverain, among other kitchens. General Manager Joseph Gee will be on hand to greet guests and is there to ensure the dining experience is highly professional and seamless from arrival to happy and delighted departure. A native of Salt Lake City, he recently returned from the Hawaiian Islands where he was the general manager of The Lighthouse. A native of Seattle, Washington, Sarah Fults joins The LaSalle Restaurant Group as operations manager most recently from The Grand America Hotel managing teams in four different restaurants. A graduate of Washington State University, she has a strong educational background in business finance and investing, adding to her strong food and beverage background.

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We think the new menu is brilliant because you can order anything you want, whenever you want. Isn’t that genius? You can have breakfast for dinner, lunch for breakfast, and well, you get the idea. New menu items include the following tempting dishes:

  • Irish Coffee French Toast: Bailey’s battered challah bread dipped in espresso with house made whipped cream,  whiskey, caramel espresso syrup, chocolate shavings  ( I peeked at another table who had ordered this dish. It’s very pretty! I should have asked for a bite.)
  • Croque Madame grilled rye bread, smoked ham, teleme cheese, Dijon aioli, two local free range fried eggs atop, served with Niche apple slaw or small Niche salad
  • Endive Salad: endive and mixed greens, asparagus, Manchego cheese, sherry Dijon vinaigrette, topped with a poached egg, truffle oil
  • Niche Club: grilled wheat bread, turkey, smoked ham, bacon, haricots vert, tomatoes, spring mix, Dijon aioli
  • Grilled Veggie Sandwich: ciabatta bread, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, spring mix,  parsley pesto, basil aioli, balsamic
  • Pistachio Crusted Salmon: lemon lentil rice pilaf, haricots verts, fava beans & petit  tomato salad, house made parsley pesto (I ordered this!! More on that later….)
  • Corned Beef Mac & Cheese: Kobe corned beef, elbow macaroni, beer cheese sauce, rye bread crumbs, side of niche apple slaw
Grilled Artichoke

Grilled Artichoke

Caffe Niche is a comfortable restaurant – the perfect place for lunch dates or romantic dinners. We arrived to a bustling brunch crowd on a Sunday afternoon. We were graciously invited to visit Caffe Niche to sample the new menu (Thank you!!). Spending some time there this afternoon, we were reminded of the things we like about this restaurant – fresh, local, good food and friendly service.

Artisan Antipasto

Artisan Antipasto

The concise menu is organized in small plates, breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We started our meal with the Grilled Artichoke ($8) and the Artisan Antipasto ($13), both from the small plate menu. The Grilled Artichoke, halved and grilled, was drenched in butter. Our meal was off to a very good start. After a few minutes digging into the artichoke, the antipasto plate showed up. Slices of Creminelli salumi was served with Beehive Cheese’s Barely Buzzed, a ball of goat cheese and a blue cheese. Caramelized onions were a nice touch.

photo 3We both ordered off of the dinner menu. Dave had his sights on the Morgan Valley Lamb ($21), lamb tenderloin marinated in a lemony, herby garlic sauce served with fingerling potatoes, broiled cherry tomatoes and spinach. He noted that it was perfectly cooked and an interesting balance of flavors. He also ate everything on the plate, even the tomatoes. I’ve never had lamb before so I was intrigued. The bite I took was phenomenal! The marinade was bright and flavorful and the little potatoes were dreamy.

Morgan Valley Lamb

Morgan Valley Lamb

I settled on the Pistachio Crusted Salmon ($24) since I didn’t have my usual fish-eating reservations knowing Caffe Niche has fresh, sustainable fish flown in daily. Served with a tasty lemon lentil rice pilaf and ultra-fresh green beans, fava beans and a mini tomato salad, the plate was dressed with dots of fresh pesto. The salmon was unlike any I’ve had before – tender, flaky with a rich crust. Even Dave, who is even more suspicious of fish, was sneaking bites off my plate.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Caffe NIche is a gem, a small restaurant with a concise menu, doing everything right. We’re looking forward to checking out the other new menu items.

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Caffe Niche is located on the corner of 779 East and 300 South / 801-433-3380 www.caffeniche.com / Facebook: CaffeNicheSLC