Pago – Second Visit
878 S 900 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
I’m mildly disappointed to write this review, though it’s only a mild trip down from the last one. Pago used to be one of my pieces of mental evidence that the gastronomic scene in SLC has begun to develop in earnest. It’s still good evidence of that fact, but a bit less persuasive to me this time around. They’ve had a change in chef, though, so a revisit seems appropriate.
Starting with the great stuff, the burger was transcendent and gave me serious pause about calling it out as the best in the city over Lucky 13. Lucky 13 won the argument in my head because of that lovely bacon, but the Pago burger was fantastic and coupled with an obscene mound of truffle fries.
The duck and accoutrements were also good, the small taste of it that my wife relinquished from her plate for me to try. I will say, however, that I found the options quite a bit less inspired and inventive. I’d call them ordinary, with a lineup of dishes that would be comfortable appearing in many other restaurants in the city, though the execution of them was expert.
The service was, once again, top notch. We were helped by my favorite kind of waiter: willing to discuss and banter with a sharp wit, and just as willing to disappear until I show signs of needing something. It’s a hard balance to strike, and was done well here. I was thirsty as all get out during our meal, so extra points for keeping a very small water glass full for my entire meal.
Where did the star go? Dessert. Maybe that’s a testament of the strengths of the banana bread pudding with pistachio gelato we had last time, but the two desserts we had this time were not even in the same universe. The ginger pound cake with blueberry soup was not great. Though the cake was fine and moist, it lacked much ginger flavor, and the blueberry soup was plain boring. The bread pudding with whiskey cream was the tastier of the two, but was a ridiculously skimpy portion for the $8 price. It didn’t help that, after we finished both of them, I realized that had we simply cut out after the entrees, we could have each had a frangipane tart and bouchon from Tulie just two blocks away.
So, from here on out, it’ll be dinner at Pago and dessert elsewhere for this guy.