Just recently, I had the wonderful good fortune to be invited to Log Haven to sample many items from the restaurant’s new spring and summer menu (see left hand picture for a full, mouth watering breakdown). Full disclosure: the evening was comped by the restaurant in full.
While we’ve covered Log Haven before on GSLC it’s the first time I’ve personally made the trip up Millcreek canyon to dine at the restaurant. And wow, I’m so glad I did, I could kick myself in hindsight for never visiting, let alone dining before. Indeed, every time I head up into any of our jaw dropping canyons in Utah, I always scold myself for forgetting about how many visual, and gustatory treats are seconds away from the mundane day to to day hustle and bustle. Log Haven is just one such treat.
Sitting at the base of cliffs and flowing waterfalls, four miles up Millcreek Canyon – Log Haven was built as a private residence in the 1920s by Salt Lake steel baron L.F. Rains, constructed from imported Oregon logs nonetheless. By the time the late 1980s came around Log Haven had long since fallen into disrepair and was slated to be destroyed. Thankfully, current owner Margo Provost purchased Log Haven in 1994 and completely refurbished and renovated the property, to its present day grandeur. I’m definitely glad that bold business decision paid off. Today Log Haven is a beautiful restaurant – out back lies a wonderfully secluded patio area, shrouded in trees. Inside is a cosy log cabin retreat, dim lighting, alpine accoutrements aplenty; if ambiance is that critical third element of a perfect dining experience, Log Haven has it in buckets.
Of course, what’s style without substance. Back at the helm for several years now is chef Dave Jones (formerly Bambara) whose cooking approach I’ve always enjoyed – South Western inflected American cuisine with hefty dollops of Asian flair to boot. And of course, an aim to support local producers and purveyors wherever possible.
Chef Jones’ eclecticism is recognizable immediately in three great appetizers I sampled. Morgan Valley Lamb Riblets (picture one below, $13.50) were a wonderful sticky mess, their sweetness cut with mildly pickled bites of honeydew. While Tuna Tartare ($14.50, picture two below) might be old hat to some, I love the dish, and its rendition here with crushed avocado, shiitake and seaweed was an enjoyable nod to Jones’ Asian influences.
Sadly not pictured (coming family style to our table made this one tricky) was a sublime Fire Roasted Anaheim Chile Soup ($8) – just enough spicy kick to get your attention, and oodles of deep flavor long after the bite cools down – the texture of crunchy tortilla straws completed the experience. I could have gulped this down all night long, if it weren’t for the wine flowing courtesy of the stellar staff.
Onto the entrees, and everything had me battling with our dining companions to steal an extra bite: top notch scallops, as good a filet steak as I’ve had in recent memory and juicy, moist, brined pork. Some of my favorites included a Crispy Skinned Utah Steelhead Trout ($28.50, picture one below), whose skin certainly lived up to its name. I wish I could cook like this at home – entrancingly crunchy skin, tender and moist fish – but I can’t and that’s why I eat out! Another intriguing dish was the Smoked Duck and Hand Cut Serrano Chile Pasta ($30.50, picture two below) – which if paired with the chile soup from earlier, would combine for an excellent one-two South Western mountain-styled dinner, perfect to while away a summers evening al fresco (note to self).
Rounding out the meal, dessert kept pace with the rest of proceedings, with nary a clunker in sight. If you still have room at the end of your meal, you would be well advised to pick the absolutely decadent Milk Chocolate – Peanut Butter Silk ($7, picture one below) which flows and oozes with melted Amano chocolate – yep, the good stuff. And if something lighter floats your boat, a Drake Farm Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta ($6, picture two below) was creamy perfection.
If you still need further convincing to pick Log Haven as that special somewhere to beat the heat this summer – check out the restaurants website and FaceBook page. The restaurant routinely features great priced specials and some interesting events. One popular event of late is their dinner and dancing series (next up July 13th), which we’ve written about on GSLC in the past – an evening of dancing and great food, all for the bargainous price of $50 per person.
6451 East Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84109