After remodeling Sea Salt’s space, One0Eight bistro hits its stride with wood-fired pizzas, fresh fish and Utah-themed cocktails

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Weekend Chop at OneOEight, a new bistro on the corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

They say the third time’s the charm. For me, it was the fourth visit to the American bistro One0Eight that proved delightful, making this latest addition to the restaurant scene a worthy, if special-occasion, visit for comfort food made fancy.

On my first stop, close to Christmas, our party of four had to commandeer our table near the bar from another pack of waiting diners. On another visit, the tempeh barbecue bowl was too dry, and we wondered out loud about our wine order.

But the last visit was just right. Though the restaurant was packed, we found immediate seating at the counter overlooking the open kitchen. The server was attentive. And we debated what was better: the New Zealand king salmon with an orange reduction sauce or the overnight brisket, made of wagyu beef. Both melted in the mouth, and little was left to share.

One0Eight, named for the eastside Salt Lake City zip code where it is located, opened last November in the former Sea Salt space. It serves seasonal favorites using local ingredients like Gold Creek cheese, Slide Ridge honey and Frog Bench Farms greens.

The redesign eliminated the former restaurant’s echo chamber, but kept the exposed kitchen and wood-fired oven, used to make One0Eight’s pizza. Jazz music plays over the din of the crowd. Globe pendants illuminate the white-tiled, wood-floored space.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) OneOEight, a new bistro on the corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Open shelves over the bar display liquor bottles like they’re works of art. And the cocktails ($13) are gems. Local spirits are well represented, including Rabbit and Grass Agave Spirit made in Eden, Alpine Preserve Liqueur from Park City and Beehive Gin from South Salt Lake. And, of course, Park City’s High West Distillery, where James Dumas — who owns One0Eight with his wife, Kris — was the former executive chef.

The drink names reference local spots or lore, from the Aviary to Emigration Gimlet or Flocks of Seagulls. And for those in the know, “Little bit of Paris…” (made with vodka, that Alpine Preserve and Champagne) is a long-ago reference to how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints described its Main Street Plaza, the walkway running through the LDS Church campus.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bianco Pizza at OneOEight, a new bistro on the corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d walk over to sip a Hudson old fashioned and make a meal of the mushroom soup ($8) and bianco pizza ($15), made with ricotta, chevre and mozzarella, a smattering of artichokes, Kalamata olives and drizzle of balsamic honey. The crust is thin, but thick enough for the toppings, perfectly chewy and slightly smoky from the fire. The earthy soup, made with ancient grains, benefits from a splash of white truffle oil and the red pear chips laid on top, even if the large pieces of rosemary were a bit much.

With a cocktail, that’s a $36 meal. On par with other American cuisine restaurants, like Pago, Copper Onion and Provisions, the prices felt steep when the food didn’t meet expectations. Like the $16 falafel bowl with too-hard falafel balls, or the $19 tempeh barbecue bowl with too little sauce. The tempeh bowl is now off the menu, the soy product replaced with an Asian-flavored pork belly dish.

We’ve had the daily fish, twice, and while prices vary, it’s been $38 each time. One Sunday, it sold out as soon as the restaurant opened. It comes with a grain like basmati rice and a large portion of dressed greens. The chicken schnitzel ($19) offers a huge portion of pounded and breaded bird topped with preserved lemon and fried anchovy.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Overnight Brisket at OneOEight, a new bistro on the corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

But it’s the overnight brisket ($25) you’ll want to try. The large portion of fork-tender meat sat on top of a spicy red cabbage slaw and came with triangles of crispy polenta. I had come to give the burger ($18) a try, but a neighboring diner’s plate of brisket beckoned.

For the appetizers, we liked the raclette ($17), served on a mini frying pan and accompanied by fingerling potatoes, cornichons, house pickles and speck. The deviled eggs ($8) offer a hearty six eggs — the best ones were curried with candied bacon. And the meatball ($14) was a meal on its own — four moist ones made of beef, pork and veal with spicy marinara and large wedges of bread on the side. If you like fried, cheesy things, you can’t go wrong with the house potato chips ($3), made with crumbled blue cheese.

One0Eight offers four house-made pastas, and the gnocchi ($13) is a star, with Yukon potatoes, roasted garlic and marinara, even if it features too much shaved pecorino for my taste. Four oven-fired pizzas, plus a special, round out the choices.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) OneOEight, a new bistro on the corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

I wanted to like the sides. The carrots, Brussel sprouts and beets ($6 each or 3/$15) were mushy when we tried them in January. But I suspect they are better now, accompanied by new flavors, including a black coffee molasses glaze and candied tempeh. By the looks of all the small bowls topped with toasted bread crumbs being ordered, the three cheese mac ($8) is a customer favorite.

The dessert menu was similarly hit or miss. The churro waffle ($10), with vanilla gelato, caramel sauce and cocoa nibs, is made for two, but we left most in the bowl. Not sweet enough. The three cookies from the cookie jar ($3), lacked the anticipated homemade taste. But the three mini jars filled with dark chocolate pot de crème, lemon meringue and crème brulee ($5 each or $12 for a sampler) were just right.

One0Eight • ★★★ (out of ★★★★)

This new American Bistro serves upscale, seasonal comfort food — think overnight brisket, chicken schnitzel, house-made pasta and oven-fired pizzas — in a trendy black and white space warmed with wood accents. Don’t miss the cocktails, charmingly named for local haunts and lore.

Food • ★★★ (out of ★★★★)

Mood • ★★★ (out of ★★★★)

Service • ★★1/2 (out of ★★★★)

Location • 1709 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-906-8101

Hours • Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5-9 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays, 5-10 p.m., Sundays, 5-8:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Children’s menu • Yes

Prices • $$-$$$$

Liquor • Full bar

Reservations • Only for parties of 6 or more at 6 p.m.

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • Yes

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • Yes