Main Street in Park City can feel a little like a food court to the untrained eye. With restaurant after restaurant running up and down both sides of the street it can be overwhelming trying to pick one place over another. From the outside, Riverhorse on Main blends in with Park City’s historic buildings, with nothing but a dainty sign proclaiming its name. But inside, and especially when the food is served, Riverhorse stands out from the rest.
When I first walked inside, Riverhorse tricked me into believing it was a small restaurant. Once the smoke and mirrors were pulled away, or rather once I was lead beyond the tiny bar, I realized there were several intimate rooms and a gracious one, plus a patio. The large room is visually divided not by smoke but by Aspens, bringing the Wasatch wilderness inside.
The wine list is pages long with few options by the glass. But those there are reasonably priced and cover most of the wine bases. After deciding on a rosé (of course), we were served an amuse bouche from the chef :: a pickled onion and plum compote with brie cheese mixture on a lavosh (fancy for “cracker”). The texture of the compote was a bit overboard for me, but the flavor profile was right on the mark.
The menu could easily be mistaken for any other American steakhouse at first glance, with classic items like Southern Fried Chicken, until I notice it’s served with kale biscuits ($32). Or the rack of lamb with roasted cauliflower… and carrot creme ($42). Or the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with smoked tomato and polenta fries ($29), which taste, oddly enough, just like they sound. And the pork shoulder could be run-of-the-mill, but it’s not; the fall-apart tender morsels of meat are slightly smokey with hints of sweetness from the corn salsa.
Their filet mignon is served with crispy onions and blue cheese grits—those, I would love to try—($38) while their New York steak is served more traditionally with creamed spinach ($49). The Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut lies somewhere in the middle of creative and classic, served with herb-whipped potatoes and mango ($38). The nutty crust created an almost cheesy, au-graten-like flavor to the juicy halibut, a fish notorious for being dry but somehow managed to melt in my mouth. Possibly the best halibut I’ve ever had.
For dessert we split a concoction containing a house-made Oreo and what I think was a chocolate pie topped with more chocolate and an assortment of berries. The dish was a huge contrast from the intricately crafted flavors of our entrees and I was surprised that it seemed so thrown together, in both the literal and taste sense.
Our dessert disappointment was offset by the enjoyment of Joy & Eric, the amazing pop duo performing during our dinner. Riverhorse hosts a whole lineup of musical guests, from Joy & Eric to jazz vocal pianist Teresa and more. Not something you normally see at a restaurant regularly awarded for its food and ambiance.
Riverhorse has a very Park City vibe to it. It’s elegant while still relaxing, it’s expensive but still approachable and it’s simultaneously different yet familiar. Somehow there was nothing ironic about sipping on wine at a white tablecloth restaurant while listening to a live band sing James Taylor. Riverhorse manages to pull off stuff like that, stuff you wouldn’t think would go together, but somehow does.
Go to Riverhorse for :: the unique ambiance and the creative twist on steakhouse fare. Notes :: Riverhorse has a full vegetarian menu, plus they serve brunch on Sundays. The rest of the week they focus strictly on dinner (seven days a week), serving 5 p.m. to close. Reservations are available online plus they host private parties and cater, too. Follow them on facebook for wine dinners and special events.