After studying the cocktail menu in the waiting area for a few minutes, we’re taken to a bright corner table by the window. The drink selection is unusual, most of the combinations are interesting twists on traditional cocktails: the Kingston Mule, the Rye Negroni. The liquors are familiar — tequila, gin, rum — but are combined with egg whites or chocolate bitters. Our collective favorite is the Paper Plane, although none of them disappoint.
We start the meal with Truffled Mac and Cheese. The gooey mass is fragrant with sage and Gruyere, and four forks make it disappear far too quickly.
The common combination of asparagus and egg is similar to what you might find at any number of restaurants, but is perfectly executed.
The menu’s Asian flare is best showcased by sizzling pork belly tacos. They come topped with daikon, chili pickles and cilantro, a filling and tasty version of lettuce wraps.
We are tempted by one more appetizer, the potato salad. It’s no ordinary backyard BBQ fare. The array of colors and textures is surprisingly elegant. White and purple potatoes, slices of egg with vibrant yoke, topped with pieces of chives and bacon (see photo above).
After enjoying the selection of appetizers (and saving a few to try next time – mushroom toast with fontina, kale beet salad with marcona almonds) we manage to find room for burgers. One beef, one black bean. Both are on the hefty side and are served with a generous portion of fries – your choice of flavor- spicy togarashi (red chili pepper), garlic herb, or truffle herb. Fresh aioli is an added bonus. It’s a satisfying end to our meal, although I would have happily tried another round of drinks if it weren’t for an early yoga class the next morning!
You can always expect good music at Rye: it’s owned by the same team that runs next-door music venue Urban Lounge. If you’re lucky enough to be there during a show, you’ll even be treated to live video streaming of the concert!
Rye Diner and Drinks
239 South 500 East
Salt Lake City