Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Depot Grill in Cedar City, UT: A Mixed-Bag Attempt at Fine Dining

http://depotgrillrestaurant.com/
The Depot Grill in Cedar City recently arrived advertised as "your first stop for savory steaks, and the finest seafood," with a chef that is "world renowned" delivering the "best food Cedar City has to offer."

My wife and I were excited to try them on our anniversary, the one day of the year that we splurge ordering whatever we want at a fancy place.  According to the accounts of the locals, the best place to eat in Cedar has been Milts or Rusty's up the canyon, but The Depot Grill is finally an alternative.

I put on a nice shirt, and my wife a new dress I bought her.  We were struck by the contrast of strong points and short comings.  First, the strong points.

The Depot Grill has great ambiance.  We entered to soft theme music, dim lighting, and fine artwork.  The staff was young and inexperienced, but desperately trying to be professional (which was cute).  I ordered the filet mignon with a port reduction, roasted red potatoes, and vegetables.  My wife got grilled halibut with a blueberry sauce, on a potato cake which appears to already be removed from their online menu.

Actually, I believe that there is a great chef in the kitchen here, the sauces were awesome.

The Filet Mignon

Unfortunately, the great sauces and ambiance are where the pluses end.  I paid $27 for my entree.  I am willing to pay that price for a great steak dinner once a year, which I expect to be amazing.  The cut of steak was great, as was the sauce, but overall the flavor was lacking.  The roasted potatoes tasted as if they were several hours old, cooked from frozen, and overwhelmed with pepper.  They looked as if they had come from the bottom of an old stock pot.  In a word, terrible.  The vegetables were advertised on the menu as seasonal, but came out suspiciously looking and tasting as if they came from a large bag in their deep freeze.  The presentation of my plate as a whole was very poor, looking like everything had just been sort of piled up on there.

The grilled Halibut with blueberry sauce.  Interestingly, the attractive side of the fish was turned downwards.

The experience of food, like people, is largely swayed by a first impression.  The Halibut was a distraught, chaotic, confused man with a worn out collar.  He had once been great, but frozen, and dragged through the mud.  Some true character remains, but is masked by his ugly shell.  However, this man had shampooed his hair with a blueberry sauce and was sitting on a lovely potato cake that was delicious.

The bread pudding (front) and creme brulee (back).

We had heard that a particular dessert they serve at the Depot was especially delicious: the whiskey sauce bread pudding.  We ordered this along with creme brulee.  While the deserts both looked lovely, the bread pudding did not live up to its reputation, it was dry (if you can believe that).  The creme brulee was near perfect, topped with fresh berries, and possessing a divinely smooth interior, but the top was over torched giving it the flavor of burnt sugar rather than sweet caramel.

In summary, The Depot Grill is probably the best dining Cedar City has to offer, though unfortunately this isn't saying a lot.

Depot Grill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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