Sunday, February 1, 2009

A New Dining Option

Allow me to do something I've always wanted to do...write a restaurant review.

We went with some friends on Saturday night to try this new restaurant in Provo: Spark Restaurant Lounge. It's only been open since October and has already changed chefs and menus once but we all agreed - we hoped this place is here to stay. It's a little unexpected - kind of out of place - but certainly a breath of fresh air in Utah county's world of chain restaurants (excepting Pizzeria 7 12 of course). I read a bunch of reviews before we went and a few poo-pooed the place as nothing but a wanna-be. However, most people gave rave reviews of the drinks, food, service and uniqueness. I was looking forward to trying something new!

And when I say "drinks" I am referring to something else a little different about this place. It is entirely non-alcoholic and instead offers quite a large selection of virgin "mocktails." It is obvious that these "drinks" are their specialty and something they want to be recognized for. Afterall - they are open till the wee hours and the word "lounge" is in their title. I must admit it felt a little strange watching my friend drink a non-alcoholic apple martini out of a martini glass with sugar on the rim with a chunk of apple on a toothpick to look like an olive. Huh? And they actually sell grape juice from a winery in California by the bottle! But we just rolled with it and my mango mojito was so yummy I slurped it up before I hit the main course. Next time I want to try the shirley temple with a dollop of cotton candy on top!

Similar to their drink offerings and their chic and modern decor, their menu is unique. For an appetizer, Wes and I shared the roasted cauliflower soup with almond froth. It may have been a tince (my made-up word) too salty but still very enjoyable. Our friends ordered the dueling edamame - a tasty sweet and salty, hot and cold version of this healthy treat and some sort of tuna sushi roll. I didn't pay too much attention to that because I don't like sushi but he said it was pretty good.

The rest of the meal continued to surprise and impress. Not only was the food delicious - but it was presented beautifully. For salads Wes had the mixed greens and I had the frisee with apples, pomegranate seeds and a pomegranate vinaigrette. Delightful. For our main course, Wes ordered a skirt steak that literally fell apart it was so tender. My short rib was not so tender when I cut into it, but it melted in my mouth. It was served with spinach over a creamy potato risotto. Hungry yet? And finally, my friend's salmon was flaky and tender and had a nice flavor. And we were pleased with portion sizes that we could manage and still have room for one of their desserts.

Not to be outdone, their unique desserts were equally delicious and beautiful to the rest of the meal - if not more so. The husbands had the deep fried chocolate with orange coriander ice cream and the wives had the roasted pineapple with pine nut shortbread, toasted coconut gelato, and a ribbon of passion fruit curd. The memories are making my mouth water! (cell phone picture does not do it justice)

Unfortunately the place was not as busy as we would have expected. It did start to liven up as the evening progressed and groups of single adults came into the lounge area for drinks and desserts. It was all a little surreal and we had to keep reminding ourselves we were still going to walk out onto University Avenue. But it was a very enjoyable evening and I would recommend the place to anyone who likes to eat out and try something new!

I couldn't find a website to refer you to - weird! But here's some info:

Open for lunch and dinner (and late for drinks, appetizers and desserts)
Kid friendly - NO
Reservations - YES
Dress - casual
Drinks - $3 and up
Appetizers and salads - $5 - 8
Main dish - $14 - 20
Dessert - $5-8 (?)


The Harrises said...

Ohhh! That does sound good. I like places that are different. I hope it stays in business. Such quality food.

Anna said...

What a fun change from the normal old restaurant.
Thanks for the great "review"!

Jennette said...

I think that it sounds fun...maybe we can all get a night out there together when we come to visit this summer.

Kip said...

It's nice to see you do a restaurant review, Emily. This is a place I've wanted to try. I'll have to pay attention to your future dining experiences. Thanks!

Julie said...

You should be a professional restaurant reviewer and publish your articles. Sounds fun & different. Provo needs a shake-up now and then.

oodlesofoversons said...

EMILYYYYY!!! Hey! Glad you left a comment on our blog. I think I just found a new favorite blog to visit ;0) And now we will have to try Sparks.