Northern Utah restaurants are feeling the love.
On the national front, the Mandarin in Bountiful was named one of the top 25 Chinese restaurants in America by Travel and Leisure magazine. (So the throngs of customers waiting to get in on the weekends ARE right!)
In an email, co-owner Angel Manfredini said there are 41,000 Chinese restaurants in America, so it is an honor to be in the top 25.
“We’ve been working hard for 36 years and are thrilled about the recognition,” she wrote.
The article noted that the restaurant at 348 E. 900 North, is run by a Greek-American family — 84-year-old Greg Skedros and daughter Angel Manfredini, who work alongside four Chinese cooks with classical training, as well as four Hispanic cooks.
They turn out dishes from various regions in China, such as green beans in a black bean sauce and Peking duck. There’s also a gluten-free menu, which is hard to find in most Chinese restaurants.
For more about it, check www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-chinese-restaurants-in-the-us/16.
On the local front this month, Salt Lake Magazine named Jasoh! Prime Dining and Brew Pub (on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street) the Best Northern Utah Restaurant.
Over the past 14 years, the magazine’s annual dining awards have become a prestigious Academy Awards-like event for Utah restaurants and chefs. It’s about the only time you’ll find 200 local food professionals together— because whenever there’s a party, they’re usually the ones in the kitchen doing the cooking.
Most of the awards focus on Salt Lake City restaurants, but there are a few awards given for regions in the state. Jasoh!’s award was unexpected for the owners, Shana Hess and Anthony Hubbard, because their chef, Nathan Sheatzley, recently moved back to Ohio because of family considerations.
Chef Kyle Lore was recently brought onboard. “So we’ve been so busy focusing so much on the transition that we weren’t thinking about awards,” said Hubbard in a telephone interview.
The owners got an invitation, he said, but didn’t realize it meant that they were a winner. Lore went to represent the restaurant, and ended up accepting the award.
“Chef Kyle had no idea either, he was wearing jeans,” Hubbard said. (The awards are more of a dress-up affair.)
Mary Malouf, Salt Lake Magazine’s food editor who oversees the awards, noted that the judging was done before Lore took over as the chef. “But they have been a stalwart for some time and have maintained a level of excellence in Ogden, which is a tough fine dining atmosphere up there,” she said.
Located on the second floor of a Historic 25th Street building, Jasoh! has a wood-burning oven and two different dining options — a pub menu with casual fare like burgers, pasta and wood-fired pizza, and a “fine dining” menu of steaks, seafood, duck, quail and, yes, even Himalayan yak.
Far from resting on its laurels, Jasoh! is working on a new pub menu, Hubbard said. The restaurant is also working with some local farms to supply more local ingredients.
Salt Lake Magazine also has a reader’s choice category, and Slackwater Pub & Pizza, at 1895 Washington Blvd., took the honor for Northern Utah. In 2012, Slackwater won the Best Northern Utah Restaurant award.
Other past Northern Utah winners include Union Grill, Zucca Trattoria, Hamilton’s Seafood & Steak in Logan, Rooster’s and Bistro 258.
And in 2010, Sonora Grill (at 2310 Kiesel Ave.) was named the best Mexican restaurant.
Valerie Phillips blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com.