Food: Under-seasoned and disappointing.
Service: Attentive, helpful, and welcoming.
Atmosphere: Modern and plenty of natural light. Seating was tight, so be prepared to hear neighbors’ conversations.
Location: 508 Main Street Park City, UT
When I first heard of Tupelo in Park City, I was excited. There’s no way I could have a disappointing meal there. It serves “globally inspired” food with locally sourced ingredients. It has also been awarded a Best Restaurant Dining Award from Salt Lake Magazine two years in a row. Honestly, how could you go wrong with that? Unfortunately, I found out that, even with those badges of honor, things can go wrong. And by “things” I specifically mean “seasoning.”
I love a good salad. I especially love salad concepts I’ve never eaten before. The macerated heirloom tomatoes with olive oil bread, farmer’s cheese, apricots, and sorghum ($14) was definitely a combination I’ve never seen throughout my salad eating days. The slightly sweet apricots with the creamy farmers cheese made the dish a winner. I’m not sure how the tomatoes were macerated; they appeared and tasted like sliced, raw cherry tomatoes. Even though the dressing was light and it needed a pinch more salt, it was a tasty dish that I would order again.
Located off of Main Street in Park City, the atmosphere is comfortable. Dark wooded walls, wine cellars that display the fine offerings, and plenty of natural light, make it a relaxing and enjoyable place to eat. Upstairs there is a bar, which is a great option if you’re waiting for a table. Service was equally as good. However, we did visit during the off season, so it wasn’t busy and plenty of open seating. According to several Yelp reviews, service has notoriously been slow. Either way, I had no complaints.
The Let Downs
I love, love, love biscuits. Truthfully, I think I could live off biscuits. I will say Tupelo’s biscuits ($6) were tasty. They had a bit of tang, were flaky, and relatively moist. The issue? Seasoning. With the sweet honey butter, the biscuit needed salt. A sprinkling of salt or even a different, savory spread (pimento cheese anyone?) would have done this appetizer wonders.
The best deviled eggs I’ve ever eaten were at the Spotted Pig in New York City. What made these deviled eggs unique was the use of creme fraiche. When I saw Tupelo’s use of creme fraiche in their deviled eggs, I had to try them out. I will say that Ian loved this dish. I, on the other hand, disliked it wholeheartedly. The reason? It tasted like sour milk. I understand creme fraiche is supposed to provide a tangy almost buttermilk flavoring to food, but these eggs were overly sour. Like make your lips pucker type of sour. Again, Ian thoroughly enjoyed them, so to each his own.
Wanting something a bit lighter as an entree, Ian and I shared the Maine halibut with squash caponata, artichokes, capers, and lemon. At $32 and not huge portions I was expecting top notch quality. While the fish was cooked well, the rest of the dish needed salt! Once again, my palate craved seasoning. Since halibut is naturally a light fish, it needed stronger flavors to back it up. The squash caponata tasted like bland spaghetti squash and was a total let down. The artichokes and capers provided a nice acidity but weren’t enough to save the dish.
On a warm Summer day, a spring onion gazpacho with king crab, sourdough toast, almond, and lemon ($12) was exactly what I wanted. It sounded like the perfect appetizer. Unfortunately, it was a total let down. There was little to no flavor in the cream based broth. I couldn’t taste the spring onion or king crab. The only flavor profile I found was of almonds. There were whole almonds in the dish, which tasted fine, but after eating one the whole gazpacho tasted like one giant almond. Ehh I’ll pass.
It pains me to write that I would not suggest Tupelo. With charging relatively high prices and under seasoned food, you could get a better experience elsewhere. Handle (HSL’s sister restaurant) is an alternative I would highly suggest. Yes, Tupelo’s atmosphere was beautiful and the service was attentive, but you can’t win with food that screams for salt. If Tupelo gets seasoning down pat, then I’ll be back, but until then I will be enjoying my Park City dinners elsewhere.