Painted Pony, St. George, Utah

For an up and coming retirement area, St. George has a woeful lack of restaurants. Except for a number of Mexican and Chinese restaurants, there are very few non-chain establishments. Fine dining in St. George usually means Outback Steakhouse or Tony Roma’s. Painted Pony is an exception. It is on the second floor in downtown’s Ancestor Square. The interior has a subtle desert theme. We started by ordering a bottle of wine from a smallish wine list. Sometimes in St. George you are treated like you are some sort of alien when you order a bottle of wine, but the wine service went smoothly. After we ordered our salads and main course, and the wine had come, we waited a while and wondered why no bread had been served. After the salads came, I asked the waiter if we could have some bread and he said they only served bread if people asked for it due to the low carb craze. We thought that it might have been better if the waiter had asked us if we wanted bread. When the bread came it was puffy Parker House rolls like you buy at the grocery store. Actually, I don’t think they should worry about throwing out too much of it.

John and I had the mixed greens to start. This dish was done well with slivered apples, blue cheese and walnuts. Sophie had the spinach salad which included small balls of goat cheese but needed a little more dressing. John’s main course was salmon with a fresh salsa served with a black bean cake. He said the salmon was excellent although cooked to medium instead of medium rare as he had asked. The black bean cake was a weird side to the salmon with tasteless beans and grainy polenta. Sophie had the pork tenderloin. This came with a red chile mole which she said was very good and a lot of baby bok choy which she didn’t like. The pork had an apricot stuffing. The pork itself should have been cooked a little less as it was somewhat dry. I had the Painted Pony’s signature dish, escolar with a sesame crust. It is served with sweet potatoes. Both the fish and the sweet potatoes were excellent although an odd choice to serve together. We shared a bourbon creme brulee for dessert. I like creme brulee better served in a low wide dish so there is more of the crunchy sugar on top but the custard was very good and we all enjoyed it.

So mostly good food from an innovative menu in an attractive restaurant. The downsides were an inattentive waitstaff, entrees cooked a little more than we had asked for, and strange bread service. Sophie adds that the water glasses being metal make your hands freeze!

John – B-
Sophie – B
Mary – B

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