This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The new Black Sheep at Epic Brewing represents the coming together of two local powerhouse small businesses Black Sheep, which has been wowing Provo diners for years, and Epic Brewing, which has won accolades for its high-point craft beers.
When Epic Brewing announced the opening of The Annex in 2013 in the newly redeveloping Sugar House neighborhood at 2100 South and Highland Drive, beer drinkers and foodies overflowed with excitement. But what followed was a travesty of epic proportions chefs came and went in rapid succession, and with each came a revision of the menu that left diners confused and dismayed. It was time for a new idea for The Annex.
Enter Bleu and Oak Adams, along with executive chef Mark Daniel Mason of the Black Sheep Group, who have not-so-quietly been building a reputation of creative restaurants dishing out dynamic cuisine in Provo and Salt Lake. And so, Black Sheep at Epic Brewing Sugar House came to be in late 2016.
If you are a fan of the original Black Sheep Café in downtown Provo, the menu at Black Sheep at Epic Brewing will be familiar enough. Fusing American Indian, Mexican, Southwestern and other genres in creative ways, the Salt Lake location also serves Epic Brewing's beers on tap and by the bottle in addition to wine and spirits.
Guests who are primarily looking to enjoy an Epic beer can now also nosh on sharable dishes like the Black Sheep Nachos with smoky beef brisket ($16) piled with cheese, salsa ranchera, sour cream, radishes and jalapeños or the Bleu Fire Shrimp ($11) highlighting grilled shrimp on top of creamy blue corn cheddar grits with a flourish of chipotle-butter sauce and a side of fresh sweet corn pico de gallo.
Diners interested in a more filling weekend brunch, lunch or dinner won't be disappointed, either.
During Sunday brunch, get your fill of huevos rancheros ($13), brisket hash ($13), green chile biscuits and gravy ($10) featuring a sausage and fennel gravy and green chile cheese sauce, or pumpkin French toast ($12).
High-end burgers made of either beef or bison ($16) are topped with bleu cheese and a Cabernet Sauvingnon reduction sauce (the Bleu Burger), herb-garlic goat cheese and portobello mushrooms (the Goat Burger) and fire-roasted Anaheim chiles (the Sheep Burger).
But adventurous guests will be well-served to venture further into the menu for green chile stew ($13) with a side of steaming frybread ($4). Heavily flavored with fire-roasted chile and pork braised in Black Sheep's signature green chile sauce, the stew is a bit more souplike in consistency but filled with root vegetables and topped with a heaping helping of sweet corn pico de gallo for a fresh finish.
Hog jowl tacos ($18) are brushed with maple-bay barbecue sauce and topped with a tangy pickled jicama slaw in blue corn tortillas served alongside cilantro-lime rice and Black Sheep pinto beans ($4 à la carte).
Another not-to-miss entree is the beef brisket Navajo taco, reflecting on the heritage of owner Bleu Adams, who explains, "Perceptions may vary, but frybread is one of my favorite pan-native American dishes. Some say that this beautifully delicate piece of fried dough is a symbol of oppression. For me, it speaks to the perseverance and ingenuity of native peoples, fusing food cultures much like the beignets of the South (French/Creole) or even shina soba (ramen, China/Japan)." Loaded on frybread, these tacos are piled high with smoked beef brisket, black-bean chili and fresh green onions and radishes.
Taking that same creativity and applying it to a traditional Mexican dish posole Chef Mason fashioned the posole ramen that is delivered with chopsticks and at first glance closely resembles Japanese ramen. You'll see ramen noodles and an egg in addition to pork belly that was, sadly, far too overcooked to enjoy. But one sip of the smoky red chile broth will remind you that this is unlike any ramen you've tried before, and a bite of masa from the cornhusk brings diners back to the Southwest instantly.
After a filling meal complemented by Epic's vast selection of beers, you might be tempted to skip dessert. This would be a mistake. A housemade prickly pear cheesecake ($6) with a raspberry coulis and fresh berries is one option, but the star dessert is definitely the gorgeously plated Black Sheep Carrot Cake ($8) paired with Epic's Big Bad Baptista, which Mason says "was born to marry with that carrot cake." He should know, as he soaks the raisins in the beer in addition to vanilla and then tops the spiced cake with a whipped cream and cream cheese frosting.
Although our servers were attentive throughout my visits, the pace of the kitchen seemed to lean toward the slow side each meal. Whether this is a result of the complexity of the dishes or a function of a more laid-back "bar scene" environment remains to be seen but the creative Southwestern Native fusion food that eventually appears is worth the wait.
Heather L. King also writes for http://www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches
Black Sheep at Epic Brewing
Food • HHHhj
Mood • HHH
Service • HHhj
Noise • bb
Black Sheep at Epic Brewing dishes up creative and flavorful American Indian and Southwestern cuisine alongside Epic Brewing beers at this trendy, new Sugar House location once home to The Annex.
Location • 1048 E. 2100 South No. 110, Salt Lake City; 801-742-5490
Online • http://www.blacksheepslc.com
Hours • Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Children's menu • No
Prices • $-$$
Liquor • Yes
Corkage • $10
Reservations • Yes
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • No
Credit cards • Yes