878 S 900 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
It is with great joy that I enter the ranks of the Pago fans.
My wife’s birthday was last night, so we went, sans-child, to celebrate. After a quick tour through the menu with our cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow server, Dave, we concluded that we’d skip the appetizers and split three entrees. Not only were they accommodating, but picked up on the fact that the gnocchi was our de-facto app and sent it out first.
And it was unlike any gnocchi that I’ve had. The browned butter sauce had a generous kick of acid. The plate came out laden with these lovely little lumps of starchy goodness, and even though we were splitting, I feared that we might have ordered too much food. Nope. That acid cut the fat of the butter nicely and turned this into a fairly light dish in taste. I choose to believe that the same alchemy also made it a calorie free dish as well.
The duck was cooked exactly to our temperature request can came coated in cocoa nibs and sitting on a nest of reconstituted dried cherries and apricots, which in turn was lovingly nestled in polenta and sauced with a fruit juice reduction.
The star entree, though, was the rabbit. Shredded with fresh pappardelle pasta in a cream sauce with some fresh corn and leeks, it reminded me of elegant home-cooked food. Completely soul satisfying.
After a skillfully executed meal like that, dessert is a must. I’d already told my wife that if we didn’t like the options, we were early enough in the evening that we could hit Tulie for her favorite frangipane tart. The moment the words “banana bread pudding” came out of Dave’s mouth, though, I was hoping she’d forgotten the offer. On hearing “topped with pistachio gelato,” she did so.
Unreal. Moist, warm, custardy banana bread in a nicely torched pool of caramel sauce. The pistachio gelato was delicious on its own and absolutely shoved the dish over the top, but I intend a real compliment when I say that the gelato took a backseat to that lovely, lovely banana bread. They brought us a very large serving (with a birthday candle!) so that we could share, and I waddled out of there having had more food than I probably ought to, but I really did wish I’d gotten my own dessert, and possibly even skipped one of the entrees in favor of it. It was that good.
We talked all the way home about when our next visit will be. I’m so glad to have an elegant option near the Tower, especially with Sundance coming up. I have a feeling that I might be sneaking across the street to get a dessert or two to go during the festival.