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Dining out: 350 Main

Published: Friday, Aug. 22 2008 12:14 a.m. MDT

I worried that 350 Main would be the kind of restaurant that outsiders like me sometimes find in Park City: pretty good food that's snooty, catering to a narrow niche of foodies or health freaks, overpriced and ultimately unsatisfying.

This made me nervous because my husband and I were treating my parents to dinner, and they've eaten all over the world and can be tough to please.

But everyone in our group of four was pleased by 350 Main, which offers creative, exciting, accessible food. True, calorie counts accompany many menu items, but there's also plenty of decadence, and while I'll let readers debate the worth (or not) of an entree costing more than $30, I can only say that I left very satisfied.

350 Main is in the heart of Park City and is lovely on a summer evening, when the big front window is opened to make the whole front dining room al fresco. In the winter, the cunningly divided space turns inward, with golden light, comfy seating and artfully twisted metal sconces.

To start, we had the streethawker shrimp and grilled vegetable griddle cakes from the "menu de sante," which focuses on ingredients rich in vitamins and antioxidants that are low in calories and saturated fats.

Frankly, we just thought they sounded good. And it's a tribute to chef Michael LeClerc that both dishes were, indeed, delicious. The sweet shrimp, perfectly cooked on skewers and glossed with a light, spicy sauce, arrived on a spectacular julienne-cut green papaya salad that was crunchy and invigorating. The griddle cakes were gently flavored, resting on a bed of green beans and carrots with coconut yogurt raita drizzled over all, but they got a tremendous punch of flavor and spice with the addition of peppered dried mango. My mom and I wished for a whole bag of that little delicacy.

That's one of the best things about 350 Main: Everything on the plate is going to taste good and harmonize beautifully with everything else. Or, as my dad put it, "Usually you don't want to eat the stuff UNDER the thing you ordered, but you do here."

He had the grilled beef medallions, succulent little tenderloins with a surprisingly light wild mushroom saute and a drizzle of black truffle vinaigrette. My husband had the classic steak frites from the "signature menu," cut in half for presentation to show its juicy pink interior and served with crisp, light-golden fries and a bunch of peppery watercress.

We're pretty sure the cooking instructions on the two steak dishes got mixed up somewhere: My husband's steak was medium-rare, and my dad's medallions were medium, and they'd requested the opposite. But they enjoyed them too much to ask for any changes.

My mom had the night's special, a generous cut of halibut, cooked tender and flaky from stem to stern, on a bed of deceptively fluffy and serene-looking sweet potatoes, which turned out to have a fiery kick despite their satiny texture.

I had "ono-ono," mild Pacific ono served two ways. The first, which reminded me just a little of weinerschnitzel with rotkohl, was lightly and crisply breaded and topped with pickled shallots, on a swish of warm cabbage and noodles. The second, and my favorite, was beautifully grilled and topped with a rich chutney of mangoes and other tropical fruits, served over stir-fried veggies.

I loved the whimsy of 350 Main's desserts. The chocolate cake, nearly the rich texture and flavor of souffle, looked like the fanciest cupcake you ever saw in its "cup" of phyllo dough, while the mocha pot au creme took coffee to a sublime level of richness with its dark, rich mocha creme and topping of glossy meringue dusted with cinnamon and chipotle and studded with fresh berries.

Appetizers $9-$16, entrees $26-$36, sides $6-$10, desserts about $9-$12.

Rating: ****

Where: 350 Main, Park City

Hours: Opens daily at 6 p.m.

Payment: Major credit cards accepted; no checks

Phone: 435-649-3140

Wheelchair access: Easy, though the sidewalks outside are crowded and some tables are high

Also: On the Web at www.350main.com; reservations recommended; closed during Park City's mud season, in early spring


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