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Dining out: Mining Co. has yummy comfort food

Published: Thursday, Sept. 23 2010 5:25 p.m. MDT

I have to give my husband credit for this one.

As we were driving to a different "Dining Out" destination, he noticed Midvale Mining Co. and pointed out that it looked like the kind of place I hadn't reviewed in a while: stick-to-your-ribs hometown diner food.

I was all for it if the place turned out to be good, but for me, eating nasty comfort food is nearly as disappointing as eating nasty Chinese food.

But you've got to try, right? Even if you regret it sometimes, that's how you make great discoveries. So we abandoned Plan A for spur-of-the-moment Plan B, and we weren't sorry at all.

Now I'm kicking myself for not trying Midvale Mining Co. earlier. After all, I LIVE in Midvale. I've probably driven by this place, a stone's throw from I-15 in a district of motels and other highway-side businesses, hundreds of times. And yet I never really noticed it until my husband pointed it out.

The interior is comfortable and serviceably decorated, with cushy booths embroidered with the restaurant's name. I also noticed it was quite clean as these types of places go, with wiped-down tables and swept and vacuumed floors, even under the booths.

This is the type of place that serves such a full meal for the price — soup or salad, entrée with two sides, big honkin' scone with honey butter — that I feel like a pig ordering starters. So we didn't, figuring we'd save room for some pie later.

Well, we did have room — just barely, and we shared one piece of pie, and I took half my food home for leftovers. This place serves generous portions, and you won't want to skip anything.

The salads served by our friendly and knowledgeable server were actually two: a standard but fresh green salad with carrots and a macaroni shrimp salad that's the best I've had outside my mom's kitchen, with lots of sweet tiny shrimp and green onions. They sell this salad in huge bowls for holiday parties and family picnics, and you can see why.

My husband had the chicken-fried steak, a favorite of his done very well here with a tender piece of steak perfectly breaded, fried and covered with a light cream gravy, with mashed potatoes and corn alongside.

I dithered over my meal choice. Should I have the hot turkey sandwich, one of my favorites at places like this? Or the halibut, which our server assured me was brought in whole and cut in-house to preserve freshness? Or the steak, also cut in the kitchen?

In the end, I was seduced by the prospect of chicken cordon bleu marinated in-house, pounded thin, hand-breaded and lightly fried to a golden-brown.

Seriously, could YOU resist?

It arrived as a deconstructed version of the classic, with two slices of sweet-salty grilled ham atop the chicken and triangles of Swiss cheese atop the ham. Sort of like the Malibu chicken at Sizzler, but way better (no offense, Sizzler). On the side I had corn and a well-cooked, mildly seasoned rice pilaf.

Then there were the scones — some of the best I've had eating out, and that's saying something in scone-loving Utah. These are the fry bread style of scones, and they were about as big as a catcher's mitt, all crispy-brown outside and warm and tender inside. Torn apart and dipped in honey butter, they were Beehive State nirvana.

But we didn't want to leave without having some pie, so we shared a slice of warm apple pie a la mode that was everything such a dessert should be — tart and sweet, smooth and spicy, with firm apples and a buttery, flaky crust that stood up beautifully to the vanilla-bean ice cream melting over it.

Breakfast entrées $4.50-$9.50, breakfast sides 50 cents-$3.50, lunch entrées $7.50-$8.95, sandwiches $5.50-$8.95, dinner entrées $8.95-$17.50, sides $1.75-$5.95, dessert $1.50-$3.50.

Midvale Mining Co.

Rating: ★★★

Where: 390 W. 7200 South, Midvale

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Phone: 801-255-5511

Payment: Major credit cards accepted; no checks

Wheelchair access: Easy

Also: Breakfast served 6 a.m.-5 p.m.; lunch served until 5 p.m.

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com