Only two negatives marred our recent visit to Red Butte Cafe: an unconscionably long wait for dessert to arrive, and the unpleasant people at the next table.
Of course, the second problem is not Red Butte Cafe's fault. But before we launch the review proper, I'd like to make a modest proposal to that couple and anyone else like them: if you don't like kids, don't sit by them in restaurants.
I've never yet met a server who refused to accommodate diners' seating requests. If you were so dismayed at seeing our four kids, you should have asked to sit somewhere else. Believe me, that would not be nearly as rude as what actually happened.
As this couple passed our table, the woman turned to the man and said, "I didn't realize this was a family restaurant," putting maximum loathing on the word "family." There followed repeated sniffs and many head shakes and dirty looks as our kids ate their meals, conversed with us and (a couple of times) moved around the table.
I don't mind if you don't like my kids; I like 'em enough for both of us. But you don't HAVE to sit near them at a restaurant; it's not like you're in an airplane. So, next time, please don't. You'll be happier, we'll be happier, and everyone will be free to enjoy the many kinds of good food at Red Butte Cafe.
We started with chips and salsa, crispy warm chips with fine-textured roasted tomato salsa, and the crab and corn cakes, firm and assertively seasoned with Southwest flavors that brought out the fresh sweetness of the corn and crab.
The kids had buttery-crisp cheese quesadillas and a couple portions of tortellini, presented for maximum child delight with cheese shaved over the top and a cute little pitcher of warm marinara that they poured themselves.
My husband had Red Butte's excellent French dip, with absolutely lean and juicy sliced roast beef cemented to a baguette with pepper jack and dipped in a dark, silky au jus infused with ancho chile.
My meal was wonderful, as well, a grilled pork chop topped with sweet salsa over a rich, peppery reduction with mixed squash, peppers and onions and a pile of chunky mashed potatoes that soaked up the sauce deliciously. With it, I also had the creative and satisfying dinner salad of warm sliced pears, candied pecans, gorgonzola cheese and roasted peppers over field greens with balsamic vinaigrette.
It's hard not to want dessert at Red Butte Cafe: a case of tempting cakes is the first thing diners see walking in. We ordered three slices, then waited at least 20 minutes before they showed up. The service was otherwise attentive and thorough, but that was a long wait, especially for the kids.
That said, the desserts were delicious. Most unusual was the hazelnut coffee marjolaine, a layered slice of chocolate cake, barely sweet coffee buttercream and crunchy hazelnut dacquoise (a kind of meringue) held together with dark chocolate ganache.
We also had a great fresh fruit tart with a cookie-like short-dough shell, vanilla pastry cream and absolutely fresh seasonal fruit, but our consensus favorite was the three-layer chocolate cake with beautiful fresh raspberries between the layers and a frosting of whipped ganache. I think I've found my next birthday cake.Appetizers $3.95-$6.95, soup and salad $3.95-$9.50, sandwiches $6.75-$8.50, entrees $6.95-about $12 (specials rotate daily), kids' meals $4.95, desserts $3.95-$4.95/slice, $22.50-$35 whole.
Where: 1412 Foothill Dr.
Hours: Daily from 11:30 a.m. (closing usually around 10 p.m.)
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Phone: 581-9498Wheelchair access: Hilly parking lot in Foothill Village; otherwise accessible
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: email@example.com