- Alex Springer
The restaurants of Central Ninth continue to operate in a world without sidewalks and reliable parking, which really is a shame. Along with all this construction—which I'm sure we'll all appreciate once it's finished but right now oh my God—there has been an explosion of excellent local restaurants.
I know I've mentioned Dough Miner (945 S. 300 West, Ste. 101, 385-334-3389, dougminer.com) when I was extolling the virtues of meat-stuffed bread a few weeks back. But now that they've had a bit of time to get used to their new digs I thought it was time for them to get the full treatment. Also, I will take any opportunity I can get to write about Cornish Pasties and doughnuts.
Cornish Pasties earned their special place in my heart back in high school when I volunteered as a chaperone for an educational tour of England that my mom organized for her English classes. Though it was a free trip to the U.K. for me, I soon realized that the organization that booked our itinerary didn't give too much thought to what we would be eating during the trip.
I had always heard that British cuisine was a bit of a nightmare, and the organization reserved the very pubs and restaurants that created that stereotype for our displeasure. One day, however, we had the opportunity to go wherever we wanted for a quick lunch.
It was here, at a small kiosk in Covent Garden, that I tried my first pasty—and it was like someone threw me a life raft. So, I saved up my per diem and ate pasties at every meal with no regrets.
Fast forward several years into the future, and I've gotten reacquainted with this hand-held savory pie thanks to Dough Miner. I've been in a few times since this cozy eatery left its soft opening phase—it's got the cheerful bearings of a bakery with the convenient service model of a fast-casual restaurant—and it has yet to disappoint.
The classic pasty ($11.25) is the best place to start for a few different reasons. First, it's the one that maintains the mix of steak—both ribeye and sirloin here—and hearty root veggies like potatoes, carrots, turnips and onions, which dates all the way back to the dish's Cornish origins. It's all stuffed into a golden-brown pastry crust that adds its own buttery flavor and flaky texture to the whole party.
These savory, overstuffed meat pies have a lovely heft to them when you pick them up—I prefer eating them with both hands like a giant sandwich, but you can use a fork if you want to—and they warm you up from the inside out with that tender steak and brown gravy that is heavy on black pepper.
While the classic is always a safe bet, the crew at Dough Miner likes to get creative with their flavors on a regular basis. They've got a funeral potato pasty ($10.65) that captures our famous Utah dish with chopped potato, onions and a cheesy sauce that will make you feel like you're at a ward potluck. And during my last visit, I noticed they had a steak and blue cheese ($11.50) pasty which was intriguing.
I love the creamy, tangy vibes that blue cheese brings to a steak—but would it work in a pasty? As fabulous as it is, blue cheese can really get away from you if you don't have an even hand. After a few bites of steak goodness, the blue cheese started to show up in just the right measure—present enough to offer its unique, cheesy flavor, but balanced enough not to overwhelm everything else on board. It's got me confident to get adventurous with whatever other pasties they decide to add to the roster.
If you've got a bit of room left over after downing a pasty, Dough Miner's doughnuts ($3.50 or $19.95 for a half dozen) are there for a sweet contrast to all that savory. Like the pasties, the doughnuts here are gigantic and each one is sumptuously decorated. They boast delicious flavors like the Gold Digger, with its salted brown butter glaze, or the Strawberries and Cream, decked out with mascarpone cream and topped with a wee doughnut hole in the middle. Then you have the Gimme S'more, with chocolate glaze and crushed graham cracker that gets a toasty homemade marshmallow on top instead.
Dough Miner is all about the cake doughnut, and though I love their inventive flavors and presentation, I can't help but feel that the dough needs to be a touch lighter—it veers too close to bread territory for my taste. It's a small gripe, however, as these doughnuts are decadent through and through.
I can't really think of a better addition to the SLC food scene this fall—pasties and doughnuts are autumnal classics, and I can definitely see myself popping in here often for something soulful and filling to get me through the dreaded winter.