by Steven Doyle
What started on shaky ground has settled into a perfectly fine repast that is at once comforting and refined. The Front Room at the Lumen Hotel, which is located just across Hillcrest from SMU in Park City, recently revealed a new menu created by executive chef Nick Amoriello, and it gave us a smile this week as we dined in the kitchen as invited guests. We dodged a few plates being rushed to tables as we clinked glasses of merlot and feasted away on tiny tastes of the full grown menu.
Here we sampled dishes created as throw backs to more refined diner fare such as shrimp and grits, roasted chicken and steak and eggs. Amoriello gathers up local ingredients from all the correct sources such as Neuske’s bacon which the chef sous vides as a simply wonderful addition to several salads.
The prize for the most beautiful dish of the evening was definitely the Steak and Eggs ($25) which is a perfectly cooked 12 ounce grass fed strip steak with a few beautiful farm fresh eggs that are perched atop moist hash brown cakes. As an added bonus you will find a coined bone marrow compound butter sliding down the side of your beef. The photo above is just a tasting portion, as all our photos today.
Notice on the new menu that there are several baskets served with sunflower slaw and triple cooked fries, such as the 48-hour Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken. There are also baskets of ribs or fish tacos that are all great values starting at $14.
These dishes definitely pay homage to what Graham Dodds is doing over at the sister restaurant Central 214. Both are Kimpton properties, but separate ownership. Dodds played matchmaker in the kitchen and hosted Amoriello at 214 before he was finally chosen for the position. Although Amoriello comes to the table with a great CV, working at such places as exec chef at Meddlesome Moth, Potager in Arlington, and sous at Nove Italiano and Nobu.
There are actually three separate menus, breakfast, brunch and what they call an ‘all day menu’. The brunch menu usurps the breakfast menu on weekends, as it is served all morning and until 4pm. There are bits of lunch and breakfast offered on the brunch brunch, so it will please any appetite. Look for a terrific burger with plenty of additions such as Tom Spicer’s mushrooms. You can also have a house-made veggie burger if that is the way you roll.
The desserts are definitely not an after-thought, as they can often be at a restaurant. Here is where pastry chef Cody Sharp, formerly of Stephan Pyles, Restaurant Ava and Charlie Palmers, jumps into action. Sharp does several fun send ups to the diner-style menu. One is a playful Jello all made in house and absolutely beautiful. This isn’t your grandmother’s Jello.
The Front Room is definitely a neighborhood restaurant that coincidently resides at a hotel. As we dined in seclusion there were an abnormal amount of take-away packages being prepared filled with fried chicken and sandwiches.
With chef Nick Amoriello The Front Room has been redeemed and on our recommend list.