Nestled within a red-brick family home built in 1893, Smedley Manor slow-cooks meat in the original onsite smokehouse, where flavorful tendrils of smoke ascend from flame-kissed cherry and apple wood. Barbecue masters conduct a daily 14-hour meat-preparation process to yield tender morsels for menu items such as the cheese-filled beef-brisket quesadillas ($5.99) served with sour cream and house-made salsa. Bites of pork ribs ($13.99/half rack; $19.99/full) fall right off the bone without coaxing or court orders and come with homestyle sides such as baked macaroni and cheese. Toothsome rib meat also finds its way into sandwiches ($8.99) assembled from locally made bread and enhanced with sausage and coleslaw and a choice of sauce such as honey barbecue or raspberry chipotle. Swigs of Shock Top ($5) or Mug root beer ($2.25) wash it all down. Smedley Manor's historic interior transports visitors to the 19th century via rich hardwood floors, a Utah-marble fireplace, and napkins made from Mark Twain's trademark white suits.
From the fresh trout caught in local waters to the piles of splintered logs, the chefs at The Wild Grape Bistro keep their kitchen fully stocked to craft New Western dishes that earned a Zagat-rating of good to very good and the title of Best Salt Lake City Restaurant from Salt Lake Magazine readers in 2010. The eatery’s talented chefs try to use locally made and sustainable ingredients as much as possible when slathering homemade steak sauce on Colorado bison burgers and tossing linguine noodles with grilled shrimp and heirloom tomatoes. Pork chops and elk patties take on rustic flavors while cooking atop the wood-burning grill or inside the authentic smoker.
The décor straddles a similar line between modern and rustic. Rough brick surfaces hold pieces of art and long green banquettes rest beside polished wooden tables. Post meal, diners can move to the copper-hued, V-shaped bar to sip some of their carefully chosen wines or imitate migrating geese.
Wielding knives and sword-like skewers, the servers at Texas de Brazil seem prepared for impromptu duels. However, they only brandish the blades to replenish dinner plates, slicing meat from their spears at the behest of each table. The cuts of steak, lamb, and brazilian sausage are all slow roasted over an open flame in traditional churrascaria fashion—a technique that stems from the campfire meals of Brazilian gauchos, and one that fed the family behind Texas de Brazil during their life in Porto Alegre. In an effort to bring the South American style to the States, they established their first restaurant in Texas, thereby merging down-home charm with Brazilian spice.
Today, Texas de Brazil has expanded to several award-winning locations across the country. Despite the lofty ceilings and chandeliers that characterize their venues, the staff remains rooted in ranchers' habits. They conscientiously grill and season their meat, bake brazilian cheese bread in-house, and pass classic cocktails and loaner saddles over the bar for cowboys who consider chairs unnatural. To complement savory bites, guests can browse more than 50 gourmet sides at the salad bar—a compendium of soups, vegetables, and appetizers such as imported cheeses. They can also ask the resident wine specialist for recommendations on suitable pairings from the cellar.
Caffé Molise transports sedentary palates to the heart of the Mediterranean with Zagat-rated menus of fresh cuisine inspired by the Molise region of Italy. The diverse dinner menu caters to any appetite with house specialties such as bistecca, beef tenderloin bathed in a secret-recipe marinade and served with mild mushrooms and truffle cream sauce ($32.95), and polpette di melanzane, eggplant in shallot and tomato cream with grilled fresh asparagus and polenta ($15.95). The lunch menu squelches high-noon hunger uprisings and the appearance of frightening appetite ghosts with specialty and pasta dishes such as polenta con funghi, a hearty dish of garlic-sautéed wild mushrooms served on polenta with tomato sauce and caramelized onions ($10.95).