I always love it when food is half price. So when we heard about the Yelp! Eats event happening in Salt Lake we were pretty excited. And the list of participating restaurants was almost all new to me. We really only had time for one restaurant so we ended up choosing Faustina because I’d heard good things.
Despite the heat, we decided to sit on the patio. It was shaded, somewhat secluded (until we noticed the apartment building next to us who could look down over the entire dining area) plenty of greenery, and we caught a glimpse of a rainbow about halfway through our meal.
We sat down and told our server that we were here for the Yelp! Eats event. She came by with a menu and offered to explain anything. We spent some time deliberating over the options. We always seem to make it a point to get as many things as possible and then try each other’s dishes. Kind of frustrating when two people want to get the same thing, but it ends up being a lot more fun for everyone.
One thing that frustrated me was not seeing the Yelp! Eats menu items on the real menu. I was looking forward to actually trying, and saving money on items that I would be able to come back and order later if I really liked them. It was still great food and I still felt that we were able to get an idea of the kitchen’s ability and the restaurant’s flavor but still…we ended up ordering a couple things off the regular menu as well.
Like any respectable Italian influenced restaurant, Faustina started us out with some focaccia, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. We were hungry, so this was appreciated.
The appetizers that we ordered were awesome. The crab cakes were not the best I’d had (they were a tad dry and lacking crabby flavor) but I’m always a fan different flavored aioli, this one came with chipotle and guacamole. The lamb and beet bruschetta were surprisingly good. The lamb had a slightly gamey taste, which I like, and the blue cheese against the sweet beets was a great combo. I loved the bread. Whether it was some additional fat they applied (I’m sure they did) or just the lamb juices seeping into it, the bread had just the right amount of crunch and chew. Nothing I hate more than a bruschetta that tears apart the roof of my mouth like a fresh bowl of Captain Crunch. Well, ok, there are things I hate more.
Adam (my brother in law) and I ordered roasted rabbit wrapped in prosciutto. Jodi (my sister) refused to eat it. Her loss. That cute little bunny was delicious. It was accompanied by braised kale and a salad of bacon and red peppers, if I remember correctly.
Next up were the entrees. Because of the weather and the amount of appetizers that I ordered, I opted for a simple Caprese salad. It was nice. Simple, light, fresh. Plus, I had everyone else’s meals to try.
Jodi ordered off the real menu. She got a wild mushroom ravioli that was extremely comforting. Mushrooms make such an excellent filling for pasta. Their meaty attributes stand up nicely to fattier proteins.
To back up slightly, before, when our server was explaining the various dishes on the menu, she mentioned one shrimp Alfredo dish with fresh pasta. My wife makes excellent fresh pasta. So she decided to order this and see how it compared. It was different. This pasta was slightly grittier and had more of a rougher texture that allowed more sauce to arrive with each bite. And what a sauce it was. There must’ve been a pound of butter. So much that my wife was afraid to take it home and stick it in the fridge for fear of the results: One congealed, fatty mass. But freshly made, it was marvelous. I helped her polish it off.
The desserts on the menu didn’t impress us so we decided to walk off the rich meal and stop by Gourmandise bakery, which is only a couple of blocks away.
The service was ok. Our server was extremely nice and personable. She did scoff at Adam’s question when he asked if the pork was going to be made to his temperature. I guess she’s never heard of a pork-chop cooked medium. And she forgot to replace my silverware once, but a little trip over to the servers station fixed that problem.
The decor has a 1950′s california-posh feel to it. Lots of pre-fabricated materials, beige colors, high-backed booths.
The regular menus are reasonably priced, with nothing over $25.
Sadly, nothing really stood out to me so much that we’d go back. I wouldn’t refuse to go back, but there are simply too many other restaurants in Utah that I want to experience. Faustina didn’t wow me enough to make it into our regular line-up. But it’s definitely worth a shot if you haven’t been. I did not leave disappointed by any means.