Feeding that “Asian Stomach” in Park City, Utah

Asian restaurants curiously abound in Park City in a state where, according to the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, Asians comprise just 1.8 percent of the population. For a snow bunny or a local or this Sundance Film Festival scribe, the mere possibility of nothing but takeaways appears to run fearfully high. Thankfully, Park City has plenty of options ranging from Japanese to Vietnamese to Asian fusion food. Here are a few places to dine at…or not:

The good:

Oishi Sushi Bar & Grill
710 Main St., 435.640.2997
Oishi’s expertly prepared and crafted dishes will keep your stomach warm throughout hours of theater/lounge/ski resort hopping. The menu has a special section for tempura rolls; the scrumptious deep-fried Funki Roll is packed with tuna, salmon and avocado, and topped with two sauces. The lighter yet equally-filling Pokiman Roll wrapped in pink soy paper contains shrimp tempura, crab and lettuce.

Taste of Saigon
580 Main St., 435.647.0688
Tucked away on the second floor of a miniature mall, Taste of Saigon promises “authentic Vietnamese cuisine,” and it definitely does not disappoint. The egg rolls, while small, pack a lot of punch, and the key element of pho – the broth – is a winner. Considering all the bank-breaking options along Main Street, Taste of Saigon is a comparatively cheap, tasty and filling choice for lunch or dinner. An added bonus is that the warm and friendly staff commits your face to memory, which is no small feat during peak tourist season.

The ugly:

Bangkok Thai on Main
605 Main St.
$19.99 for chicken pad thai??? Good thing I asked to see the menu first…

China Panda Buffet
1776 Park Ave.
If you really must dine here, do so only if you a) are absolutely starving, b) cannot walk another step without sustenance, c) have no standards when it comes to instant gratification, d) don’t mind if spaghetti is used for lo mein and e) can stomach a stomachache after satisfying said starvation. (Alliteration aside, we do give props to the restaurant for hosting the Seventh Annual Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience for attendees of the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals.)

Yuki Arashi
586 Main St.
While the food is artfully presented, this restaurant stamps New York prices onto minimalist portions. Although a couple of reviews claim that these are meant to be “Asian tapas” dishes, a group of diners are bound for a mighty pricey evening out. The seared tuna atop of a bed arugula salad was well-made but not worth the $20, and a neighboring diner’s $12 gyoza appetizer looked like it came straight out of frozen family deluxe dumpling pack. Go to Oishi instead.

And worth the commute (31 miles, to be exact) to Salt Lake City:

18 W. Market St., 801.519.9595
There’s a reason that this is consistently rated one of Salt Lake City’s best restaurants. It’s the same reason that diners don’t mind waiting in line on a frigid Wednesday night to eat at master chef Takashi Gibo’s restaurant: the scrumptious Japanese food. If you have just one shot to eat here during a whirlwind business trip, sit at the sushi bar where you might be able to watch Gibo make his special custom-made rolls. (One of his fellow chefs says that Gibo has been working at his craft since the age of 13.) But sushi isn’t the only item on the menu, as entrees feature a generous plate of beef, Portobello mushrooms and green bean tempura – that’s one entrée, by the way – and desserts include coconut tapioca pudding. Add a very hip décor and a separate wine bar, and you’ll wonder if you’re still in Utah.