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There is a new chef working up in Millcreek Canyon at a not-so-new restaurant: Log Haven Restaurant. Actually, Chef Frank Mendoza isn’t really so new either. He’s worked here locally at Metropolitan, Stein Eriksen’s, Snowbird, and at La Folie in San Francisco and recently, the W Hotel in Chicago. But having had the pleasure of tasting some new menu items at Log Haven last week with some other media folks, I’m really glad that Chef Mendoza has decided to return to Utah from the windy city. His cooking is better than ever and I expect Mendoza’s new dishes to revitalize Log Haven, which after ten years has become one of the state’s most honored and successful restaurants.
But even at a classic institution like Log Haven, change is good. And the wonderful new flavors Chef Frank Mendoza is bringing to Log Haven aren’t just good, they’re fabulous! One of my favorite new Log Haven dishes from the media dinner was an omelet made with quail eggs, chanterelle mushrooms, and dusted with fresh herbs, pine nuts, and clear butter. And Mendoza’s Utah buffalo tenderloin served with Red Sea Coffee barbecue sauce was a big crowd pleaser – and this was a pretty tough crowd to please! But it was a dish of crispy crusted red abalone with a grapefruit marmalade and Asian vinaigrette that really bowled me over. It’s the unique type of dish that showcases Chef Mendoza’s creative powers and his deft hand with contrasting and complimentary flavors.
The partnership of Chef Frank Mendoza with Log Haven restaurant seems like it’s going to be a great one. And I personally can’t wait to get back up to Log Haven to try more of Mendoza’s new menu. Welcome back to Utah, Frank: We’re glad you’re home.