Going Local: Current Fish and Oyster Bar

Long before this building became Current, it was a Ford service center. Photo credit: currentfishandoyster.com
Long before this building became Current, it was a Ford service center. Photo credit: currentfishandoyster.com

Even though it is adjacent to a large body of salt water, Salt Lake City is not known as the seafood capital of the Intermountain West. The Great Salt Lake is not a hospitable place for life, edible or otherwise, nor is it closely connected to any oceans or seas. Fortunately, thanks to modern marvels of transportation logistics, it is possible to get fresh seafood here quickly as it was just caught off the coast, and it’s definitely less than a plane ticket to a port city plus the restaurant tab.

This ability to move food inland is evinced in the rise of Salt Lake’s seafood restaurant scene. For years, it was dominated by a few key players, but has expanded to include newcomers. One of these new places is Current, a self-proclaimed fish and oyster bar that is a thoroughly modern restaurant near the heart of downtown.

Situated in an old brick building, Current doesn’t stick out like some of the business district skyscrapers or even the imposing edifices of Ruth’s Chris and the Market Street Grill. However, it makes the place that much more of a gem. The repurposed auto shop has a vastness to its interior, with the original high structure ceilings, big beams, and old-fashioned metal supports, beams, and cross-members. It feels modern, old-fashioned, high-end, and industrial all at the same time, accentuated with unique light fixtures, cozy booths, and large open tables which also include cushioned bench seating.

A combination of contrasts which works wonders. Note the stairs going up to the balcony seating! Photo credit: slmag.com
A combination of contrasts which works wonders. Note the stairs going up to the balcony seating! Photo credit: slmag.com

Current has a feel embodied by a lot of start-up and trendy restaurants, but at the same time it feels more refined and established. Much of this has to do with the menu, which skews towards fine dining but also has some traditional and more rustic favorites. The proprietors know that nothing beats a bowl of fresh clam chowder on a cold night, for example. They also use a local bakery for their bread, and menu items can change based on the season. One could say that it helps them stay current…which, pun not necessarily intended, is true.

The dinner menu (there are five different menus) has a tilt towards seafood as well, which is fitting for the atmosphere and focus of the restaurant. Current serves salmon, crab, lobster, cod, mussels, oysters, scallops, fish stew, fish and chips, calamari, octopus, and prawns. But this is the United States, and we like our proteins, and Current delivers. Not only is there a burger with a seafood and Utah twist (hint: fry sauce), but there are also some dishes which are not as common in the culinary world of Utah. At the top of that list is the Snake River Zabuton, an American Kobe cut of steak from the top of the chuck which resembles a Japanese sitting cushion in terms of shape. And yes, it does come straight from Boise. There are also the Kumamoto Oysters which are sourced directly from the port of Seattle.

This is no longer a Ford dealership, but keeping remnants of the past brings the building into the present day. Photo credit: femalefoodie.com
This is no longer a Ford dealership, but keeping remnants of the past brings the building into the present day. Photo credit: femalefoodie.com

These reasons and more have already led Current to shine locally. It has been around only since 2015 and has already garnered local culinary awards, including City Weekly’s Best Seafood of 2017. Local praise is do or die for a business here in Utah, and on the strength of its formative years, Current is in a great spot. We at VIP Limousine would like to add our approval to this establishment.

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