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Restaurant Reviews

Savor the Summit: a culinary experience

By Rigo

Summer has arrived and with it follows outdoor dinner parties. It’s time to enjoy all of the splendor that this season has to offer – plenty of sunshine, fresh and local ingredients to inspire us, as well as, refreshing drinks that will keep us spirited until after the sun has gone down. Yes, let’s take pleasure in all things summer and what better way to kick things off than Park City’s Savor the Summit?

Entering it fourth year, Savor the Summit is Park City’s greatest dinner party. It’s a collection of the city’s best restaurants and their chefs unveiling gastronomic seasonality with the utmost talent. It is all showcased on the legendary Grand Table – a dinner table that stretches along the center of Park City’s historic Main Street.

One of this year’s featured restaurants was the Silver Star Café; a quaint, non-urban eatery that adds Western-regional influences to its Americana-style fare.

Recent owners, Jeff and Lisa Ward, purchased the Silver Star Café in spring of 2010, a year after the café’s opening. With previous experience in restaurant management, the couple decided to make this establishment their own.

The menu at Silver Star Café begins with classic lunch dishes inspired by local ingredients and flavors. This philosophy of using in-season, regional ingredients is also involved in the preparation of their dinner menu. The dinner menu ranges from small, tapa-style plates to appropriate size dinner plates to satisfy a larger appetite. Such items include artisan-style pizzas, vegetarian friendly pasta dishes, as well as meat entrees using local and/or free-range products. All this is in an intimate setting with surrounding views of the Quarry Mountains and the Uinta Mountains. This cozy café can satisfy a variety of appetites from all walks of life – literally.

Its locations is ideal for the outdoor enthusiast with complementary natural offerings such as direct bike-in/hike-in trails from Park City Mountain Resort, also, it is nearby the Silver Star chairlift and numerous Spiro and Armstrong trails that lead in and out of the plaza.

I was fortunate to attend this year’s Savor the Summit and partake in Chef Dave Bible’s, of Silver Star Café, culinary gifts. I was unfortunate in the sense that I was tardy to the party. Yes, I missed out on the amusée, the very item that excites, moistens the palate, per se; leading the guest to future delights. Not even a glass of water to alleviate the situation. My entire setting was MIA. Yes, absent. Why? Perhaps, this was a reflection of my rudeness? Maybe, the host thought I was a no-show? Or a neighboring guest with greedy hands, so impatiently took what was thought to be a lone glass of water because the amusée was too dry? Perhaps. I don’t know. I will never know if that amusée was too dry.

Moving on…

Things were becoming quite ‘fishy’ by the time the starter arrived. The meal consisted of a pan-seared Halibut served with fingerling potatoes, caramelized apples and a smoked tomato coulis. I found this meal to be rather amusing –whimsical, even. This plate had color from the purple fingerlings and a nice red hue from the perfectly smoked tomato coulis; both a great complement to the peppery halibut. I especially enjoyed the apples that were tucked underneath. It added life without eclipsing the other flavors. This meal was a great introduction to the other dishes. It had a great sense of balance and was executed rather swimmingly.

The next course was the salad – the obligatory salad course. Yep, standard greens, i.e., organic spinach in our case, throw in nuts for crunch, insert cheese here, and finally, drizzle the standard seasonal berry vinaigrette. Voila! You have a salad to feed the masses! I am not much of a salad guy, however, all the required elements were there and considering the setting, I compliment the chef and his team for delivering a satisfactory salad.

The main course was a steer in another direction. It was coffee-braised Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Grits, and baby carrots. I enjoyed the flavors of this dish. There were subtle notes of chocolate in the sauce that really helped the ribs that were slightly short on seasoning. The well-seasoned carrots, on the other hand, complemented the earthy grits, all supporting the short ribs. The dish (again, considering the setting) had nothing importantly wrong, besides that it made me want more. The combination of flavors and ingredients in the main course is (in my mind) the epitome of the café: good comfort food.

Many say the diner always remembers the dessert. It’s what seals the deal or becomes the deal breaker. In my case, I vaguely remember, due the amount of wine offered, intentional, perhaps? I don’t. Chef Dave offered strawberry shortcake with a hazelnut Chantilly. A classic dish that is perfect for such an event. Light, flexible and easy. What’s not to enjoy?

The sample menu from the Silver Star Café for Savor the Summit was a nice reflection of the café: simple, flavorful and without pretentiousness. I have intentions of recreating a future experience with the Silver Star Café in a more intimate setting to fully appreciate, to savor, per se, the talent that exists.

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