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WildFin makes a splash at Station Park in Farmington

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Dec 27, 2023
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Chef Jason Hammett and general manager Katharine Aronsohn of WildFin American Grill in Farmington.
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Grilled seasonal salmon at WildFin American Grill in Farmington.
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Miso black cod served over mushroom-grain risotto at WildFin American Grill in Farmington.
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Pappardelle pasta with andouille sausage and mushrooms, laced with truffle oil and heavy cream.
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Coconut cream pie at WildFin American Grill.
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Seafood chowder at WildFin American Grill.

WildFin American Grill brings seafood to Davis County, fresh from the coasts of the Pacific Northwest.

The restaurant opened Nov. 16 at Station Park in Farmington, its seventh location and second for Utah (Riverton was Utah’s first).

The menu goes beyond popular seafood mainstays like grilled salmon or fish and chips. There’s miso-glazed black cod, also known as Alaskan sablefish. Or a seared ahi salad, featuring wild line-caught yellowfish. And trout Dijon, using Idaho trout. And shrimp and grits, starring wild-caught Pacific shrimp.

The first WildFin restaurant opened in 2011 in Issaquah, Washington. As the name WildFin suggests, the restaurant focuses on wild-caught or responsibly raised seafood. It partners with the James Beard Foundation Smart Catch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium programs, which provide guidance on environmentally responsible seafood choices.

“Society is changing so that sustainability has become a bigger conversation — what we are doing for our planet and for each other,” said general manager Katharine Aronsohn. “That’s what keeps our regulars being our regulars. Not just the food, but our experience as well.”

“It’s something the clients think about, and it’s what we believe in, so it’s what we do,” said chef Jason Hammett. For customers who aren’t concerned about sustainability, “It’s a great product and it’s delicious, so it caters to both markets.”

The menu changes to take advantage of in-season seafood.

“We feature in-season fish that’s not over-fished,” said Hammett, noting that halibut is currently not on the menu. “Halibut will be back in the summer, but you need to give the fish population time to come back.”

There’s a rotating “Fresh Catch” special that features a seasonal fish for a limited time. In December, mahi-mahi was the offering.

Each WildFin restaurant uses ingredients produced in their particular location. In Farmington, the purveyors’ names are listed on the wall, such as Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, Fowers Fruit Ranch in Utah County, Oakdell Egg Farms in Cache Valley, Salt City Baking and sausages from Tooele Valley Meat. Many of the beverages are locally produced as well.

“A lot of company-owned restaurants commit to the bottom line,” said Hammett. “Here, we use fresh, local ingredients in creative ways for the diners.”

Side dishes change with the season as well. Currently, there are more sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Come spring and summer, there will be more asparagus, sweet corn or green beans.

Although the menu is fish-forward, there are many other non-seafood offerings, such as steak, pork chops, chicken, burgers, salads and pasta. Hammett’s personal favorite is pappardelle pasta with Tooele Valley andouille sausage and mushrooms, laced with truffle oil and heavy cream.

“It’s very hearty and has great flavor, and I’m a truffle fan,” he said.

He also favors the pink snapper, seared in a sherry vinaigrette and served with pickled onions.

Fish and chips are the top-selling menu item. They are made with hoki, a sustainable white fish.

Black cod is becoming more popular as customers become better acquainted with it. The mild-flavored fish is cooked in a miso-maple glaze and served with spinach and a risotto of chewy grains and shiitake mushrooms.

Street tacos are lunch favorites, featuring three kinds: Cajun-seasoned pollock, chipotle beef and pork belly.

The seafood chowder is another popular lunch option, especially as a combo with either a salad or sandwich. The creamy soup is loaded with salmon and white fish.

As for Aronsohn, “My favorite has been, and always will be, shrimp and grits,” she said.

The shrimp are wild-caught, not farmed. And the grits are flavored with chipotle and smoked gouda and feature Tooele Valley’s andouille sausage, topped with an Oakdell egg.

“It’s something that’s extremely unique to us,” she said. “I like the flavor — you’ve got to be a bit of a spice fan. When people from the South come in and say, ‘We’re letting you know, the grits hold up,’ I love it.”

The restaurant makes its own desserts, including the coconut cream pie – a chocolate-coated crust, coconut custard, coconut whipped cream, caramel rum sauce and macadamia nuts.

The seafood is flown to Las Vegas and then transported to the Riverton and Farmington locations in Utah.

“Wildfin started as a Northwest restaurant,” said Aronsohn. “We wanted to make sure we could move this far inland and still keep within our code of ethics and sustainability.”

She noted that there’s a growing demand for seafood, especially as the public becomes educated on its health benefits such as omega-3 fatty acids. But it can be tricky cooking it at home.

She also noted that these days, there are two types of dining — quick-and-easy or the sit-down dining that’s more of an experience.

WildFin, she says, is “the whole experience — the food, the hospitality and being taken care of from start to finish. If you want a memory, that’s what we do.”


WildFin American Grill

Location: 160 N.W. Promontory, Farmington

Contact: 385-531-5700 or https://www.wildfinamericangrill.com

Prices: Entrees $16.95 to $49

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday


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