Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new gastropub in town. And one serving up more than typical bar food, too. The Annex by Epic Brewing has a menu full of creative, flavorful dishes that pair excellent with beer. What else would you expect from the people who brought you the amazing Epic beers?
The Annex is located right in the heart of Sugarhouse in the revitalized area that used to be a giant eyesore. Yep, that huge hole in the ground evolved into an awesome gastropub. Although nearby construction is still on-going and parking is a hassle, it’s worth dealing with to try The Annex.
The menu mimics Epic’s beer styles, dividing dishes into three categories :: Classic (familiar dishes that everyone will enjoy), Elevated (a little more adventurous), and Exponential (even more extravagant). Classics include fries ($3), beet and goat cheese salad ($8) and fish and chips ($9); while duck breast ($10), pork ribs ($10) and beer-braised brisket sandwich ($12) are in the Elevated category; and beer-battered oysters ($9), lamb chops ($13) and quinoa burger ($10) are under Exponential.
I visited The Annex a week after it opened. Normally I give a new restaurant more time to iron out the kinks before writing a review, but I thought I’d share some thoughts this time. I went with a group of people anxious to get a feel for the menu so we tried a bunch of dishes and shared them all. We started with the Sumac-Dusted Fries ($3), nothing too extravagant but the sumac was a good, spicy enhancement to the usual fries.
Our other appetizers were Poutine ($9), with smoked brisket, cheese curds and mushroom gravy. It was my first time eating poutine (surprising considering I’ve been to Montreal, where the dish originates!) and I loved it. We also got the Cauliflower Dip ($8), a cheesy, garlicky dip that was surprisingly addicting. It was an instant favorite at the table.
The next round was Korean Double Fried Chicken Wings ($10) with kimchi. They were wonderfully flavored, but not as crispy as we’d hoped. They have potential and hopefully will be one of the kinks The Annex will work out. The Mac and Cheese with Pancetta ($8), on the other hand, was phenomenal. Topped with a crunchy breading, the cheesy goodness was contrasted with chunks of pancetta (and really, can you ever go wrong with pancetta?). Another favorite.
For main dishes we picked the Lamb Burger ($13) with olive feta relish on a spent grain bun, from the leftover grains from the beer-brewing process. It was amazing, everything from how it was cooked (a perfect medium rare) to the gritty texture of the bun. We also got the Lamb Chop ($13), which was delicious, but the salsa verde risotto was lacking in flavor.
We finished with Porter Gingerbread ($5) topped with caramel made with Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout beer and whipped cream. Reminiscent of winter, the cinnamony, spicy sweetness was delicious. The tiny portion is just enough to satisfy the sugary fix needed after a salty meal but big enough to share.
The Annex by Epic Brewing has a great space with a casual vibe and serving creative food. Even though we ordered plenty of dishes, there’s still a handful of things I want to try next time. I think this will become a staple in Salt Lake City’s dining scene. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Go to The Annex for :: a casual, creative meal paired with a good beer. Notes :: Open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and late night; Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Reservations are not available right now (no word if that will change in the future).