THE SALT LAKE SCENE >
Lugano isn't just fine dining. It's an experience.Laura Barnes - September 22, 2010 at 8:53AM
As I bit into the bruschetta, I involuntarily began to experience palate nostalgia. With every bite, I transcended deeper and deeper though time to a specific childhood memory. I was five, and my mom was baking peach cobbler in the fall. I kept snitching bits off the counter and sharing them with the family dog. And her nubby little cocker spaniel tail wiggled as fast as it could while I fed her nibbles of my delicious bounty.I snapped out of my flavor triggered trance and remembered I was at Lugano for dinner, and I’d just taken a bite of not only the most unique but impressive bruschetta I’ve ever encountered. Chef/Owner Greg Neville explained to me that most items on the menu at Lugano are created with the freshest local products around. And as a result, certain items on the menu don’t just change seasonally – but daily. And that day the bruschetta was made with fresh peaches, corn, lemon, Italian serrano, goat cheese, basil and more. The combination of which had proved to not just be delicious, but powerful enough to invoke a feeling of happiness from my childhood. While waiting for the second course I honestly became a little worried that the rest of my meal would be a disappointment after that impressive start. But as soon as the torched pear topped with proscuitto, mascarpone and a balsamic reduction was placed in front of me I knew the bruschetta hadn’t been a fluke. Every bite of the torched pear proved to be the perfect balance of salty and sweet, firm and soft, warm and cold. “Whoa,” I thought. “This guy is good.” Each course continued to hit me like waves on a beach. It would slowly build up, then crash over my taste buds, surprising me in ways I never expected. Greg continued to explain things you wouldn’t have learned just by looking at the menu. Like the fact that they make most of their own pastas. And those of which they don’t make are bought from boutique pasta makers who put the same level of care into their product as he does. Even the wines available at the restaurant come from primarily sustainable wineries around the world, and have developed long lasting relationships with Greg through their mutual passion for palate perfection.As I left Lugano, it all became so clear to me. Dining at Lugano isn’t just a meal, it’s truly an experience!