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Before I entered Epic, I wondered what I was getting myself into because the parking lot was empty. Yet after being seated, I was relieved to discover a warm and inviting atmosphere which welcomed family and business gatherings, dates, and friends visiting over dinner. The space indeed reflected a casual dining aspect with its earth tone and cordial lighting, which certainly offered a more cohesive theme than I expected.

Our server handed me three different menus –a little overwhelming. Plus one of the menus was bright yellow which didn’t flow with the vibe of the restaurant: I would recommend that Epic rethinks that decision. Regardless, our server provided an adequate and smooth service starting us off with good recommendations.

My guest and I started with the grilled chicken flatbread, which had a well rounded taste featuring chicken, dried cranberry, English cheddar cheese, toasted walnuts, and a miniscule amount of aioli. However, while all these components were featured on the plate, they were not all on each piece of the flatbread, leaving us to try to grab all the bits and pieces for each bite. Even though the presentation was beautiful, it interfered with the taste and ease of consumption. In the end we were forced to build our own flatbread – tsk tsk.

The Mr. Martinez salad was spot on! At first I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to consume what looked to be an entire bag of greens; however, the mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, manchego cheese and strips of mango absolutely complimented a daring poblano chili vinaigrette. Well done, Epic! I would recommend this salad to anybody.

The ahi tuna was perfectly seared and had plenty of toasted black and white sesame seeds velcroed to the edges of every piece. It basked on top of fluffy basmati rice and a perfect amount of peanut sauce: another risky combination which worked. However, my dish came with a unexpected side of stir fried veggies consisting of broccoli, peppers, onions, and mushrooms smothered in a completely different flavor that threw-off the taste of the tuna. I would rather have experienced something that paralleled the sophistication of this dish, such as a cucumber and daikon salad, broccoli rabe, or no side.

My guest reflects on why she would order the grilled beef tenderloin again. “The beef tenderloin was cooked to a perfect medium rare – juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender with all the flavors intact. The sauce was KILLER – robust, rich flavors that complemented rather than overpowered the beef. Epic serves up their delightful beef with traditional side dishes, mashed potatoes and green beans. The potatoes had a nice tang to them, and the green beans, while pleasant enough, were nothing to write home about.”

Overall, the server didn’t push any beverage, appetizer or dessert, but gave suggestions when requested. Honestly it was too bad, because I had my eye on the meyer lemon white chocolate mousse. Oh well. The space was clean. The tables were nicely spaced. Epic’s dining room was clutter free. The kitchen seemed well trained, as all the dishes had a good temperature and lovely presentation. Additionally nothing tasted as though it has been waiting around in a pantry or refrigerator – definitely no concerns about the freshness. To sum it up: Epic gave the impression that they are laid back but have standards.

The downer? The art for sale in the bathroom was a little off-putting. Who really wants to bring home restaurant bathroom germs?! Seriously, Epic – buy your own art in your bathroom and keep it there! Some restaurants are able to sell a masterpiece that one can hang above his or her mantel, but leave it to the other restaurants – please. Besides this quirk I am trying to figure out the reason why I haven’t frequented this restaurant more, as it may be one of Salt Lake’s best kept secret.

Rating: I would be willing to return to see if Epic makes a few changes to make it to “Damn, somebody needs to contact the Michelin Man.”

Edited by SELF
Epic Casual Dining on Urbanspoon

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