“It’s killer,” owner Jamie Lythgoe says about her restaurant’s signature dish, Utah’s Best Smoked Prime Rib. When Harley & Buck’s moved down the hill from Eden 18 months ago, they inherited this big ol’ granddaddy of a bright red smoker in their new location just off 25th on Washington. (That’s not to say they weren’t smoking up a storm before they moved; check out this smoker trailer they still use for events). Chef Edgar will be throwing in some applewood and using the red smoker this Restaurant Week to serve up his ‘killer’ Smoked Prime Rib Sandwich and his Brisket Platter. Smoked for 3 hours, the meat is tender and oh so smoky, and you get either the sweet or spicy BBQ sauce along with it. As I was taking my first mouthwatering bite of the fall-apart brisket, having dipped in the spicy, Jamie said her kids like to mix the sauces. So I tried that on the next bite, and it did not disappoint. The sauces are actually both sweet, but that spicy one has a kick that lingers. I looked at my husband, Chris, while we were eating it, and happily said, “Is this happening to your face right now, too?” We both super duper liked it.
Chris’ fave was the Salmon, which Edgar informed me is cooked in a citrus ale. It has a perfect sear and a yummy tangy citrus finish, as promised. Jamie’s favorite is to eat the salmon with Edgar’s rich fettuccine alfredo, which I plan on trying out in the not too distant future. But this Restaurant Week feature has the salmon served on a bed of perfectly cooked rice and fresh vegetables, all of which was so totally pleasing to my spoiled little palate.
As parents of four littles and longtime lovers of good mac & cheese, Chris and I have become quite the mac connoisseurs. H&B’s feature of Lobster Mac & Cheese is one you’ll want to check out this week. It’s all the comfort of a good, cheesy, creamy mac, but also has the sweet surprise of big and delectable lobster pieces. The mac is served with a toasted garlic bread, which, if you’re like me, you’ll want to use to sop up the remaining delicious truffle cream sauce. Yum!
We also sampled the starters, Pear & Gorgonzola Salad and the Asparagus with Hollandaise. The super fresh salad is served with sweet and crunchy candied walnuts, juicy tomatoes, flavorful onions, salty and creamy Gorgonzola, and topped with a sliced fresh, crisp pear. Its totally appetizing combination of textures and flavors is beautifully rounded off with balsamic vinaigrette. Meanwhile, the asparagus has a subtle sear and is drizzled with a hollandaise that’s light enough not to overtake the crispy asparagus, but yummy enough that you’ll find yourself chasing it around the plate with your asparagus-speared fork. Either one of these is a great starter choice this week.
Chris and I finished our meal fighting over bites of the Apple Walnut Cobbler. With apples and caramel, and whiffs of cloves and cinnamon, you can’t help but be taken to autumn eating this dessert. H&B’s serves this with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon sugar. So, the answer is yes, you should totally splurge for dessert this time.
Yummy food aside (just for a second, I promise), Harley & Buck’s has all the aesthetic appeal of our awesome downtown Ogden, with gorgeously old exposed brick walls, lovely low lighting, and decked with local art. The bar seats a baker’s dozen, and boasts a bunch of craft beers and a couple big TVs. With a capacity of 136, the restaurant is considerably sized. There’s a private room in the back with seating for 20, and just ahead of that is another room for 50 that can be partitioned off and become private. These rooms are perfect for all the events that Harley & Buck’s hosts (parties, weddings, etc.); I’m thinking we’ll do Chris’ 40th there this year. H&B’s waiting area is probably the coziest in town, with several big comfy couches and surrounded by some seriously good eye candy wall art. There’s even a stage for the live music that goes on Friday and Saturday nights when local, and not so local, musicians perform. Tables throughout the restaurant are made from old-fashioned radiators, which again lends to Ogden’s totally cool feel of history and style.
It’s at one of these tables that Jamie Lythgoe puts me completely at ease with her kicked back demeanor. Hanging out with her was not unlike being with any of my best buddies. (In fact, 20 minutes into our meeting I was eating onion rings off her plate and maybe even double dipping in the homemade fry sauce). She’s Ogden stock through and through – basically Ogden royalty – and loves to chat about our city’s history and her super cool local ancestors (think I’ll save those details for another article). But even with all that chill feel, Harley & Buck’s still manages to command all the respectability of the best restaurants in town. The beautiful, professional face of H&B’s is the manager, Anirel, who is poised and lovely and knows the restaurant inside and out. Chef Edgar is shy and kind, but just kills it in the kitchen. Most of H&B’s staff has considerable longevity, even through the move a year and a half ago. They’re people you like to be around. It’s this character of the people and style of the venue that take Harley & Buck’s from being just a place to get really, really good food to a place where you definitely want to spend time.