A symphony of clinking glasses and joyful laughter reverberates off the green mountain slopes, where ski lifts dangle listlessly in a state of suspended hesitation. Awash in the perfume of fresh herbs and flowers from surrounding pots, the alpine air envelops guests partaking in upscale European and American fare on the patio of Kimi's Mountainside Bistro. Nestled in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Kimi's entertains the eyes as well as the stomach, serving up views of the surrounding ski slopes and mountainous terrain reminiscent of the natural habitat of a wild salad fork.
Within the bistro’s bustling kitchen, chef Matt Anderson silences yodeling appetites with an eclectic array of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch fare. His selections are inspired by travels throughout the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, and the American West. His kitchen staff chops, grills, and bakes flavorful ingredients such as Himalayan pink salt, hickory-smoked bacon, and fresh mozzarella into refined dishes whisked out of the kitchen by seasoned servers. As alfresco eaters bask in the smoky redolence wafting from the patio’s fire pits and outdoor grill, indoor visitors break bread amid exposed wood beams and soft lighting that offer a cozy but elegant retreat from the elements and dessert-stealing mountain bunnies.
Japanese, Korean, and French culinary traditions collide in Yuki Arashi's kitchen, forming Asian-inspired tapas strewn with local and organic ingredients. The hot and cold small plates are perfect for sharing or alternately pressing to a sprained ankle, and they range from classic gyoza to modern arrangements of truffled albacore with microgreens and garlic crisps. At the sushi bar, chefs slice catches flown in fresh from Japan and the West Coast for sashimi and nigiri, as well as for rolling into specialty maki rolls such as the inside-out Millipede with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna tartare, avocado, and tobiko.
In the sleek dining room, bulbous vases of flowers sit above high-backed banquettes, their colorful blooms echoing the honey- and plum-hued flecks in the large variegated stone wall. Seats at the sushi bar invite patrons to gaze at the chefs' artful hard work, and an intimate tatami room enables guests to forgo chairs and dine in the traditional Japanese style.:m]]
Terraces of tortillas tower over simmering mole, a special recipe that has been passed down for three generations, on tables in the 15-year-old eatery with a family atmosphere. Here, in Blue Iguana's kitchens, Chef Castillo imparts the culinary arts of the Aztec empire to his team of cooks using his knowledge of Chihuahua, Mexico. In this province, families fiercely guard such traditions to honor their forebears and preserve their culture's legacy for future generations. Castillo specializes in mole recipes, which teem with rich ingredients such as chocolate, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Guests seeking a lighter meal can customize tacos with a choice of more than 10 fillings, including grilled yellowfin, charbroiled sirloin, saut?ed mushrooms, and spicy pork chorizo. The margaritas are mixed with the restaurant's brimming top-shelf tequilas such as Patron Silver and Don Julio. Diners can also visit the Park City location for breakfast dishes.
The cooks at Thai Basil take diners on a culinary tour of Southeast Asia, bringing them the traditional flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Fluffy mounds of jasmine rice soak up the bright red and yellow sauces of thai curry dishes, and vietnamese pho beef noodle soup steams nearby. In the vegetarian section of the menu, fulfilling stir-fry options such as Buddha Delight?fresh veggies with tofu, soy chicken, or soy beef ($10.99)?bounce off the page with the verve of a child who's eaten too many pixy stix.
Modern Asian decor rich with reds and yellows sets a proper backdrop for travel-seeking taste buds, illuminating them with crimson pendant lighting and surrounding them with ornate room dividers. A friendly, attentive wait staff makes guests feel as though they are snuggled in first class, where water refills are limitless and peanuts are only rationed within reason.
Scents of homemade red and green curries, and ginger-glazed crispy duck waft out of Bangkok Thai's kitchen, foreshadowing the arrival of plates of refined Southeast Asian cuisine. The chefs tailor entrees to each diner, turning the amount of spice up or down in their entrees for mild meals or mouthfuls with enough spice to evaporate nearby snowmen.
Draped with crisp, white tablecloths, the neutral-toned dining room's tables surround a glass-walled wine cellar, which earned the restaurant a 2011 Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for its extensive selection. In addition to first-growth Bordeaux wines and muscular Napa Valley cabernet sauvignons, the wooden racks buckle with a number of food-friendly options, including Oregonian pinot noirs, crisp Alsatian rieslings, and fruit-forward sauvignon blancs from New Zealand.
When a chef reaches for a stick of butter, the staff at Mountain Town Olive Oil mourns. It's a missed opportunity to cook with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a much healthier and more flavorful option. That's why the EVOO connoisseurs give cooks a wide range of butter alternatives in the form of specialty olive oils. Many are tinged with unusual flavors: cayenne, basil, and, for the staunch traditionalist, even butter. The same is true of gourmet and balsamic vinegars—try the black cherry, cinnamon pear, or dark chocolate vinegars for proof.