Park City • Bartolo’s has all the makings of a friendly neighborhood trattoria with its bright, corner location near the Swaner Nature Preserve in Kimball Junction and a welcome price point for residents and visitors.
All it needs now is a few adjustments to sauces and service.
Owner and chef Alex Bartolo worked in various Italian restaurants before opening his namesake eatery in the Newpark Town Center a few months ago.
He earned early praise for breakfast and brunch, served daily from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. During the week, grab a cup of coffee and something in the pastry case; on weekends, sit down with ricotta toast with balsamic cherries ($11), a healthy and filling muesli breakfast bowl ($9), or the summer vegetable waffle featuring squash and zucchini ($13).
The blueberry Dutch baby pancake ($9) comes with zesty lemon curd and sliced almonds for a sweet start to any day.
Start dinner with the charcuterie board ($15) featuring Creminelli meats and local cheeses or the cod croquette ($11 lunch, $12 dinner). A mixture of cod and Yukon Gold potatoes are fried to a crispy golden brown and served with a complex and exceedingly good black olive tartar along with pickled vegetables for a memorable shared appetizer.
Salads are strong here. The confit chicken Caesar ($13 lunch, $14 dinner) was large enough for a filling meal with chopped romaine, a generous portion of shredded chicken topped with shaves of Parmesan and fresh lemon and dotted with focaccia croutons.
The grilled peach caprese salad ($12 lunch, $13 dinner), in contrast, was smaller but more creative as grilled peaches rested atop peppery arugula and thick slices of mozzarella. Heirloom tomatoes and a balsamic glaze rounded out the dish packed with farm-fresh flavors.
Pasta dishes are worthwhile, primarily due to the chef’s freshly made noodles. A simple dish of spaghetti and meatballs ($17 lunch, $19 dinner) features housemade spaghetti cooked al dente and twirled in a bright and tangy pomodoro sauce. Unfortunately, the meatballs were past the point of juicy doneness.
In many Italian restaurants, a hearty Bolognese sauce defines the chef’s dedication. Bartolo’s left much in question. Little more than ground hamburger in an unremarkable tomato sauce, the rigatoni Bolognese ($17 lunch, $19 dinner) was disappointing aside from the toothsome al dente pasta. A large scoop of fresh ricotta was distinct — like a deconstructed lasagna — but there were no signs of slow-cooked vegetables and herbs.
The chicken fettuccine ($16 lunch, $18 dinner) was filling and looked more appetizing than it was. Chunks of tender confit chicken breast and meaty mushrooms — nestled with earthy spinach and plenty of shaved Parmesan — gave the perfectly al dente noodles weight, but the creamy Alfredo sauce lacked flavor.
The most beautiful dish, the trout entree ($24 lunch, $29 dinner), featured crispy skinned fillets from Utah or Idaho pan-fried and topped with a potent sun-dried tomato relish. A base of a chewy barley corn risotto and a flourish of basil oil grounded everything. But the pile of whole basil leaves dressed in yogurt left us wondering what to do with the side salad that complemented neither the fish nor the risotto.
The fried pork chop ($26 lunch, $31 dinner) hit every culinary note — showing promise from the kitchen on the entrée side of the menu. Breaded and fried to a dark golden brown, every morsel delivered juicy bites made even better by the lemon caper brown butter sauce. A gorgeous side salad of grilled radicchio and baby kale dressed with a tangy citrus vinaigrette countered the fat of the fried chop perfectly.
Desserts are plentiful at Bartolo’s, whether from the pastry case or something more Italian such as the tiramisu trifle ($10).
The cheesecake ($10) — served in a canning jar — was a memorable dessert on a summer evening. Macerated strawberries, blueberries and cherries rested atop a layer of sweet graham crumbs and a base of creamy cheesecake spiked with fresh lemon zest.
Customer service has its quirks: There was no way to make a reservation for a group of five at lunch besides waiting for a text message that never came. There was also inattentive and uninformed service throughout the dining experience.
Some flavor-enhancing adjustments to the savory items on the menu and more focus on customer service could go a long way in making Bartolo’s a regular choice for customers.
Heather L. King also owns slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches.
Bartolo’s • ★★ (out of ★★★★) A friendly neighborhood trattoria in Park City’s Kimball Junction, with Italian-inspired dishes from fresh pasta and local proteins to breakfast pastries.
Food • ★★
Mood • ★★1/2 stars
Service • ★★ stars
Location • 1241 Center Drive, Suite L100, Park City; 435-604-0608 or bartolospc.com.
Hours • Monday through Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30-9 p.m.
Price • $$-$$$
Noise • 2 bells
Children’s menu • Yes
Liquor • Yes
Reservations • Yes
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • In the Newpark Town Center
Credit cards • All