Wahso in Park City

Pork belly buns with pickles at Wahso in Park City, Utah.
Pork belly buns with pickles.

Park City’s Main Street is lined with iconic landmarks.  The historic post office, the western-looking general store, the Egyptian theater—these famous trademarks symbolize Park City to tourists and locals alike.  Even walking underneath the hanging red lights at Wahso is a reminder that I’m indeed in Park City.

The menu at Wahso in Park City, Utah.
Wahso’s menu is beautiful.

I’ve walked past Wahso a thousand times, each time gazing up at their second-story patio topped with red glowing globes while wondering about their food.  But self-described as Asian fusion, admittedly not my favorite type of cuisine, Wahso has remained on my To Eat list for years.  Last week I finally had dinner there and I was surprised from the moment I stepped inside til the moment I left, full and satisfied.

The Asian-themed interior of Wahso and the iconic red lights outside.
The Asian-themed interior of Wahso and the iconic red lights outside.

As a second story restaurant, it’s impossible to gauge the decor of Wahso from passing by.  Which is both unfortunate and surprising because you’d never expect the interior to be the Asian oasis that it is.  After walking up the stairs, Wahso opens to a large dining room that transports you to 1930s China.  Decorated with bamboo plants and Chinese statues, surrounded by Asian art and wood paneling, I felt like I was in a Chinese gangster movie–in the good way.

Pork belly buns with pickles at Wahso in Park City, Utah.
Pork belly buns with pickles.

But summer in Park City isn’t something to be missed so my friend and I sat on the patio overlooking Main Street with its mountainous background.  We were presented with warm hand towels and a massive book of cocktails and wines with bottles from around the world.  Thankfully it was well-organized so it wasn’t overwhelming and there were plenty of inexpensive bottles to chose from.  (We picked a lightly crisp J Pinot Gris.)

Perfectly seared Wagyu with a hint of Thai flavors at Wahso in Park City.
Perfectly seared Wagyu with a hint of Thai flavors.

The appetizers lean toward traditional Asian items like Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($12), Wok-Seared Potstickers ($13) and Kung Pao Shrimp ($17).  We ordered the Thai Beef Tataki ($21), togarashi-seared wagyu beef, haricot verts (green beans), cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes in a lemongrass vinaigrette with slight flavors of fish sauce and Sriracha for spiciness.  It was a great summery dish with a good use of vegetables for texture.

Hamachi sashimi appetizer at Wahso in Park City, Utah.
Refreshingly citrusy with a hint of spice, the hamachi appetizer was our favorite.

We paired it with the Steamed Chinese Buns with Pork Belly ($14), house-made pickles and Sriracha sauce.  The pork belly wasn’t as flavorful as I hoped, with the condiments standing out the most.  (The buns are also available with kimchee and duck confit.)  Our favorite appetizer was the Hamachi Sashimi ($24) topped with spicy citrus kosho (made with apples, jalapeno and limes) and house-made ponzu sauce.  It was a perfect combination of citrus and spice, while letting the hamachi flavor shine.

Duck, Wahso-style.
Duck, Wahso-style.

The entrees add a modern twist to the Asian theme: the Beef & Broccoli ($52) is their version of Wagyu New York Strip with garlic-roasted broccoli; Forbidden Tofu ($31) is crispy tofu with Thai basil in a lychee vinaigrette, and red curry lamb sirloin ($42) with fennel and chard stir fry with polenta.  We picked the Chili-Galangal Duck ($45) with hon shemiji-snap pea stir fry, duck confit quinoa and pomegranate-teriyaki jus.  The duck is cooked sous vide for hours, then pan seared so it was intensely juicy and savory; the jus had the slightest hint of delicious smokiness to it.

Miso Black Cod, a refreshing favorite at Wahso in Park City.
Miso Black Cod, a refreshing favorite at Wahso.

Our other main dish was the Miso Black Cod ($51), a staple on Wahso’s menu that has remained unchanged for 14 years.  (How impressive is that?!)  Served with aromatic rice, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy in a mushroom-ginger broth, it was simple in flavor profile but surprisingly amazing.  Everything played nicely together to create a light dish that was anything but boring.

Toasted Coconut Creme Brulee served in a coconut shell at Wahso in Park City, Utah.
Toasted Coconut Creme Brulee served in a coconut shell.

Finally, we finished with Toasted Coconut Créme Brûlée ($10), served in a coconut shell.  Normally I’m not the biggest fan of créme brûlée, but this isn’t normal créme brûlée.  Deliciously coconuty, with a perfect sugar crust on top, this was a wonderful end to our meal.

“Asian fusion” accurately describes the menu at Wahso, but that term doesn’t do the dishes that come out of kitchen justice.  The cuisine is more than American dishes with an Asian flair, it is expertly combined flavors reminiscent of a region in creatively compelling compositions.  While dinner at Wahso is definitely a splurge, it’s one worth making.

Go to Wahso for :: An amazing splurge meal full of Asian flavors.  Notes :: Many dishes on the menu are available gluten free.  Open Wednesday-Sunday at 5:30 p.m.  Reservations are available online here.  On Wednesdays throughout the summer, Wahso has $3-6 starters, $12 entrees and $5 wine and cocktails.  More information on Wahso Wednesdays click here.

Disclaimer :: I was graciously treated to this meal by Bill White Restaurant Group.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

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