Almond Tres Leches, Brussels Sprout Salad, Churros, Coca de Ajo, cool vibe, Finca, Flatbread, local products, open kitchen, Potatoes with paprika and aioli, Restaurants, Salt Lake City, Small Plates, Tapas
We thought we were at the main entrance to Finca, but when I tried to open the door, it wouldn’t budge. Hmmm. So my guest and I started to head down the steps to what we thought was the back door when someone opened the front door and greeted us, noting our stupidity – we just had to pull on the door. As we walked through the restaurant to the hostess stand, I noticed how clean and sophisticated Finca looks. It definitely has a “cool” vibe going for it. Plus all of the employees seemed hip and put together.Yet, it has a borderline sterile feeling to it with the grey and blue sharp lines decorating the entire place. My guest reassured me that Finca was able to pull off a clean, open and modern feeling. What didn’t fit was the storage rack for wood located in the middle of the restaurant that brought “warmth” to Finca. Hard to picture, yup – I agree and I was sitting near it.
As the hostess seated us, we recognized the semi-open kitchen and bar that outlined the area. It always feels neat to see the cooks in any restaurant. Once we were seated in one of the five or so booths, the restaurant seemed to become more bit more cozy and private. Indeed it is a small space, but Finca didn’t seem to overcrowd the space with too many chairs and tables.
Our server was happy and polite for the most part. He seemed to know and love everything on the menu. When we looked to him for advice and suggestions, he pretty much went through all of the items and told us how much he liked them all. As my guest noted: this guy couldn’t pick a favorite if his life depended on it, which was somewhat disappointing. Other than that, there were a few times that we just smiled and nodded because we had no idea what he mumbled to us. He could have spoken a little bit more clearly and slowly, but then again…should we have asked him to repeat himself?
We ended up ordering a few small plates that dished up quality ingredients of local products: awesome. Overall, the dishes were nice and clean – certainly not too fancy. Surprisingly, Finca offered more than just a bite size helping on their small plates. These were certainly dishes that you can do family style without feeling like you are getting gypped by sharing it with someone else. The food smelled delicious and appetizing.
For sure my guest and I were intrigued by the creative play on the brussels sprout salad (Ensalada de Bruselas). The flavors of the dressing presented a great marriage with the leaves of the brussels sprouts. Who could go wrong with honey and sherry? However, the cream sauce was a bit heavy on the mayo-tasting spectrum. The dried cherries presented a nice texture, but Finca totally could get away with replacing them with cranberries or some other dried fruit, because they didn’t have a distinguishing taste. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite dish. I’ll be honest: perhaps because it was the healthiest one!
My guest and I are potato lovers, and so it came as no surprise that we ordered their (Papas y Aioli) potatoes which were well-decorated with paprika and a generous drizzling of classic aioli. They were not overcooked, nor crispy. They could be described as fancy Arby’s french fries (without attempting to sound like an insult), but who would turn even those down? For sure we would order these again. In fact, we would most likely order our own individual small plate so we didn’t have to share!
The crispy flatbread (Coca de Ajo) was rich with flavors. The chives were delicately placed amongst heavy hitting ingredients, like the salty serrano ham, sharp manchego cheese, and caramelized onions…and yes, I might now smell like garlic. But, this flatbread was worth it. I would recommend it to Finca diners.
At this point it was time to move along to dessert. Since there wasn’t any chocolate dessert on the menu (my guest’s usual go-to), she didn’t waste any time deciding to try a classic. One order of the almond tres leches with blueberry and lemon sauce please. Even though she ate the entire portion, she felt that it was a tad dry. However, the flavor was good. One of the best parts of the dessert ended up being the toffee garnish on top of the slice of cake. I wonder if they can do a toffee dessert.
I had the spiced churros. Unfortunately I misread this and thought it read spicy churros. So my expectations were set up for a different taste when I drenched one of the four churros into the cacao sauce. The thing is – more is not always better. I think this dish could have been best if it only had three churros with various dipping sauces, like a spicy chocolate sauce, salted or burnt caramel, and a component that could be unique to SLC…maybe something, with honey. But certainly, I feel like I got a sugar high from this sweet dish.
I appreciate having Finca in town – a place where I don’t have to make a large commitment to something I may not enjoy completely. And yes, any restaurant should be able to provide a smaller size or side dish item, yet this is Finca’s specialty. Nevertheless, I think they could bring more of a cutting edge to the flavors of the dishes. Besides the flatbread that popped with flavor, the other dishes didn’t leave behind too much of a memorable impression – certainly not a bad impression, just a safe one.
As we wrapped up our meal, the energy of our server totally changed after he inquired about my camera. I wish honesty wasn’t my policy, because I would’ve liked to say that I was a tourist or something and that’s why I was taking pictures. Or maybe I should have said that I was doing an article to compare Salt Lake City and Spain tapas. But as our dialogue moved along, he seemed “put out” when I asked if I could see the manager. His mood changed even more and actually became a little sassy when he learned about this blog, which at that point he informed me that he was the manager and then changed his story and told me he was the assistant manager. Hmmmmmmmm.
Rating: I would be willing to return if and when a friend invites me to meet up there to experience some other items we didn’t have a chance to try.