After a stumbling start–mainly due to general inattention–Epic's Annex seems to have found its way.
From the start, fearless chef Robert Angellili presented a menu with the potential to match up with Epic's big beers–all 36 and counting. Duck fat fried almonds, fried chicken and potato fritters, mac and cheese with pancetta and fish and chips are some of the more traditional items on the menu, all robust and hearty. Despite the beet and goat cheese salad, cauliflower dip and the roasted veg and farro nod to the vegetarians, this is by necessity a hefty menu–it's easy for the food to be overwhelmed by the beer.
So unless you're a real Epic aficionado, be sure to call in an expert to help with the pairing process. I ordered blind one night, not realizing that the brew I ordered was made with coffee and chocolate–flavors that didn't do a thing for my chicken.
But the beer-braised shortrib can hold its own against anything, and weary as I am of the usual parboiled shortribs finished in the pan or oven, these genuinely slow-braised beauties were a delight.
Okay, if that shortrib doesn't make your mouth water, it's my camera and you have no imagination.
Properly cooked on my second visit, the lamb chops were kicked up with an unexpected salsa verde risotto and pork schnitzel was still sizzling when it reached the table.
Angellili pulls from all kinds of beer-friendly cuisines, from English fish and chips to Indian-influenced yogurt-marinated kitchen to Korean double-fried wings, so the Annex is a welcome change from the familiar German-heavy and American pub food usually offered in beer-centric eateries. Although there was plenty of red cabbage, as you can see.
There were also more delicate dishes–Utah trout over a polenta cake which was great with the wheat beer.
And, though sweets and beer can argue with each other, the spicy dark chocolate pot de crème and the incredible porter gingerbread are natural mates for brew. Or cofee. Or all by themselves. 1048 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-742-5490.