Snap, Crackle, Popping at Fireside on Regent

Soft lighting and wood décor create a cozy atmosphere for this eatery, located next to the Eccles Theater on Regent Street. With bar and table seating, it offers quick service for theater-goers and a quaint environment for everyday meals with family and friends. A Google search would suggest Italian/American fare, yet it brings the vibe of an East Coast Broadway eatery, and took me back to my days in New York watching The Producers in Mel Brooks’ seats when Matthew Broderick was the lead. It’s classy yet subtle, offering both an explorative menu alongside everyday staples to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

With Rabbit Gnocchi on the menu, it may appear a little out there, but the menu is on point, with a bit of something for everyone. I took my friend Taylor with me—she likes food but is not a foodie, and I am happy to report that it turned out to be a great experience. It’s fun to take someone out to dinner that doesn’t get all giddy—like me—about all the blends of flavor that swirl on your palate. It adds a new perspective to the dishes.

We started with the house pulled mozzarella. Created in-house, the dish sits atop a zucchini fondue with olive oil and chives. The fresh, clean taste allows the mozzarella to truly stand out.

The Milk Run is Fireside’s take on the margherita-style pizza, bringing on ricotta cheese, homemade mozzarella and fresh basil. Photo: Talyn Sherer
The Milk Run is Fireside’s take on the margherita-style pizza, bringing on ricotta cheese, homemade mozzarella and fresh basil. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Next up, a wood-fire pizza. Why stop at one when you can order three and take it home for leftovers? Taylor opted for the good old standby, The Superior. It is the classic pepperoni, mozzarella, red-sauce goodness we all know and love—in true New York style, the thin, just-crisp-enough crust brings the Big Apple to the senses. Fireside’s wood-fired creations are spot on, and if you want to be part of the action, sit at the bar to embrace the crackle of the fire. Their take on the classic Margherita style pizza is called “Milk Run.” Topped with fresh basil, homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese, this pie comes to life with a thin crust that makes the basil pop in your mouth.

After having a couple of basic staples, we decided to bring it up a notch with a Pink Pine slice. If you are looking for some exciting flavor and a little bit of spice, this is your slice. Pork fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, Sandhill Farm young onion and jalapeño herald in your first bite—oh, snap. The inviting fennel sausage offers a sweetness that is complemented with the finishing kick of jalapeño. This arrangement provides the lingering after-sensations of wanting more. Be careful, though—you may just indulge in the whole pizza.

While wood-fired pizza and appetizers are an easy jam for theatergoers and everyday patrons, the entrées deserve mention. The menu is well-rounded with, options of quail, scallops, chicken, steak and a house-made carbonara pasta. I love how Chef Mike Richey brings stables fresh from the kitchen to life. I decided to go off the beaten path with The Gold Potato Gnocchi. It’s not the gnocchi that takes it above and beyond the ordinary but the rabbit that accompanies it. Consisting of Meyer lemon, braised rabbit, brown butter, pancetta and heirloom tomato, this dish melts in your mouth. The rabbit with the brown butter offers a little bit of sweetness that accompanies the gnocchi perfectly. I typically love heirloom tomatoes, yet found them to distract from my personal flavor palette in this combination.

Let’s talk drinks for a minute. I know it’s on your mind because with any food pairing, it is on mine. Fireside offers several wines by the glass—including a nice bubbly option—and also allows bringing in your own bottle of wine for a $10 corkage fee. The cocktail menu is well-done, with options of whiskey, rum, tequila and gin cocktails. I am beginning to see a trend of no house vodka cocktails on menus, which is my standard order, so I went with the Rose Gin Tonic. Big Gin London Dry, lime and tonic with complementing rose water was a beautiful start to our meal.

We ended the meal with dessert, of course, and we could not pass up beignets—I am a sucker for a good one. These brought a smile to my face, reminding me of New Orleans’ Cafe Du Monde. Fireside’s spin on this intricate French pastry is a beautiful consistency of pastry with a sugar-and-cinnamon dusting atop ice cream and fresh fruit of the day. Made fresh, the beignets intoxicate the taste buds.

Well done, Fireside. You have paired yourself nicely with bringing big city, Broadway-style show dining to life in Salt Lake City in a low-key yet sophisticated atmosphere. One last thing to mention: If you don’t want to go into the restaurant, call in for a pizza order to go—your belly and taste buds will thank you.