Ogden's Jasoh! Prime & Pub bites off more than it can chew

Dining out • Odd preparation overshadows quality ingredients on overly ambitious menu.
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Ogden • Jasoh! Prime & Pub on Ogden's Historic 25th Street is — as the name suggests — two restaurants sharing a common kitchen. The pub side churns out lunch, happy-hour bites and dinner items. The other side, Prime, offers fine dining just a few hours each evening. The restaurant has five full menus, with new chef Kyle Lore overseeing them all.

The result is a busy kitchen where quality ingredients are sometimes sacrificed for the sake of operation.

My lunch experience at Jasoh! proved that it's a dicey practice to offer traditional items in nontraditional ways. A French dip sandwich, for example, should have tender beef, melty cheese and caramelized onions served between thick, crusty bread slices that can soak up the jus. Jasoh!'s version ($11) was made with the wood oven flatbread, but delivered little of the three cheeses promised and proved to be a rock-solid tortilla wrap that couldn't be moistened with a gallon of jus.

Similarly, the Hams-N-Cheeses ($13) came on focaccia bread that couldn't support the otherwise stellar ingredients including Creminelli's prosciutto cotto, Black Forest ham, fontina, cheddar and provolone. The Cuban sandwich ($11) was dry, masked by red onion and only partially saved by the luscious pickle.

Dinner surpassed the afternoon meal, but only to a limited extent. Again, ingredients are high quality— prime steaks, house-made pasta, local vegetables— but many are overshadowed by faulty preparation.

For example, the deliciously juicy lamb shank ($32) was swimming in a powerful cherry balsamic sauce that, while delicious on its own, overwhelmed everything else on the plate.

The halibut ($28) filet was hidden under a "nest" of tempura vegetables that morphed into a greasy, hard log on the plate. The fish portion was small for the price — but the miso and lemongrass gastrique signaled talent hidden behind this faulty presentation.

On a Friday night, the chef's featured soup was French onion ($5) made with stout beer. We received a bowl of barely edible brown, salty beef bouillon broth — à la Kitchen Bouquet — with no cheese, no stout flavor and stale and bricklike slices of bread.

Salads ran the gamut from lackluster to inspired. A pear and goat-cheese salad ($5) lacked goat cheese, although the sherry vinaigrette and crunchy pistachios were great over the mixed greens. The grilled romaine salad ($7) had too many bitter elements — radicchio, blood orange extra-virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar — that couldn't be balanced by the creamy burrata and sweet candied walnuts. Fortunately, the watermelon salad ($6) brought flavor to the table. The stacked tower of grilled watermelon sat alongside fresh greens and was topped with blackberry ginger Greek yogurt dressing and pepitas. The arugula salad ($7) arrived with roasted vegetables and a generous shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano — although the dressing that was ordered on the side was fully involved with the greens.

Other well-executed menu items included the calamari appetizer ($12), traditional battered and deep-fried rings and legs with a tangy aioli; and the pan-seared scallops ($28) with a parsnip puree, which had a fatty and slightly fruity finish, thanks to browned butter and moscato gastrique. Also a hit was the prime New York strip steak ($30) cooked to order with grilled potatoes and tomatoes.

As Chef Lore was once known for his fresh pasta line—Nu Nooz Pasta—I was most excited to order a noodle dish. Truffled pasta ($22) was toothsome and earthy with shaved asparagus and mushrooms. It was coated with black and white truffle oil and finished with a sprinkle of black truffle salt.

Jasoh! has an extensive wine, beer, cocktail and mocktail menu. Service is provided by young adults who, while helpful, are not particularly knowledgeable about food but have memorized the details of each menu description. This is most evident when your server brings the dessert tray and describes New York-style cheesecake, fruit cobblers and the chocolate boudino ($6.59), a chocolate molten cake finished with whipped cream.

With entrée prices in the $30 range for dinner on Jasoh!'s prime side — and pub prices on the other — I would expect a more successful final product. Perhaps less focus on the flavored extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar sauces and gastriques and more on highlighting the quality ingredients would allow Chef Lore to raise Ogden's dining options to new heights.

features@sltrib.com —


Jasoh! Prime & Pub

Food • Hhj

Mood • HH

Service • Hhj

Noise • b

This Ogden stalwart serves pub fare and fine dining options from its second-floor perch above historic 25th Street. The multiple menus mean the quality ingredients don't always get the treatment they deserve.

Location • 195 25th St., Suite 6, Ogden; 801-399-0088

Online • jasoh.com

Hours • Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11: 30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Appy Hour Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m. Closed Sundays.

Children's menu • Yes

Prices • $$-$$$

Liquor • Yes

Corkage • $12.99

Reservations • Yes

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • All major