Nov. 30, 2011
Casual dishes best bet in beautiful setting of Park Citys Silver Star
By Lesli J.Neilson
The Salt Lake Tribune
Park City Say youve just come off Park City Mountain Resorts slopes after a hard day of skiing. Or, youve spent the day golfing or hiking nearby Spiro trail, which is named for the Spiro Silver Mine upon which the Silver Star Village sits.
In both cases, youve most likely built up an appetite, which leads us to the nearly 2-year-old Silver Star Café, which is adjacent to the Silver Star chair lift and ticket booth, far from the resorts base. The cafés menu of burgers, pizzas, salads and sandwiches will satisfy your hunger, while some of the more intricate dinner options fall short.
Inconsistency in the kitchen doesnt bode well for a restaurant thats open for brunch, lunch and dinner in the boonies (not on Park Citys Main Street and not at the resorts base). But Silver Stars scenic location between a golf course and an insanely gorgeous mountain could make the restaurant the next Ruths Diner if its able to work out the kinks. That isnt to say the menu doesnt have its high spots.
The highlight of the appetizers is a baked blend of artichokes, spinach, parmesan, cream cheese and ricotta with a touch of peperoncini for heat that comes with toasted pita triangles. White bean and roasted garlic hummus ($6), on the other hand, arrived as an unappetizing firm scoop. Another starter of five well-grilled and barbecue-glazed shrimp ($8) rested upon a dry square of grits instead of a more appealing pool of molten cheddared grits.
As for salads, spinach ($5.75; $9.75) with red onions, Gorgonzola crumbles and unexpected cashews co-mingle in a raspberry vinaigrette to make a refreshing salad, while romaine lettuce with parmesan and garlicky croutons ($5.75; $9.75) failed from brown-edged lettuce and an overly acidic lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
At lunch, there are several enticing burgers to choose from. The signature Silver Star ($9.50) had a well-toasted potato bun spread with kicky chipotle sauce that sandwiched a 1/2-pound burger with great char and tobacco onions, which were dredged in cayenne-seasoned flour and fried. Slender scrumptious french fries rounded out the plate. Sandwich offerings include grilled wild salmon ($12), Reuben ($8) and grilled zucchini ($7.50).
Other well-conceived dishes include al dente linguine with diced tomatoes and shreds of basil ($14.75); a 12-inch classic Margherita pizza ($12.75), which needed a pinch more salt in the dough to be spot-on; and mushroom stroganoff ($16.50) sporting rich, brown gravy with portabello, morel and shiitake mushrooms served over great spaetzle.
A side of sweet potato, bacon, red onion and Brussels sprouts was a hit, despite being served with an woefully overcooked fillet of maple-glazed Alaskan salmon entree ($21.50). Not even a correct medium-rare grill could save a gristle-ridden New York strip ($22.50), served with oversalted red potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Of the three desserts on offer, only one was worth the calories. I could see a place like this becoming a pie emporium, thanks to the Silver Stars gorgeously flaky crust that encased a heap of thinly sliced apples, served a la mode ($7.50). The other sweets chocolate cake ($6) and creme brulee ($5.50) were dry and pedestrian.
The short beer and wine list lacks any terribly interesting selections (with big prices) that dont seem to complement many of the dishes. Better to bring your favorite bottle and pay the $10 corkage.
The unevenness of the dinner menu is countered by a friendly staff and cabin-like decor: heavy wood tables, warm earthy hues, walls of reclaimed wood, and comfy pillows nestled along banquettes. Caged silver lights evoke those in an old silver mine; candle lighting and linen napkins add refined touches.
Plastic water cups, silk flower centerpieces, and red and yellow squirt bottles of catsup and mustard belittle the upscale look of the place. Not to mention youll find the restrooms in a completely different building. In the summer that wouldnt be a bother if youre seated at one of the coveted tables on the plaza, but in the winter its a hassle.
I know newish restaurants are works in progress. Silver Star Cafe has a lot of great things going for it. Come summer, Id like to try Silver Star again, dining on the plaza, as the restaurant often has live music, and other special events. Heres to hoping the food becomes consistently good.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.