South Jordan • The South Jordan Fire Department arrived just as my companions and I were looking over our menus at The Wild Rose. Word was a diner in the adjacent room was having trouble breathing.
As the stretcher arrived and whisked her away, our table silently wished her well and I hoped the rest of our experience would be a bit more uplifting.
The Wild Rose is pleasant, but cavernous and Spartan, with bold, white leather couches at the restaurant's entrance, vibrant blue doors that can close off one dining area and large glazed artwork in another area softened by earth-tone stonework laid in a unique basketweave pattern. Despite the white tablecloths and black leather chairs, something seems to be missing: window or ceiling coverings, perhaps? More artwork on the remaining bare walls?
The sister restaurant to Tiburon Fine Dining in Sandy, The Wild Rose is the latest creation by restaurateur Ken Rose and his wife Valerie.
The menu feels a bit like Tiburon's hearty American fare, with dishes having multiple components as well as somewhat steep pricetags.
Service was hit and miss at the 5-month-old restaurant. On one visit, our server was obviously new to the industry but extremely friendly, although some of the information she gave us was incorrect.
(A diver scallop is one that has been hand-picked versus using environmentally unfriendly chain nets on the ocean floor; and local Creminelli salami is crafted mainly with pork in many exceptional varieties including Barolo, Casalingo, Sopressata, Piccante and Tartufo. It would be nice to know which version shows up on the cheese and salami plate, $11.)
One can choose from four appetizers or three salads to start, including three well-seared scallops ($14) nestled in chipotle cream sauce, braised pork belly ($12) with unusually good jalapeÃ±o grits hidden by a pool of roasted garlic demi glace and steamed clams ($11) with bits of sausage in a salty herbed white wine sauce.
Both the Caesar ($7) and chopped ($8) salads, the latter with romaine, grapes, almonds, bacon and blue cheese dressing, were balanced and well made, although the former lacked croutons and was skimpy for the price tag.
Many of the main courses receive the same side dishes of mashed squash, a carrot medallion, beet medallion and haricots verts or asparagus, along with mashed or roasted potatoes.
What the kitchen may lack in diversity, it makes up for it in protein execution. Tender beef tenderloin ($30) was topped with a slice of umami-laden blue cheese and a drizzle of port-demi glace. A roasted airline breast of chicken, that's with the first joint of the wing attached ($21), had crispy skin and moist meat, while six rosy lamb ribs ($31) were artfully arranged along with a smattering of blueberry-mint chutney. The only misstep came with a double-cut pork chop ($23), which needed less cooking to retain its moistness.
As for seafood options, coolish crab salad crowned the mahi mahi ($25), resting in a subtle Meyer lemon beurre blanc and copious tail-on shrimp ($23) swam in an herbed white wine sauce and angel hair pasta.
Desserts ($8) were the low point of the meal. Three of the four choices contain either liquor or coffee and they tasted overly contrived for the end results. Runny crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e needed to be cooked longer, the mocha meringue cake was dry but interesting, and the chocolate mousse had a strange aftertaste. Only the cheesecake satisfied.
Alcohol in general takes a prominent place in the restaurant, as there's a large dark wooded alcohol storage that frames the open kitchen. In addition to a respectable selection of red and white wine, there are nearly a dozen beers, spirits and after-dinner drinks available. Table-side French press coffee ($4) is also a lovely touch to the dining experience.
In what feels like a very conservative town that's filled with several chain restaurants, it's refreshing to have a locally owned dining option. Now that's something uplifting.
The Wild Rose
Food • HHH
Mood • HHhj
Service • HHhj
Noise • bb
Amid The District's numerous chain restaurants, The Wild Rose is a welcome addition to the area's dining scene. Hearty American fare includes seared scallops, pork belly and lamb.
Location • 11516 S. District Drive, South Jordan; 801-790-7673
Online • wildrose-district.com
Hours • Open nightly, 5 to 10 p.m.
Children's menu • No
Prices • $$$
Liquor • Full service
Corkage • $10
Reservations • Accepted
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • All major