Friday, January 11, 2013

double italian

Tuesday was my birthday and to celebrate I was taken out for both lunch and dinner - which is rather more eating out in one day than I am accustomed to doing.  For lunch, I went with some co-workers to the Cinegrill in downtown SLC.  The Cinegrill is a venerable institution, established in the early 1950s, and has very loyal and longtime regulars.  It's old-school, red sauce Italian, decent but not fabulous food.  They're known for their liberal hand with the garlic, particularly the house salad dressing which is tasty but extra potent.  I was in the mood for soup and had the minestrone, which is quite good and chock-full of veggies; my dining companions had the sausage sandwich (made with sausage patties, not links) and lasagna (free-form, made to order) respectively.  With the red booths filled with cronies and the traditional food, stepping into the Cinegrill is like stepping back in time.

For dinner H and I went to the Cottonwood location of Cafe Trio, stopping in at the adjoining but separately owned martini bar for a drink first.  The cocktails are expensive - $7.50 - $9.00 for martini variations - but they do have about five beers on tap too.  The bar also serves the full menu from the neighboring restaurant with no mark-up: if you're comfortable where you're sitting, there's no need to get up for dinner.  We did go into the restaurant, however, which was surprisingly busy for a dark and cold Tuesday night, sitting at a little booth and waited on by a pleasant server.  We each had a green salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, grapes and candied walnuts, then for dinner I had the pasta special (kale-stuffed raviolis served with a kale pesto and brown butter sauce) and H had the sausage rigatoni.  We split a bottle of wine (don't remember what we had - the wine list is not particularly expansive) and even splurged on dessert: an enormous creme brulee for me, which was really too big, and a "chocolate budino" for H, which was sort of an Italian pudding-cake.  Our dinner was fine but we've decided that we don't LOVE Trio.  The food is good but not great and it seems a little expensive for what you get; the space, which is in a brand new building, seems a little sterile despite the colorful abstract art on the walls.  I think next time we have a special occasion type dinner we'll give someplace else a try - there certainly plenty of options in the SL valley.

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