Dining al fresco adds a refreshing dimension to any occasion, but a seat at tupelo, a restaurant that has built its reputation on showcasing local producers, provided a memorable opportunity to Savor the Summit.
Brigham City Apricot Bourbon Sun Tea welcomed diners to Park City’s largest outdoor dinner party last Saturday night, where a cordoned section of the grande table offered dramatic views of dark mountains beneath a peach and yellow sunset, leavened by the parade-like atmosphere of revelers, friends, and roving musicians stopping by or waving from adjoining sidewalks.
Diners sat down to a table styled with flowers and linens that channeled the simple elegance of the restaurant’s interior, with subtle hints at chef Matt Harris’s Southern roots in the place settings (magnolia leaves with guest’s names written in gold ink) and miniature canning jars of honey butter that accompanied baskets of homestyle biscuits, a recent departure from the standard sourdough.
“We want to give a taste of the south without being a southern restaurant,” explained Harris, who drew inspiration for the evening’s menu from fresh apricots, melon, berries, morels, and Maine crab and halibut. “It was fun to write a menu showcasing the best of the season, because that’s the whole influence behind tupelo. We try to be ever evolving and keep current with what’s at its peak.”
Bright garden flavors complemented the first course, a Tartare Trio of Wild Salmon with horseradish and avocado; Wagyu with smoked mustard and quail egg, and Ahi Tuna and pickled melon and smoked pepper hot sauce, served with a light and lively Bisol & Figli Prosecco Superiore Crede Brut.
The second course arrived as summer in a bowl— heirloom vegetable gazpacho poured over servings of Maine crab and summer berries. Paired with a white table wine and aforementioned biscuits, (Tablas Creek Estate Vineyard, Cotes de Tables Blanc, Paso Robles 2013), this dish rendered the table to a reverent silence for a small spell, before the addition of the third course, a Parmesan Crusted Casco Bay Halibut with peas, morels and pickled onions, roused new conversation.
The final entrée, a roasted Wagyu Beef with creamy marrow glaze and buttery English Popovers, enhanced by a beautiful garnet Carpazo (Brunelli di Matalcino 2009) which tasted of strawberries and cherries.
A dessert trio rounded out the evening, with something for every palate— Ritual Chocolate Cake, Apricot lemon almond trifle, Black forest ice cream sandwiches and a macaroon assortment in rainbow colors that generated cries of delight.
“I’ve attended Savor the Summit a few times at other restaurants and it’s always been such a fun event, but putting it on this year made me realize how much work really goes into it behind the scenes, from how you rope off the area and decorate the space to who sits where,” explained tupelo partner Maggie Alvarez.
“It’s really incredible that so many restaurants participate. It’s almost like a parade or a block party, with people on the sidewalks waving and stopping in to say hi. It was so enjoyable to get to be part of that this year.”
Photography by Jamy Beecher