First Look :: Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City

Honey tart with malted anglaise and black currant sorbet.

Salt Lake City’s culinary scene has gotten to the point where it’s not just a restaurant’s menu that entices people to flock there, it’s also the people working behind the scenes.

But that’s because when names like Jim Santangelo, Amy Eldredge, Alexa Norlin, Logen Crew and Mikel Trapp are all put under the same roof, you know the result is going to be good.  Add a breathtaking—and refreshingly unique—space to that mix and, well, you really can’t go wrong.

Caramelized salmon in an orange tamarind sauce at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Caramelized salmon in an orange tamarind sauce.

Introducing Current Fish & Oyster, the newest restaurant to the Salt Lake City food scene in the new renovation project downtown on 279 East 300 South. The space will soon include a market and several shops (think the Rio Grande Winter Market on a permanent scale).

Oysters at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
East and west coast oysters are available with three different sauces.

Current is a bright, open restaurant that is somehow not loud and echoy, but comfy and classy.  There are large glass windows and a high ceiling, plus a massive patio that I can’t wait to spend summer evenings on.

Scallops in a carrot ginger broth with beech mushrooms at Current Fish & Oyster.
Scallops in a carrot ginger broth with beech mushrooms.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Mikel Trapp of Trio and the La Salle Restaurant Group (owners of Faustina, Cafe Niche, Kyoto and Oasis Cafe). Chef Logen Crew (formerly of Fresco) is the genius creating some seriously interesting—and delicious—plates of seafood while Jim Santangelo (of the Wine Academy of Utah/former sommelier at Copper Onion) runs the wine list, an affordable selection of wines including some on tap, teamed with Amy Eldredge (formerly of Bar X and beverage consultant for Grand America Hotel) for the insane cocktails. Alexa Norlin adds her expertise with the desserts (formerly of The Rose Establishment, Tulie and Fresco) while Hillary Merrill (formerly of Faustina) runs the front of the house.

It’s an impressive line up, isn’t it?

The Branzino at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
The Branzino is served whole.

I was invited to preview the restaurant prior to the grand opening last week and I went in expecting kinks that needed to be worked out and plates not quite to perfection—after all, it usually takes a restaurant a few months to find a groove and execute everything well. But not Current. Maybe it was luck or maybe (probably) it was the amazing staff that has extensive experience running some of Salt Lake’s best establishments.

Grilled Lobster Tail at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Grilled Lobster Tail.
Grilled calamari at CUrrent Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Rarely-seen calamari: grilled, not fried.

Onto the food :: Current serves superb seafood. The menu has familiar favorites found on any seafood menu (but all with creative twists): Oysters (east coast $3.50 or west coast $2.75; available with cucumber mignonette, spicy ponzu or cocktail sauce), Clam Chowder with bacon ($6), Caramelized Salmon in a soy-sake marinade and orange tamarind sauce ($24), Alaskan King Crab Legs ($20), Fish and Chips with shishito peppers ($19) and Pan-Seared Scallops in a carrot ginger broth with snow peas and beech mushrooms ($26).

Shrimp and grits topped with barbecue sauce at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Shrimp and grits topped with barbecue sauce.
King Crab Legs in a citrus basil aioli at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
King Crab Legs in a citrus basil aioli.

But there are also dishes unlike anywhere else: Gulf Prawns and White Cheddar Grits with bacon and crimini mushrooms in a barbecue sauce ($25), Grilled Calamari (with a surprisingly unchewy texture, $10), Grilled Lobster Tail with edamame in a miso-citrus sauce (my favorite! $18), Branzino served whole ($29), and oyster backs ($4)—oysters with alcohol shooters like tequila and yuzu, gin and cucumber water, and vermouth and celery shrub. See the entire menu here.

Honey tart with malted anglaise and black currant sorbet at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Honey tart with malted anglaise and black currant sorbet.
Mezzo Chocolate Pot de Creme at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
I’m not normally a fan of pot de creme, but this was amazing.

But don’t get too carried away just yet. The desserts are no afterthought. Alexa Norlin takes the helm here and my goodness does she steer the ship well. Honey tart with black currant sorbet ($8), yuzu posset with rosemary gelee, olive oil powder and burnt citrus tuile ($7), Mezzo chocolate pot de creme with dehydrated Champagne mousse, roasted white chocolate, creme fraiche and fried sage ($8), and house-made doughnuts with caramel corn and chocolate anglaise ($7). If I can offer any advice it’s leave room for dessert!

Doughnuts with caramel popcorn at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Doughnuts with caramel popcorn.
Yuzu posset with rosemary gelée at Current Fish & Oyster in Salt Lake City.
Yuzu posset with rosemary gelée.

Current Fish & Oyster has an all-star line up that works together extremely well. I’m really excited that Salt Lake City—and its culinary scene—finally has the seafood restaurant that we deserve.

Go to Current Fish & Oyster for :: a casual, yet classy meal of creative seafood dishes and excellent desserts with an impressive wine/beer/cocktail program to match. Order the grilled lobster tail. Notes :: Open Monday – Saturday, 5 to 10 pm. (Brunch and lunch coming soon.) Reservations are available online here or by calling 801-355-FISH (3474).

Disclaimer :: I was graciously treated to this meal by Current Fish & Oyster. As always, all opinions are my own.

Current Fish and Oyster on Urbanspoon

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