Sherman's Food Adventures: Red Iguana

Red Iguana

When I was originally planning this road trip, I had considered making the long drive from Bryce Canyon to West Yellowstone in one day.  Hey, it was only 8 hours according to Google Maps!  Upon reflection, it really would've made for driving purgatory, especially in the heat of summer.  Furthermore, the kids might've planned a mutiny as a result.  So back to the drawing board and it was clear that we should really stop in Salt Lake City.  We ended up visiting their most famous attraction in Temple Square and then heading out for eats at one of their most popular restaurants - the Red Iguana.

Featured on Triple-D's, I guess we had to eat here?  Get the double reference?  Nevermind...  Anyways, we arrived early and not only snagged a parking spot, we secured a table within minutes.  Before we got to the food (and it took awhile since the menu was so long!), a basket of Tortilla Chips and fresh salsa hit the table.  Hey these were good being crispy and light while the salsa had a real nice kick.  To help me decide which of the Moles I would ultimately order, they brought out a plate with all of them for me to sample.  These included from the top left: Verde, Coloradito, Red Pipen, Almond, Negro, Amarillo, Poblano and Mango in the middle.  Each had their own unique qualities including the smoky nuttiness of the negro and sweet aromatics of the poblano.  Bright and mild, the verde tasted like it appeared while the coloradito was nutty with depth of spice.  The red pippen was salty and nutty whereas the mango was sweet with a prawn-like aftertaste.  Lastly, the almond exhibited pumpkin and the associated fall spices.

I ended up choosing the Amarillo with turkey and a side of Spanish rice, refried beans and flour tortillas.  If we focus solely on the mole, it was fantastic.  So much depth and balanced spice from the aji and habenero chilis.  Sweetness was provided by the golden raisins as well as the tomatoes.  This went really well with the tortillas.  However, I wasn't a huge fan of the turkey as it was pretty dry.  Yes, I do understand turkey can be lean, but this was not all that appealing in my opinion.  Viv decided on the Tostadas de Tinga de Pollo.  This consisted of shredded chicken atop a tostada with refried beans, lettuce, cheese, crema and salsa.  By visuals alone, it was obvious this would be one of the lighter dishes.  The chicken was tender and mildly spiced while the crunch of the lettuce and crema kept things fresh and bright.

My son went for their signature dish being the Puntas de Filete a la Nortena or top sirloin strips sauteed with bacon, jalapeno, onions and fresh tomatoes atop almond mole.  This was another huge portion consisting of meaty sirloin with a surprisingly mild array of flavors.  Maybe I was expecting something more impactful, but nevertheless, it was tasty.  There was an aromatic nuttiness to the dish accented by the slightest touch of spice and fattiness from the bacon.  For my daughter, she went for the other featured item being the Enchilada Nuevo Mexico.  It featured seasoned beef cooked with corn kernels, potatoes and spices topped with sauce made from dried chili guajillo, jack cheese and egg.  This was actually pretty spicy and she needed quite a bit of water on the side.  Hence, it resulted in a full-bodied flavor that was a bit smoky and plenty rich.  Again, this was a huge portion as it also came with rice and refried beans.  As evidenced in the pictures, they don't mess around when it comes to portion sizes.  We thought the food was pretty solid, yet at the same time, not sure if we would wait in line for it.

The Good:
- Huge portions
- Friendly people
- Big menu

The Bad:
- Good, but not worth the lineup IMO


Orval19 said...

Red Iguana is very good for Salt Lake. Another to try (non-mexican) would be Takashi

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