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Dining out: Pull over for 2 new Brazilian, Thai fast-food outlets

Published June 5, 2014 3:48 pm

Dining out • Fresh new food from Tushar Brazilian Express and Siam Noodle Bar.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It probably wouldn't shock anyone if I were to say we Utahns love our chain and fast-food restaurants. It only takes the opening of a famous burger chain to produce scenes of automotive bedlam. One glimpse of the frenzied maze of queueing cars and you would think the zombie apocalypse was finally upon us, not the 287th opening of an identikit eatery where a "secret" menu is anything but.

Of course, none of this is pious preaching on my part; I'm as subject to the pressures of time, circumstance and hunger as the next person. When all three converge, you'll find me in a state of zombification probably moaning "buurgggerrs" — because, let's face it, when it comes to fast casual dining, selections aren't dramatically diverse.

Two recently opened restaurants in the Salt Lake Valley, however, seek to offer the time- and money-pressed diner something more exotic. If you're in their vicinity, you might want to check them out.

Tushar Brazilian Express

Tushar Brazilian Express in South Jordan aims to offer a unique twist on the more common Brazilian churrasco restaurant you may have already experienced around Salt Lake City. Gone are the passadores — meat waiters wielding hefty skewers of grilled meat — as too are the customarily large prices and multihour dining commitment. Tushar offers familiar flavors, but in a wholly different and rapidly prepared package.

Entering the space, diners are greeted by billboards detailing Tushar's menu and a concept most diners will have experienced: Line up, choose your dish, order at the counter, take a seat and your food arrives a few minutes later.

The menu offers a smattering of appetizers, soups, salads and skewer meals — the latter of which are the killer deal here: a skewer of your choosing plus three side dishes. Choose from grilled chicken ($8.95), grilled pork loin ($8.95), grilled pineapple ($8.95) and beef ($9.95). If you're feeling extra hungry, additional skewers are available à la carte, priced $2.95-$3.45.

For your trio of accompanying sides, choose from a selection of white rice, brown rice, black beans, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, fried bananas, french fries and green mixed salad. A word to the wise, it's probably sensible to avoid the carb-trifecta of rice, mashed spuds and fries — unless of course you've brought assistance to roll you out the door. These are filling plates.

While every skewer I sampled was appetizing and the polar opposite of the heat-lamp-exhausted dishes you've no doubt wearily ordered, eaten and regretted, the pork in particular was a succulent success. Also, anyone who's tossed a few slices of pineapple on the summer grill will know the sweet genius of this preparation. Don't be afraid of supersizing your platter this way; it certainly makes for a healthier and tastier alternative to the usual fast-food upgrades.

Siam Noodle Bar

As you might infer, Siam Noodle Bar's menu focuses on noodles. What you might not expect is the location, housed on the ground floor of Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. Quick tip: The Intermountain hospital campus is large; Siam Noodle Bar lies at the southwest end of building No. 1.

The outlet is the work of Anny Sooksri, owner and operator of nearby Tea Rose Diner and Chabaar, who was directly invited to build out the business by the hospital. Since its opening in February, I've no doubt Intermountain staffers and visitors have thanked their lucky stars for this bold addition to the site.

Siam Noodle Bar's menu is modeled on street vendor food from Thailand, and everything is created speedily to order from scratch. There are options for vegetarians, vegans and those looking to avoid gluten, too. The core of the menu is a build-it-yourself approach: Choose a meat or tofu, a type of noodle (egg noodle, chow fun, glass noodle, vermicelli, rice noodle, pasta, ramen) and a vegetable. Your rendition is completed with a drinkably delicious yet subtle broth and a flutter of garnishes such as bean sprouts, celery and cilantro.

Configurations start at $6.50 and you can bolt on an extra helping of meat for $2.50 or shrimp for a buck more. For the indecisive — you know who you are — Siam Noodle Bar also offers a number of preset noodle bowls. Point, pay and slurp within minutes.

The restaurant's concept encourages diners to grab and go. While you're free to linger at one of the two or three tables, dotted with sriracha, hoisin and fish sauce, dishes come served in Styrofoam containers as standard. That said, if you do want to loiter, just ask and your meal can be served in a bowl better suited to dining in.

The noodle bar is adjacent to a certain international sandwich joint with its own claims to fresh and healthy cuisine. For me, Siam Noodle Bar offers an immediately more tempting and unique option for lunch and early dinner, and itself is undeniably fresh and healthy.

Stuart Melling also writes at http://www.theutahreview.com and can be found on Twitter @gastronomicslc. —

HH

Tushar Brazilian Express

Food • HH

Mood • H

Service • HH

Noise • b

Brazilian flavors without the cash splurge or time commitment you might commonly expect.

Location • 1078 S. Jordan Parkway, South Jordan; 801-446-6644

Online • http://www.tusharexpress.com

Hours • Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Children's menu • Yes

Prices • $

Liquor • No

Corkage • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • Yes —

HH

Siam Noodle

Food • HH

Mood • H

Service • HH

Noise • b

Thai street-vendor-style cuisine, offered in a grab-and-go format, makes for truly unique hospital dining.

Location • IMC Building One, 5171 Cottonwood St., Murray, 801-262-1888

Hours • Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Children's menu • No

Prices • $

Liquor • No

Corkage • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • Yes

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • Yes