How does a wood-fired pizza restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City make its name in a fairly saturated market? From Scratch has found one answer by using an Austrian flour mill in house to grind a variety of grains that go into many of their menu items, including pizza crust, burger buns and pasta.
From Scratch is Gallivan Avenue’s most vibrant resident. Tucked under a parking structure, this ground-level eatery looks up at Gallivan Plaza and downtown high rises through floor-to-ceiling windows above the cobblestone street.
Food » HH
Mood » HHH
Service » HH
Noise » bb
Hidden between 200 South and 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City, an Austrian flour mill and wood-fired oven are bringing new life to Gallivan Avenue with pizzas, burgers and pasta.
Location » 62 E. Gallivan Ave., Salt Lake City; 801-538-5090
Online » www.fromscratchslc.com
Hours » Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; dinner, Tuesday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m., closed Sunday.
Children’s menu » No
Prices » $-$$
Liquor » Beer and wine
Corkage » $12
Reservations » For parties of seven or larger
Takeout » No
Wheelchair access » Yes
Outdoor dining » No
On-site parking » No
Credit cards » All major
Designed in a chic, modern style with woods and metal accents, the centerpieces of From Scratch are the flour mill encased in glass and the woodburning oven behind the bar.
The oven, and much of the menu, is dedicated to thin-crust pizza but other choices such as well-appointed salads and house pastas dot the small lunch and dinner menus.
As the name implies, many of the items on From Scratch’s menu are just that — made from scratch. A tangy house whole-grain mustard and earthy jam accompany the charcuterie platter ($12) and you’ll find housemade ketchup and mayonnaise on the Scratch Burger ($13).
The burger bun is also made with that Austrian-mill flour for a very light and airy product that still holds up to crispy shoestring onions and melted Goldcreek Smoked Cheddar on a thick patty of beef. The most memorable part of this dish, however, was the Yukon Gold potato chips fried to crunchy perfection.
Salads, such as the Honey Apple Salad ($6), could easily serve as a light lunch and was a delightful mix of arugula and spinach with toasted almonds, ricotta cheese, thin sticks of gala apple and a refined honey vinaigrette dressing. The Wedge salad ($6) was what you might expect, with hearts of romaine, smoked prosciutto, chunks of blue cheese cloaked in a creamy blue cheese dressing.
Seemingly on the menu for trend sake, the risotto cake ($6) appetizer was lightly fried and then dressed with arugula. Without the fire-roasted bell pepper sauce, which served as kicky base, this dish was lost in blandness that — while filling and inexpensive — was unsatisfying.
Returning back to the wood-fired oven for the pizzas, the crust is always a crucial element in the ultimate success or failure of a thin-crust pizza. Each one is hand stretched by the pizza makers before being topped with ingredients. On one visit the dough was undercooked in the middle so my first bite was mushy. Another visit resulted in over-charred bubbles. A third visit finally produced the perfect crust — golden brown, crispy but with the correct ratio of chewiness.
Pizza toppings at From Scratch are standouts in their own right. The Salumi pizza ($15) features locally crafted Creminelli meats atop a tangy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and a handful of arugula. Alfredo sauce and roasted garlic are the stars of the White Out ($15), which is also covered in fresh ricotta, parmesan-reggiano and melted mozzarella. This pizza is best shared around the table as the richness would otherwise be overwhelming on its own. In fact, one lunch, my table ordered three pizzas and each shared one piece so we could all mix and match flavors. Our third pizza of the day was the Fennel Sausage ($15), topped with crème fraiche, a plethora of red and green onions, pungent fennel sausage and mozzarella. Eaten on its own, the fennel sausage was too heavily spiced and overpowered every other flavor on the pie.
A final pizza selection was the true test — the Margherita ($13). This was the version that delivered the perfectly golden, chewy crust (in record time no less), with lots of fresh mozzarella slices checkerboarding the sweet Bianco Di Napoli tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. A successful representation to be sure.
Service at From Scratch was surprising. On two visits for lunch, the food took far longer than a very efficient dinner service without the crush of a lunch hour. Server attentiveness varied widely and sadly on all occasions offered no expertise regarding the beer (a very nice selection of local options from Squatters, Epic Brewing and Uinta) and wine lists.
With some additional staff training — from the oven masters to the servers — From Scratch could shine a bright light on a hidden and often forgotten street in downtown Salt Lake City.
Heather L. King also writes for www.theutahreview.com.
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