There’s a saying that when one door closes, another one opens. In the restaurant world, it often goes that when one restaurant closes, another one opens in the same space. Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s a lose. Either way, the revolving door of restaurants is a constant carousal ride that keeps the culinary world interesting.
Provisions in Salt Lake City is the newest restaurant on the carousal ride, opening a few months ago in the former Lugano space on 2300 East (3365 South). Focused on regional, organic and sustainable ingredients, chef and owner Tyler Stokes creates small plates dishes in tune with the season.
The space is truly a breath of fresh air; the revamped restaurant is bright and welcoming, with a bold orangey-red accent wall contrasted with white flowers and white trim, with an open kitchen surrounded by a high-top bar. If the address wasn’t the same as Lugano, I would have had no idea that Provisions was the same space.
The menu is divided into several sections: snacks (bites like wood-roasted shishito peppers, $6, and chicken liver mousse, $7), raw (trout roe, $10, wagyu beef carpaccio, $14), small plates (kale salad, $9, wood-roasted mushrooms with a slow-poached egg, $7), pizzas, large plates and, delightfully, desserts. Having the dessert options front and center is a good way to pace yourself for the finale (although we still over-ate before that phase!).
For the most part, the small plates were relatively the same size as the large plates with the only drastic difference being price. (Small plates range from $7-14, large from $17-27.) The spice-fried quail ($14) with green papaya salad was enjoyable, especially the surprising spiciness of the salad. It really had some heat!
Steamed buns ($10) with hoisin and pickled cucumber come stuffed with either kurobuta pork belly or mushrooms. Although I’m a sucker for pork belly, the mushrooms boasted more flavor. Provisions must have a knack with the shrooms—the wood-roasted mushrooms (pictured above, $7) with slow poached egg and rosemary were a hit around the table.
Another surprising delight was the Utah Salumi pizza ($17), a medium-sized pie with delicious slices of speck, salami and blue cheese sprinkled with olives and arugula. Simple, but perfect.
As far as large plates go, the pumpkin tortelli (pictured at top, $19) with butternut squash, brown butter, cider, pecans and sage was a rich dish with beautiful texture, although this one is worth splitting thanks to its heaviness. Pair it with the caramelized black cod ($27), an extremely light fish that was perfectly cooked to maintain juiciness, although the gnocchi, chard and shiitake sides (in carrot-ginger broth) weren’t as memorable.
The apple caramel toffee cake ($8) with cream cheese ice cream and pecan streusel and the flourless manjari chocolate cake (below, $8) with candied peanuts and coconut sorbet were both great dessert dishes, but the saffron panna cotta ($8) really took the cake with its unique flavor. Topped with espresso crumbs and served in a cup, the panna cotta was a little firmer than others I’ve had (which I was a total fan of).
Provisions is a refreshing take on small plates done delightfully well. And, being outside of downtown, it’s just what was needed in the Holladay area. It’s one open door I’ll gladly accept after the previous one closed.
Go to Provisions for :: a nice dinner of delicious small plates that are familiar enough to be comforting and unique enough to be exciting. Notes :: Open Tuesday-Sunday 5 pm-10pm (closed Mondays). Reservations are available online here. Follow them on twitter and Instagram at @slcprovisions.