Grill brings fine Mexican food to Ogden
By Michelle Butler
January 29, 2009 | OGDEN -- The Sonora
Grill is a new restaurant on the Wasatch Front that
is unlike any of the tradional Mexican restaurants many
At 2310 Kiesel Ave., it's bringing
a different and healthier twist on the traditional Tex-Mex.
Started by Steve Ballard in 2007, the Sonora Grill was
created to be a unique dining experience with a refined
atmosphere, serving regional Mexican cuisine.
Ballard's desire to bring a fresh
and healthier face to Mexican food drove him and his
head chief, Chris Mortensen, to travel to the northern
region of Mexico, including the state of Sonora. In
order to learn the art behind real authentic Mexican
food, they toured the finer Mexican restaurants and
checked out many roadside taco stands.
The end result was a menu filled
with authentic and healthy food full of the richness
and flavor that Mexico has to offer.
"The Sonora Grill is great.
I lived in Mexico for two years and loved tacos al pastor.
The Sonora's tacos taste just like the ones I got at
the road side taco stands and I know that these ones
are safe to eat," said Zac Butler, a frequent visitor
to the Sonora Grill.
The Sonora is not the first restaurant
to realize the importance of a healthy menu. Many restaurants
nationwide are realizing that they have to change their
menu or lose their customers.
"We looked at what was going
on in the restaurant industry and looked at the trends,"
Caffe Buongiorno manager Brian Raslan told an Australian
"The trend was that people
were looking for healtier options. There used to be
no choice for healthy meals apart from salads. But now
between 30 and 40 per cent of our menu is healthy.
"Restaurants can cater for
these people without too much trouble and the customers
keep coming back for more."
The Hilton hotel chain has also included
a range of healthy options on its menus to cater to
Chef Simon Bryant, who works for
the Hilton, says menus are designed to cater for vegan,
vegetarian, gluten-free, low-GI and low-carbohydrate
"I think our menus cover all
the bases," he says. "We're aware of all the dietary
needs, but we are still a hotel, so we do jazz them
up a bit."
For the Sonora, the driving force
of a healthy and contemporary menu has produced dishes
of amazing color and taste. An average plate is filled
with colors. There's the vibrant green of the avocadoes,
the deep red from tomatoes and peppers and the contrast
from black beans. The plates are presented with food
arranged gourmet style, often with sauces drizzled to
give it a special touch.
The typically chips and salsa served
at most Mexican restaurants are different at the Sonora.
The chips are homemade and the size of small salad plates
served with tomatillo salsa, a homemade salsa made from
grilled green tomatillas.
A popular appetizer is the guacamole
that is made table side, often by the owner. It's here
that patrons watch as avocados are cut and mashed to
form guacamole. Jalapenos and onions are chopped right
there, leaving their smells in the air. Fresh tomatoes
are added and the end result is a mouth watering blend
of avocado and onion, with a splash of lime.
Tacos al pastor is another popular
entrée. Here the creativity of the chief is displayed
with four small tortillas piled high with slow cooked,
seasoned pork. Each taco is topped with a mixture of
grilled pineapple, avocado cream sauce and cilantro.
Without the deep fried taste many
Mexican restaurants have, it's easy to appreciate the
natural flavors of each meal.
And what meal would be complete without
dessert? The Sonora takes the average dessert and makes
it an amazing experience. From the banana split with
plantains and real homemade sauce to the Torre de Bunuelos:
crispy flour tortillas with fresh mangos and vanilla
whipped cream, it's easy to end a delicious meal on
the right foot.
With each plate made with fresh produce
and concentrating on healthy and lighter flavors, the
Sonora Grill is opening the door for a better dining
experience that will soon become a repeat experience
for all who try it.