It’s hard to imagine a “hidden gem” right on Main Street in Salt Lake City. But when I think of Bistro 222, that’s exactly what I think. The New American restaurant is prominently visible to the downtown traffic, yet its cuisine is seriously underrated in the Utah food scene.
But maybe that’s thanks to the new chef, David Bible, and his updated menu. While I’ve been impressed with the restaurant since it first opened, David—formerly at Silver Star Café (most notably when the Food Network TV show Diners, Drive-ins & Dives filmed a segment there)—has transformed it into a completely new and improved Bistro 222 by revamping the menu while maintaining the same vibe.
I love Bistro 222 for being so downtown: the large windows provide gorgeous amounts of light during the day and are perfect for people-watching at night. The vibe is modern and chic, yet classic and comfortable.
The new menu replaces pizzas and pastas with a more focused list of entrees, including some vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. The appetizers are hearty and full-flavored, like Moroccan Lamb Meatballs ($9), Cauliflower Soup ($7), and my favorite, Mushroom Bruschetta ($9) with fennel and cream on a toasted baguette. The Spanish Mussels ($12) with chorizo and red peppers in a tomato saffron sauce were also a hit.
There are shareable plates like a cheese board and truffle fries ($9), plus a few pizzas (margherita, $11, and Italian Meats, $15). The salad section includes full fledged dishes like warm mushroom with quinoa, endive and egg in a vinaigrette ($9) and Romaine Wedge with house-cured pancetta, potato hay and gorgonzola ($9) to name a few.
The entrees jump up the price range to $18-39, with the priciest being a 13 oz. New York steak smothered in blue cheese butter and a demi glace sauce served with roasted potatoes and seasonable vegetables. On the lighter end of the spectrum is the Red Trout ($22) with heirloom carrots in a pork belly confit on a bed of spaetzle with tarragon cream. The spaetzle complemented the salty trout deliciously.
The bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin (pictured at top, $25) was incredible. Topped with a three-berry gastrique for sweetness served on a sweet potato puree for savoriness, the pork definitely hit the spot. Even though there was plenty of food on the plate, I wished there were more potatoes to offset the pork.
Rounding out the variety of meat options is a Lamb Osso Buco with cheddar-spiked polenta ($25), pan-seared halibut with apples ($30) and Duck Breast with heirloom carrots and lentils in a port wine reduction.
The dessert options are as well-rounded as the main menu, offering everything from savory cheese plates and chocolate tastings (paired with Mezzo drinking chocolate) to semi-sweet dishes like buttermilk panna cotta ($8) and warm spice cake ($8). We opted for the gluten-free carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting ($8), a dense and delicious cake; and the super-sweet salted caramel chocolate tart ($8), a sugar explosion of chocolate and caramel with a hard cookie crust.
Bistro 222 is also open for lunch with a slightly modified menu. Rumor has it the fried chicken is amazing and I can’t wait to try it.
Go to Bistro 222 for :: a classy and satisfying dinner or delicious lunch. Notes :: Open Monday-Thursday 11 am-9 pm, Friday 11 am-10 pm and Saturday 5-10 pm. The menu has several gluten-friendly and vegetarian dishes. Reservations are available online here.