Kimball Junction is beginning to rival Main Street for its plentiful dining destinations and temptations. Old standbys such as Szechwan Chinese Kitchen, Park City Pizza Co., Loco Lizard and Legers were joined a few years ago by newer Redstone and Newpark eateries such as Red Rock Junction, Ghidotti’s, Sushi Blue, Maxwell’s, Myrtle Rose and others. And even more recently, restaurants like Hearth and Hill, Kuchu Shabu, 11Hauz and Vessel Kitchen have joined the fray.
One of the most appealing newish Kimball Junction dining spots, in my opinion, is Bartolo’s, 1241 Center Dr, Ste. L100, 435.604.0608, bartolospc.com. This Italian-inspired restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and is named for its owners, Alex and Rhia Bartolo, who are husband and wife.
Originally from Brazil, Alex Bartolo was previously a chef at The Bridge Café & Grill, where he worked with fellow Brazilian emigrants Emerson Oliveira and Fabio Ferreira. Oliveira still has The Bridge and Ferreira operates The Spur Bar and Grill, while Bartolo is pleasing customers at his namesake restaurant with dishes ranging from Smoked Trout Benedict and Avocado Toast, to Lamb Campanelli and spicy Spaghetti Amatriciana.
Bartolo’s is a laid back, friendly dining spot, with an inviting, spacious interior. During breakfast service, it’s hard to resist the Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake with lemon curd, sliced almonds and maple syrup. Or, for a savory option, the zucchini and squash Veggie Waffle with kale herb salad, quinoa, poached egg and hollandaise hits the mark.
Lunch and dinner menus at Bartolo’s are similar, but with more choices available during dinnertime. At either meal, a good place to start is by sharing an order of Beet Burrata with marinated beets, silky burrata cheese, arugula, focaccia, toasted pistachios and basil oil. The crispy Pork Belly Puttanesca is another first-rate appetizer, with its tangy Puttanesca sauce of black olives, capers, garlic, anchovies, parsley and tomatoes. Yet another appetizer with loads of appeal is the Ricotta Toast with blueberry balsamic, local honey, nuts and seeds.
For a main dish, carnivores will love the Picanha Top Sirloin. Picanha is the most sought-after cut of beef in Brazil and at Bartolo’s it’s cooked to perfection and served with grilled asparagus, spuds and a zippy chimichurri sauce. I also like the fried pork shop’s piccata-style treatment; it’s pounded flat, breaded and fried, and served with a piccata sauce of lemon, parsley, brown butter and capers, and a mélange alongside grilled radicchio, spaghetti squash and baby kale with citrus vinaigrette.
All the pastas at Bartolo’s are made by hand, in-house, including their gluten-free pasta. The Pesto Fusilli, for example, is excellent fresh gluten-free pasta with pesto made from arugula, kale, pine nuts, parmesan and Fresno chilies.
If there’s a single dish not to miss at Bartolo’s, I’d say it is the Shrimp Spaghetti. This is a divine dish of al dente homemade spaghetti cooked to perfection and tossed with a light-tasting but spicy sauce of fresh tomatoes, arugula, garlic, lemon zest and pepperoncini, the latter of which gives the sauce a bit of heat. Atop that perfect pasta is a generous handful of plump, juicy and tender shrimp with shredded parmesan. Simply put, this is sensational spaghetti.
In addition to cappuccinos, lattes, house-made lemonade, Italian sodas and such, there’s also beer and wine available at Bartolo’s. The kids aren’t overlooked, either, with freshly made kids’ pasta choices including rigatoni, fettuccine, campanelli, spaghetti, or gluten-free fusilli, with sauce options that include olive oil, butter, marinara and Bolognese. Kids can also add shredded chicken, broccolini (would any kid really do that?) meatballs or chicken tenders to their pasta selection.
And for dessert, the Tiramisu Trifle is terrific, with coffee cream, chocolate lady fingers and brandy mascarpone. Free underground parking at the nearby BestBuy garage is a bonus, making Bartolo’s an easy-in/easy-out Kimball Junction dining destination.