Saturday, December 14, 2019

Brunch at The Copper Onion in Salt Lake City

One of my friends got proposed to in The Copper Onion. (She said yes!) But that's not why I've wanted to go there. It's been on my list as a foodie's destination for new American fare for probably five years. I've wanted to go there on my past few trips to Salt Lake City but never had the chance. I tried to make it hear from Idaho when I saw the eclipse two years ago. But the post-eclipse traffic was so bad that I didn't get here on time.

The Copper Onion.
However, I'm in Salt Lake City today. But, later tonight, I will be standing by for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square's Christmas concert.  And what that meant was foregoing normal dinner in favor of probably eating at some food court so I could stand in line longer. So, brunch it was.

The open kitchen at The Copper Onion.
You could choose between a normal seat and a seat at the so-called "chef's table". Some chef's tables have a specific menu like a tasting menu. This was simply bar seats the same way you would sit at a sushi bar or a lunch counter at a diner. I love these seats because you get to watch the food pornography parade as the handover from kitchen to wait staff takes place.

Eggs Benedict fresh from the kitchen.  (Someone else's order.)
The Copper Onion doesn't publish a brunch menu, so I went in blind, but expecting a mixture of breakfast and lunch stuff.  However, it being 3:30 pm in my home time zone, I was really in the mood for pm food. Alas, it was mostly breakfast stuff:
Biscuits and Gravy
Eggs Benedict
Turkish Eggs
Huevos Rancheros
American Breakfast
Mushroom Scramble
Smoked Chicken Posole
Snake River Farms Steak & Eggs
Pasta Carbonara
Cuban Sandwich
The Copper Onion Burger
None of the lunch stuff interested me. Well, I love me some bibimbap, but that's not going to be my first dish at an American restaurant. I ordered some patatas bravas (yes, totally inconsistent of me to order a Spanish dish when I just said I'm not having a Korean one) and requested a recommendation from the waiter. Pasta carbonara, he said. I didn't want a plate of carbs to go with my plate of carbs. So migas it was. And throw in a bourbon sidecar. Because bourbon! And sidecar!

The bourbon sidecar.  Basil Hayden, Maker's Mark (Don't know why there are two bourbons in this drink, but I ain't complainin'), Gran Gala (this is where the sidecar part comes in), lemon, basil, mint.
Damn, that bourbon sidecar was good. In fact, it was the best thing I had there. It also knocked me the hell out. Thankfully, I had no heavy machinery to operate that day.

Patatas bravas.
The first few patatas bravas were good, but one way I judge food is whether or not I think I could eat the whole dish. Yes, I was by myself, but even still, a dish should not be so intensely flavored that a person would not want to devour the whole thing. You can see the richness of this dish in the photo to the left. The spice powder (which I'm guessing was salt, pepper, paprika, and maybe garlic powder) was too much. Aioli smothering every bite? Tasty, but too rich. And not at all what I've had in Spain, though perhaps they were not supposed to be. Either way, I wouldn't order them again.

The migas was a surprise to see on the menu.  In the US, migas is a southwestern thing.  (It's a different dish in Spain and Portugal.)  In fact, the first time I had it was in Tucson.  I was surprised to find it in the middle of Utah's mountains.  Was it good?  It was good, but it didn't thrill me.  I didn't eat the whole thing, but not because it was too intense.  The dish simply didn't come together for me.  I haven't had enough migas in my life to know if it's the dish or the recipe that I don't care for.

This meal may sound disappointing.  And surely, it was not what I was hoping for.  But I'd like to come back again some day for dinner to see what this restaurant is really about.  There were two regulars to my left at the counter chatting up the line cook on a first-name basis.  In spite of the food, this place had the feel of a joint I would be a regular at if I lived here.  In the meantime, it may have to be another year until I get my next shot.  'Til next time.