Corporate Cuisine Awards

Utah’s Best of the Best Restaurants

Di Lewis and Sarah Cutler

August 1, 2012

Business runs on great food. Whether you’re grabbing lunch with a new client or at a deal-closing dinner, it’s essential to dine at the best of the best establishments. Every year, Utah Business asks readers to tell us their favorite restaurants—eateries that are sure to impress even the pickiest palates. So the next time you need to wow a client or have an event to plan, check out the Corporate Cuisine Awards. Presented by Sysco Intermountain, the results of the 2012 awards are sure to have you looking for a reason to meet with a client or grab a coworker for a cup of Joe.

Best Place to Impress

Forage takes eco-friendly and green eating to its purest form with urban and wild foraging, which consists of harvesting indigenous, wild plants and fungi, as well as fishing and hunting. Viet Pham and Bowman Brown, co-owners and co-chefs, make the menu about eating what the Utah land provides. New menus are printed every day and consist of 11–13 different tastes to highlight what has inspired them.

And the inspiration comes from all directions, including books, blogs or even fast food, says Pham. “There are so many inspirations that come in to play. Going out to eat and being able to experience the different textures and flavors, it inspires us on what to cook.” And then the two chefs add their personal flare.

Pham says he loves working with seafood because he grew up on the West Coast, and Bowman likes foraging for plants and working with vegetables and animals because he grew up on a farm. The two different styles intertwine to create an ever-evolving menu that includes edible wild flowers and changes with the local seasons.

On top of it all, they pickle food to last through the winter and have a greenhouse on the back patio of the restaurant where they grow their own herbs and vegetables year round. The one item that never changes? The soft scrambled egg. The top of the egg is removed, the shell cleaned out, egg yoke scrambled and then piped back in to the shell with maple syrup and sherry cream. 

Best Ethnic

Fresh and sustainable is the philosophy behind Naked Fish, says Rachel Nickolaisen, marketing specialist for the restaurant.

Naked Fish specializes in Japanese fine dining, but goes beyond serving up excellent food. The restaurant is also concerned about the environment, especially overfishing. “We are very aware of the fish we use,” Nickolaisen says. “They aren’t overfished or rare.” The restaurant also takes pride in serving the freshest fish, shipping fish in frequently.

Part of this dedication to great food comes from Executive Chef Toshio Sekikawa. He loves talking to customers and receiving their feedback. And with more than 25 years of experience in the kitchen, he inspires everyone at Naked Fish to serve only the best food possible.

Best Power Breakfast

Stepping into Lamb’s Grill Café is a little like going back in time. The restaurant has been in business since 1919, first in Logan, then moving to Salt Lake in 1939. The historic building still sports classic booths, tables, light fixtures and other décor. Maybe it’s that reminder of days gone by that makes Lamb’s Grill classics like eggs benedict and French toast such a treat.

Though the restaurant serves meals throughout the day, its breakfasts are a time-honored tradition. With a menu almost unchanged since Lamb’s Grill opened, customers know they can expect a hearty breakfast, good prices and a classic atmosphere.

Best Steak

Spencer’s USDA prime-grade steaks are part of an elite class that less than 2 percent of the beef in the nation can claim. The steaks are aged, hand cut and seared to perfection in a 1600-degree broiler. Spencer’s cowboy cut rib chop is 18 oz. and has the unique option to leave the bone in, adding flavor and tenderness.

The rest of the menu is just as elite. “We do our sides from scratch. Nothing comes out of a can. Everything is made in-house. We use the best products that we can buy on the market and the freshest fish that we can find here in Utah,” says Lisa Wieboldt, general manager.

You might not need a knife for the tender steaks at Spencer’s, so join the preferred guest program and have your knife hung on the wall with your favorite quote engraved on it, just one more way Spencer’s stands out in the steak industry.

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