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Dining out: Classic tastes at The New Yorker, Log Haven, revisited
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

To get to the entrance of The New Yorker, you must first walk down a long flight of stairs -- and, depending on the weather, brave the elements. Those stairs lend an aura of exclusivity to the place, which was once the case for the former members-only restaurant. But since the state law changed July 1, The New Yorker has been open to all, without charging a membership fee.

The décor is soothing, with touches of styles past -- polished brass railings, a green-hued stained glass ceiling over the less formal café. Yet nothing about the service is passé. Our server was gracious, courteous, knowledgeable and well trained in the finer points of service, nothing like what The Tribune encountered on our last review visits in 2006. The food, under the watchful eye of Chef Will Pliler, is stellar as well.

Gastronomy Inc., the folks behind this venture, as well as Market Street Grills, Oyster Bars and Broiler, brought fresh seafood to Utah decades ago, so my dining companion and I started with six oysters on the half shell ($16). The clean-tasting, plump kusshis came from Cortes Island, B.C. Thinking of every way you may take your oysters, the kitchen accompanies the bivalves with vinegary mignonette, tangy cocktail sauce, threads of kicky horseradish, lemon wedges and Tabasco from a Barbie doll-sized bottle.

Caesar salad ($10) was spot-on and continued our umami high. Glistening Spanish anchovies garnished well-dressed romaine squares while croutons added lots of crunch. We should have asked for more toast points to sop up the rest of the piquant Roquefort-garlic butter that bathed a plate of tender, curlicued escargots ($12).

We chose a half bottle (375 ml, $26) of 2001 Trimbach Gewürstraminer, with its orange and honeysuckle notes, which went well with our first courses as the by-the-glass offerings are glaringly lacking.

Our entrées of wild sockeye salmon and filet mignon medallions (from the late summer menu; the winter menu features, among other dishes, bouillabaisse and roasted rack of lamb) were well-crafted. The coral-colored salmon ($35) was served with pesto, while each rosy, tender three-ounce beef medallion ($39) had its own sauce: crab-topped béarnaise, Madeira-truffle, and green peppercorn-brandy cream. Summer's bounty, in the form of corn, snap peas, chanterelle mushrooms, arugula, green and yellow wax beans, and zucchini, rounded out the dishes.

To end, a flourless raspberry almond tart ($7) with mango, raspberry purees and crème anglaise was lovely but what really left us in awe was the seven-dollar Grand Marnier soufflé. Only seven dollars! What arrives looks like a browned chef's hat: You break a small hole in the center and fill it with the Grand Marnier crème anglaise that's served in a tureen. The taste is out of this world; so are the three-course dinners ($28) and two-course lunches ($14) that are currently being offered. Exclusive and retro -- I like it.

Log Haven, located four miles up scenic Mill Creek Canyon, has a natural, more grandiose entrance than The New Yorker. Regardless of the season, there's something calming about Log Haven. Could it be its rustic setting, the cozy furnishings, the seasonal New American cuisine? Previous Log Haven chef Dave Jones is back behind the stoves at the restaurant owned by Margo Provost since 1994, and the food has gotten better since The Tribune last visited in 2006. And, from the beginning to the end of our meal, service was professional, cordial and unobtrusive.

A cube of juicy, sweet watermelon topped with tangy goat cheese, baby arugula and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar was impressive as an amuse-bouche. I would rethink the herb-roasted olives and almonds ($11.50), which were fresh-from-the-oven and unappetizingly, well, hot. Squares of jalapeño cheddar from local Beehive Cheese Co. and irresistible salami from Utah's own Creminelli Fine Meats added heft, but the price for the starter wasn't justified.

Other appetizers come in portion-friendly sizes. My lamb "lollipop" (taste, $7.50; full portion, $11.50) arrived expertly grilled, juicy and pink in the center alongside truffled potato salad (which sadly didn't elevate it to anything other than well-executed potato salad), arugula and tarragon aioli.

I wish the wine list were portion friendly. The selections by the glass are few on the extensive list, which has won numerous awards. But many of the wines seem austere and don't seem to complement Jones' seasonal menu.

Salads, such as arugula, pine nuts and ricotta salata ($5.50; $8.50) tossed in lemon vinaigrette, were crafted with precision. A more complex salad with disparate ingredients of chopped egg, parmesan, chilled shiitakes, grilled sourdough and chives ($6; $9.50) wasn't as successful.

The grill station shows off its expertise with dishes such as a textbook grill-marked pork loin chop ($26.50) with candied pancetta, Gorgonzola-spiked potatoes, a grilled peach and cherry-balsamic reduction; and grilled bison ($37.50) -- rib-eye on our visits; a New York striploin is on the current menu -- which was seared to a lovely medium-rare. Crispy garlic- and parsley-speckled French fries completed the dish.

A light and refreshing lemon-rosemary mousse ($9) with a pistachio shortbread crust was the perfect way to end the meal. Whether the occasion is a wedding, anniversary, birthday or just a well-deserved night out, Log Haven still makes for a memorable dining experience.

lneilson@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lneilson@sltrib.com

New Yorker

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The food is first-rate at this exclusive, yet inviting, downtown restaurant. The service is some of the best around. Don't miss the downright affordable prix-fixe lunch and dinner.

Location » 60 W. Market St. (350 South), Salt Lake City; 801-363-0166

Online » http://www.gastronomyinc.com" Target="_BLANK">http://www.gastronomyinc.com

Hours » Dining room: Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Cafe: Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Monday to Thursday, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m.

Children's menu » No

Prices » $$$$, $$$ (café)

Liquor » Full bar

Corkage » No

Reservations » Accepted

Takeout » No

Wheelchair access » No

Outdoor dining » No

On-site parking » Valet (free at lunch, $5 with validation at dinner)

Credit cards » All major

Log Haven

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You can't help but have a memorable experience at rustic Log Haven. Chef Dave Jones' seasonal New American cuisine complements the locale beautifully.

Location » 6451 E. Creek Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City ; 801-272-8255

Online » http://www.log-haven.com" Target="_BLANK">http://www.log-haven.com

Hours » Open nightly, 5:30-9 p.m.

Children's menu » No

Prices » $$$$

Liquor » Full bar

Corkage » $15

Reservations » Recommended

Takeout » No

Wheelchair access » Yes

Outdoor dining » Yes

On-site parking » Valet

Credit cards » All major

Two Utah classic fine dining restaurants deserve another look.
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