Sherman's Food Adventures: Stone Hearth Grill

Stone Hearth Grill

Sometimes, when traveling in relatively remote and sparsely populated locations, the only options for eats are either fast food outlets or local spots that may or may not be good.  So after an awesome visit to Bryce Canyon National Park (love those hoodoos!), we were on our way to nearby Tropic, Utah.  Now one wouldn't expect anything great to eat in such a small sleepy town right?  Wrong.  Nestled far away from the main street (conveniently named Main Street), Stone Hearth Grill bills itself as fine dining.  We were seated out on the patio overlooking the fabulous hills of Utah.

We started things off with the House-Made Bread that looked and ate like focaccia except without the herbs.  It was pan-seared aggressively with butter making the exterior crispy, nutty and of course buttery.  The side of miso butter with black and white sesame on top was full of umaminess and fermented saltiness.  Such a simple creation, but full of flavor and texture.  Next, we had the Burrata atop of ripe tomato.  It was finished off with thinly sliced zucchini and a chive oil and balsamic reduction.  First of all, the burrata was fresh and at its creamy best.  Secondly, the tomato was plump and delicious while the balsamic added a sweet tanginess.

For my main, I had the Chinese Red Duck & Scallop featuring a braised duck leg, grilled scallop, broccolini, corn and miso puree, green onion and ginger relish and prawn chips.  At first, I was apprehensive in ordering this, but it turned out to be pretty tasty.  The five spiced duck leg did its best impersonation of duck confit with tender gelatinous meat.  It was full-flavored featuring crispy skin and rendered fat.  I thought the corn puree to be a touch too sweet, but it was a nice counter balance to the saltiness of the duck.  Medium-rare and plump, the sweet scallop was perfect.  My daughter wasn't really hungry and ended up with kid's Pan Seared Trout with Yukon gold potato puree and broccolini.  Barely cooked through, the trout was perfectly tender and moist.  Loved how they didn't overcook the broccolini either.

Viv ended up with the Roasted Poblano Relleno with cashew butter, red cabbage, avocado, salsa verde, apple, toasted seeds and cilantro.  There was a lot going on in this gluten-free and vegan selection.  Yes, you read it right, this was vegan and it was actually quite good.  Beyond the tender roasted pepper, the cashew butter was smooth and "cheese-like".  There was no spice to the dish other than the salsa verde.  However, the rest of the ingredients offered up plenty of other flavors.  My son didn't stray far from his usual with the 12oz New York Steak prepared a perfect medium-rare.  It was tender and meaty while nicely seasoned by an aromatic and bright taragon butter.   Mash was the same as my daughter's dish and the broccolini was still crunchy.

For dessert, we shared the Vanilla Cheesecake with blueberry compote as well as the Lemon Tart with berries and raspberry sauce.  Creamy and NY style, the cheesecake had just the right amount of vanilla and sweetness.   Normally, blueberries are rather subtle, but the compote here was impactful, slightly tangy and purposefully sweet.  As for the tart, the lemon curd was the right viscosity and appealingly tangy.  It was not overly sweet while the tart shell was firm enough for a great mouth-feel.  Now this was a surprisingly delicious meal in the middle of nowhere.  I guess if you look hard enough, there is good food to be found, even in the strangest of places...

The Good:
- Proteins were on point
- No lack of flavor
- Very nice people

The Bad:
- Not sure about the side of ginger and onion condiment with the duck
- Location is remote, you actually need to know where you are going


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