Hotel Utah Saloon
500 4th St San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 546-630
I have seen the Utah a million times as it’s directly off the 101N freeway Fourth Street exit. But I’ve never gone into it. That changed when I met a regular from the Utah and we started talking about the menu and the wonderful mac and cheese. He warned me though that the dish will vary on who is in the kitchen that day.
Luckily on my visit another regular said that I was in luck and the “good chef” was on duty! So I ordered the mac and cheese with bacon and a hot dog. I know, I know, “AGH HOT DOGS ARE GROSSS” some of you may say. But there is just something too nostalgic about mac and cheese with cut up weiners for me to swear it off – my inner child wins this one.
This picture makes the portion size look small but it’s not. There’s a whole lot of mac and cheese in that cup. The basic mac and cheese is $9 and comes with a side salad. My order came out to be $12 but I also ordered a big club soda. So I’m not sure what the up charge for the add ons is. I’m assuming the club soda was $2, so the hot dogs and bacon were $1 extra; which is a pretty good deal considering how much they put in.
I liked the extra touch the put on the hot dogs by frying them up to create some charred bits around the edges. So good.
The noodles were hefty and perfectly cooked to a hair over al dente. They had a firm but not hard center. The noodles needed the structure to hold up to the cheese sauce.
The sauce was delightful! Creamy, fully loaded with different cheeses, and lots of it covering the noodles and the meats. This is probably one of the first times I could taste and really see the role different cheeses played in the sauce. They use provolone, cheddar, and some Parmigiano-Reggiano. The sauce had a depth of flavor that was really amazing. The provolone gave the sauce an amazing stringing ability (sorry for the blurriness of the picture below, I was doing this one handed and dying to dig in).
The side salad wasn’t anything special and I would have like some more crunch to it. But it’s a nice touch and the acidity of the dressing gave my palate a needed break from the richness of the cream sauce.
This is an excellent mac & cheese and I would definitely come back for it. This is very high on the top of my list and probably is the finest example of a basic mac and cheese that I have tried so far. Oh and as an added bonus, the prices include sales tax; so what you see is what you get! That kind of sums up the Utah in a nutshell.
~ cheese power, it is strong ~