food and beverage underground

Citris Grill is a Warm Oasis of Freshness

by Kevin Packer
(Salt Lake City, Utah)

There are two locations of Citris Grill in the Salt Lake Valley, one in the Millcreek area (east of Downtown) and the other in Draper. Both locations are in strip malls and both offer a surprising quaintness and coziness. Because of it's location near downtown I generally visit this location and will write only about this one in this review.

Once inside the warm entry you leave behind the busy parking lot and enter a well appointed and welcoming atmosphere. First, you're greeted generally quickly if not politely by the host staff. The young men that guard the front desk tend to be more abrupt and to the point than the ladies but the job is still done with efficiency.

Upon being seated you can be assured of brisk yet efficient service from the well trained, young staff. I visited Citrus Grill 3 times with different dining partners for each. The latest visit was on a Thursday night with my best friends and their three children in tow. We were seated quickly at a large plank style table near the front entrance. We quickly ordered the Cornmeal Chili Rock Shrimp and Calamari and the Spinach & Artichoke Dip. One of the 5 year old twins loves calamari and asks for it at every dining opportunity. The calamari was tasty and slightly spicy and rock shrimp perfectly tender. This is accompanied by two sauces: Tropical Fruit Aioli and Chive Mustard. The Chive Mustard wasn't as flavorful as expected but still good. With the Artichoke dip: the chips are described as “fresh” but I suspect they are purchased but it doesn't take away from the nice flavor and consistency of the dip which we all enjoyed and decided it was much better than any of the Gastronomy restaurants.

On the occasions we visited we tried different soups. All the selections shout freshness at you as much as the rest of the menu does. We had a fresh vegetable beef, a corn chowder that I wanted to order a second bowl of and a tortilla soup that had just the right amount of spicy southwest flavors.

Most of the entrees are offered in sizes “hearty” or “petite” at lunch and dinner. One server said the The Southwest Chicken Wrap is “kind of famous”. It was simple and delicious making the perfect lunch or perfect small plate if you've over indulged in the appetizers or salads. One visit I was prompted to order the “Fire Roasted Pork Chop” with savory wood flavors from the smokey baking in the wood oven accompanied by black bean corn salsa. The flavors of the pork just squeezed by the adobo rub which is as it should be. Chef Mike Crossland knows exactly how to season and accompany his dishes. The Wood Fired Chicken Breast was tender and smokey. The Shrimp Scampi Fusilli, although delicious, lacked the freshness and creative nuances of the rest of Chef Crossland's menu. It tasted like it could be found at a Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden. The Sesame Seared Salmon was cooked perfectly pink in the middle and the sweet and sour sauce added just the right contrast to the strong flavors of the obviously fresh fish.

The kids enjoyed the macaroni and cheese very much which was corkscrew noodles and fresh cheese. The rest of the kids menu, excluding the cheese pizza, with its fresh crust and obviously fresh shredded cheese, was just like any other offering at any chain. When will chef's in Utah decide that fresh and healthy items might drive business for upwardly mobile parents? Obviously not a concern because Citrus Grill was packed every day or night I visited.

For dessert we enjoyed the Really Good Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and the Key Lime Cheesecake. The chocolate cake was moist and delicious and the key lime pie was good but not spectacular. I also enjoyed the Chocolate Brownie Sundae with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce with a house made brownie which made the total effect sinfully delicious.
Citrus Grill offers a full bar and a decent wine list for those of us who prefer that option.

Prices range: Appetizers, salads, soups range $7 - $10, entrees $11 - $20 and desserts $7

Their hours are Mon- Fri: 11:00am to 10:00pm, Saturday: 8:00am to 10:00am, Sunday: 8:00am to 9:00pm. Parking is scarce because of busy Cafe Rio in the same strip mall plus many other shops. Reservations only for parties of 8 or more. All major credit cards accepted. Location: 2991 East 3300 south. Phone 466-1202

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