First came Copper Onion. The New American restaurant revolutionized how Utahns thought about food—and how the food world thought about Utah. It put Salt Lake City, its chefs and its culinary scene on the gastronomic map, paving the way for a whole new range of restaurants serving world-class food.
Then came Copper Common. Part bar, part restaurant, Copper Common was a drinking establishment that filled a much-needed hole in Salt Lake City. Serving cocktails created by mixologists and bar food you actually want to eat, the Copper Onion offshoot was a success from the start.
And now, there’s Copper Kitchen, the newest member of the Copper-coated team created by chef and owner Ryan Lowder. Copper Kitchen, in Holladay, moves the dining scene outside of downtown Salt Lake City and serves a similar style of New American comfort foods like it’s oldest sibling. The menu has the same essence, the atmosphere the same attitude, just under a different (copper) roof in a different part of town.
Copper Kitchen sits in Holladay’s newly revamped area on 4600 South 2300 East neighboring the new Caputo’s, Taqueria 27, 3 Cups and not far from Provisions. This area is an oasis to southern Salt Lake City dwellers, who no longer have to trek all the way downtown just for a decent meal.
The copper ceiling and open kitchen with bar seating are reminiscent of its sister restaurant, but Copper Kitchen has cozy booths and plenty of parking—both welcome changes. But don’t be fooled; reservations are just as crucial as at Copper Onion.
House-cured olives and pickles ($4/each) top the snack part of the menu, along with charcuterie and cheese plates ($14/each). The cheese board was great to snack on while perusing the menu and picking a wine from their two-page list, expertly grouped by light, medium and full body. The duck croquettes ($7), with duck confit, cremini mushrooms and a tangy sweet orange aioli are a memorable start to the meal.
Full appetizers are dishes like the grilled octopus ($17) with celery, jalapeño and balsamic vinaigrette, was slightly spicy but the balsamic and jalapeños overpowered the flavor of the octopus, which is braised for 5 hours before being grilled over the wood stove. A medley of salads—beet with avocado (below, $9), pear with pine nuts and fennel ($10), Caesar with anchovy crumble ($7) and brussel sprouts with apples ($9)—and soups (chicken with roasted dumplings, $8, and french onion, $9) finish off the starter side of the menu.
The beet salad ($9) is a refreshingly light option, with perfectly cooked beets (not too soft, not too hard), avocados and salty, crunchy toasted pistachios on a pillow of whipped ricotta. The well-balanced salad was a definite hit.
The bresaola baguette (pictured at top, $12), was another enjoyable starter; slices of bresaola-topped bread with delicately spicy horseradish served with a side of greens in a salty truffle vinaigrette.
The entrees include a small set of offerings covering all the basics :: chicken, steak, pork, fish and lamb. Mary’s Chicken ($24) was one of the favorites with both grilled and fried versions, served with root vegetables in a mustard vinaigrette.
The lamb shank ($29) was more of a hit than a miss, with the celery salad a little too mayonnaise-heavy for my taste and distracting from the perfectly-cooked lamb flavor.
The beef bourguignon ($21) was another well-loved dish, pairing perfectly with the pork belly batons, beautiful house-made pappardelle pasta and creamy mustard sauce. It was a well-balanced, savory winter dish with bold notes of garlic and shallots. The special, pork belly with clams ($18), had a delicious jus but was otherwise a little off-balance.
The snake river pork chop (one of the night’s specials, $23) was an outstanding dish. The candied pork (yes, really) with a sweet crispy edge was served with barley, sofrito, bacon jam and cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Oh my, was it amazing.
Desserts include a small selection of finales ranging from light (cheese board, $14) to rich (chocolate peppermint torte, $7) to extravagant (maple spice ice cream sundae with grilled bananas, $8) to satisfyingly simple (cheesecake with white honey, below, $7). The cheesecake was surprisingly light (the waiter explained it was whipped) and not too sweet, with just the white honey drizzle on top.
Copper Kitchen fills an empty hole in the southern end of Salt Lake City, serving outstanding home-cooked foods. Some dishes had a few kinks, but I’m confident they will be straightened out (and then some) with time.
Go to Copper Kitchen for :: a casual but creatively delicious meal with all the flair of downtown except the drive. Notes :: Open Sunday-Thursday 5-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-10 pm. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am – 3 pm. Reservations are available online here. Free parking is available in the underground garage.