Easy Street Brasserie is Easy and Delicious Dining
by Kevin Packer
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
The history of Easy Street Brasserie is not long in terms of many restaurants in Park City but it is a good story. The old Easy Street was at Main Street level and occupied the old Utah Coal and Lumber Building which is actually on Heber Avenue at the bottom of Main but it's proximity is considered a Main Street Restaurant. That business served the coal miners throughout it's history and into the subsequent building boom.
The restaurant closed down while Bill Shoaf built the beautiful and so not Park City hotel: The Sky Lodge. The closure dismayed many locals as the bar was a favorite spot. I heard many people were very worried that the closure, the construction and the remodel would ruin the atmosphere and fun, old time ambiance in the historical building. But I think Mr. Shoaf and his architects did a wonderful job of upgrading the space while keeping the same warm feel of the place. The biggest change was that the restaurant moved down next to the bar and the old space occupied the new, short-lived, Fin fine dining restaurant. Less than a year later Mr. Shoaf closed Fin and added the space as an addition to Easy Street.
The private club of Easy Street is unchanged other than new fabric was put on the banquets. The old Utah Coal and Lumber floor is still in place as is the original bar, stools and tables. The elevator from the Main Street is still in use with it's French paintings of cabaret dancers and glass walls. You can almost hear the ghosts of the old miners that might have walked these floors over 100 years ago as you step onto the old planks. A new dining room was added south of the bar. Red walls, high backed benches and white table cloths added warmth to the previous stark space.
Chef Neville left Park City during the closure and it's a sad, empty loss. Scott Boberek replaced him and has taken the filling of those powerful shoes very seriously. He strives to keep the food authentic to it's French roots in a simple and straight forward manner. I sometimes think his talents are hidden because of this focus but it is what it is and what people have come to expect from a French Brasserie. He does an excellent job along with his staff of producing consistent, flavorful food without too much flair or foof.
Easy Street offers Breakfast, lunch and dinner in any of it's dining areas (you can dine in the private club as well). Breakfast, at this moment, is a short list of entrees and many side dishes. I highly recommend both the Bananas Foster French Toast and the Biscuits and Gravy $11. The Foster toast is thick slices of egg crusted bread under a bath of caramelized bananas and yummy Vermont maple syrup. The biscuits, $10, are house made and thick just like your mamma tried to make with a spicy sausage gravy that I suspect is made with Chef Scott's own house made sausage. Both items are just what the doctor ordered before a hard day of skiing at any of Park City areas' resorts. There are many healthy choices as well including yogurt parfaits, oatmeal and fruit bowls for those keeping on their diets.
Lunch gets a little more complicated! For appetizers I suggest the Calamari, $10, or the Daufuskie Island Crab Bake $19 if you are sharing. Go with the Boheme Onion Soup, $9 as it is authentic and delicious topped with bread and cheese so thick it's almost a meal in itself. There's a raw bar as well offering oysters, Shrimp Cocktail and Snow crab claws all at “Market Price”. My choices for entree sized salads are the Five Spice Duck Breast, $15) which is a large plate of two items: Glass noodles with sesame vinaigrette and a red oak lettuce with oranges, wantons and cilantro peanut dressing. The Lobster Cobb $16 with poached lobster, romaine, avocado, tomato and bacon is very good. As any of you who know me I'm a little picky about Caesar Salads. Scott's is good and very authentic.
Other lunch items are burgers, sandwiches and a few entrees. I miss the sliders they sold last summer but I guess they just didn't take on here. The ESB classic burger, however is huge and delicious as it comes with apple smoked bacon, garlic, bleu cheese and BBQ sauce $17. The thick French fries are a big improvement over the shoestrings they used to serve but I wish they went the extra mile for house cut ones. The Grilled Salmon Sandwich is great served on focaccia bread with pesto aioli $17. The fish tacos are also excellent made with “white fish” (probably left over halibut and/or sea bass from the dinner menu) $13 with yummy roasted corn salsa and chipotle pico de gallo which I've tried and failed to recreate at home. There are also good entree selections with a “Big Bowl of Mussels” $26, Fish and Chips made with authentic cod $18 and a wonderful baked penne mac and cheese $15. But for my money at lunch I would stick with the salads or sandwiches.
Dinner offers all the same lunch items with many additions. Appetizers include Smoked Salmon and Caviar $11 on crispy potato skins, House Made Pate and Cured Meats $13 and a Boskiola Pizza $9 of rotisserie chicken, mushrooms, provolone cheese and sun dried tomato (a rare glimpse of Chef Scott's hidden creativity). Check out the rotisserie chicken with mashers $23, or the Spit Roasted Prime Rib $35 at a steep price but it's a large portion and very satisfying. There are two steaks: a huge 20 oz Rib Eye $41 and a Filet $34. The rib-eye tends to be a tougher meat but it's full of flavor. For my money I would go for the filet. The Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp $32 is wonderful in capellini in a suprisingly wonderful brandy tomato cream sauce. The slow roasted Braised Short Ribs is a must try! At $30 it's a bargain as well. The Provencal Seafood Stew $32, is aromatic and wonderfully satisfying in the saffron broth that can be soaked up with the grilled sour dough bread.
The ambiance is wonderful no matter which area you dine. In the summer the patios are satisfying for the mountain air and people watching. There are beautiful water and fire features on both the upper patio and the lower, more protected one. If you are in for a quick bite or a night on the town be sure to check out the private club on weekends. There is always live music of the folk variety and it's a fun, diverse crowd of vacationers and locals. The service staff is not polished, high falooting servers but down home comfortable, agreeable ski bums and boarders. They attend to your every need without being over bearing or pushy. The wine list is extensive and pricey but full of interesting finds as well as the old favorites. They have a very price-approachable glass list, however, and many beers by the bottle.
Easy Street is located at 201 Heber Avenue where it intersects Main Street. Phone is (435) 658-9425 and you must make reservations to assure a spot without waiting. Parking is a nightmare, especially in the winter as there is very little street parking (pay) and the lots are always full. Park at the bottom of Swede alley and walk or take the free trolley bus or take a cab or shuttle from your hotel if you are visiting. They accept all major credit cards including Diners Club. They do offer a children's menu as well. There is a private room for meetings and large groups usually at no charge if food is ordered. Website is www.theskylodge.com
Open daily for breakfast from 7am to 11am, lunch from 11am to 5pm, and dinner from 5pm to 10pm