Sorrel River Ranch Restaurant
The ownership of Sorrel River Ranch has put a great deal of thought and expense in creating the fabulous ambience of their dining rooms. Dinner is served in a huge room, adorned with an impressive Western-style chandelier, with many tables lined against picture windows overlooking the Colorado River. A grand piano is set against a far wall and the table settings provide a festive charm and elegance as you are seated. I can imagine the place becomes noisy when full, as voices might echo and bounce off the hard surfaced floor, but our room was very quiet on the evening we dined.
Dining at the end of April means the high season has not yet arrived, but the menu options were not diminished because of that. There are eight appetizer offerings, or, “Tastes,” at the top of the menu, including two featuring Creminelli Salami from Salt Lake City. We by-passed the appetizers, opting for one order of soup and one of salad. As we awaited our first course, our delightful, cheerful and informative server brought an amusé from the chef, featuring Sopressata salami from Creminelli, pickled cucumbers and a soft cheese on a small piece of toasted sourdough bread with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction. It was artfully presented and enjoyable to the palate. It accomplished its purpose which was to whet your appetite for what is to come.
The Sorrel River Onion Soup listed as ingredients Utah Ramps, Colossal Utah Onion Bowl, French Gruyere and Crisp Brioche. The dish arrived in a small ceramic bowl with a huge baked, blackened onion sitting atop the bowl and a spring of rosemary standing erect on top. The onion had been hollowed out and served as the actual bowl containing the soup and cheese. The challenge was to use the soup spoon to dig down into the onion bowl and twist off the threadlike cheese clinging to the spoon and onion bowl. I’ve never seen a more elegant presentation for French Onion Soup, and the dish was quite tasty and not as salty as some onion soups go. My wife ordered Wild Arugula and Dandelion salad featuring Castle Valley Chevre, heirloom Beets, Candied Walnuts, and Slide Ridge Honey Wine Vinaigrette. Her favorite part was the cheese that made the salad come alive.
Other soups and salads on the menu included Chilled Cucumber Soup, Organic Baby Greens, and Heirloom Tomato which our server described as a something akin to caprese. This final selection would have been our next choice.
Sorrel River Ranch’s restaurant has an adequate wine list, with bottles from a local winery starting at $35 and up. There were a few offerings from Spain, Argentina, and France (champagne) with representation from Australia and New Zealand as well. On the high end, four choices from Napa Valley are priced from $130-$150. We chose the local 2010 Castle Creek Chardonnay (Moab) from just down the road on Highway 128. Although we have not yet toured the winery, it looked like it would be something delightful to see as we passed it on the drive coming in. The chilled wine happened to be the last bottle available, and we found it crisp with a nice balance of tartness and sweetness. It was meant to be savored slowly and we made it last through the entire meal.
Seven entrée selections were available. I opted for Wild Sockeye Salmon, served with dry aged bacon, Slideridge Honey Wine Vinegar and wilted chard and kale. Now, to be honest, I was not looking forward to the chard and kale as my vegetable, so I asked about other vegetable choices. At this particular restaurant, vegetables may be ordered “for the table,” and there are seven choices. I asked about the white truffle fries and the grilled blue corn polenta cake. The server brought both as side dishes. (The fries were an absolute hit!) However, when my salmon arrived, I found the filet sitting atop roasted vegetables (the onions were delicious and reminded me of my soup) with the wilted chard and kale on top. Here was the surprise for me: I quite enjoyed the chard, though it tasted more baked than wilted. It was very much like spinach and it was a fine complement to the salmon.
My wife ordered the Grilled Cowboy Steak (ribeye), a 10 oz. serving with the house’s Signature Mashed Potatoes. She ordered it to be cooked medium and it was a hit. Other entrée selections included chicken, halibut, duck, buffalo short ribs, and a vegetable medley. Our third choice would have been the buffalo that was served with mashed potatoes.
For dessert my wife, the Queen of Crème Brule ordered something new: Chocolate Mint Crème Brule, served with a raw sugar crust. It was chocolaty for sure, and extra sweet with the burnt sugar coating. It was extraordinarily different from any Crème Brule she had tasted before, so there is really no way to compare this dish with any other she or I have previously tasted. I’d give the chef an “A” for effort on this one, although it was difficult to get used to its deep dark color.
I ordered the Southern Fried Apple Pie a la mode, following our server’s suggestions. I didn’t pay attention to the name of the dish and when it arrived, I was quite surprised to see that it had been deep fried (to the same consistency as the Truffle Fries we had for a side dish earlier) which made this dessert more special than ordinary apple pie. The Madagascar Vanilla Frozen Custard provided the perfect accompaniment.
Other selections for dessert included Banana Split Bread Pudding served with pineapple, whipped cream, walnuts, and candied cherry; Strawberries and Cream served with whipped cream and Spearmint Mint (sounds redundant, but that’s what was on the menu); Utah Cheese Plate, a sampling of three Utah cheeses with seasonal accompaniments; and Seasonal Frozen Custard.
Entrees at the Sorrel River Ranch Restaurant run between $24 and $36 with appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes, desserts and beverages extra. You can’t beat the location, dining next to the river, whether indoors or al fresco. Whether you’re a guest at the ranch, a visitor to Moab or a “townie” as was our server, you’ll absolutely love the sights along the 25-minute drive out to the 160-acre ranch and the ambience of this rustic but elegant setting. Check out Sorrel River Ranch Restaurant for their breakfast and lunch options too. Once you come out for a visit, you might decide to stay even longer and enjoy all this place has to offer.