Chowdowntown is the latest cuisine-based carnival headed up by the Valley’s ringmaster, Jolene Mannina. Her first was Sloppi Jo’s food truck, then came the ongoing Saturday Night Truck Stop with its infamous Back-of-House Brawls. And now, with partner Josh Clark, she’s launched Downtown pop-up dinners under the banner Chowdowntown.
The April 4 dinner, served in an Ogden apartment (provided by Zappos), was the second event—the first occurring last month at nearby Le Thai. The hotly anticipated second dinner sold out in under five minutes, and the 30 attendees seated in the makeshift dining room were not disappointed.
The evening was methodically paced; it’s undoubtedly tricky to serve that many five-course meals in a residential setting. Clark persevered in the kitchen, while Mannina expertly attended to the room. Truthfully, the waits were hardly noticed as liquor was shared among tablemates at the BYOB event, stirring dynamic conversations on topics ranging from Brady Bunch families to IKEA deliveries.
The thrill of the evening? Undoubtedly course two—a layered offering of sunchoke puree, foie gras, riesling gelee and powdered toast served in a small rocks glass. José Andrés would be proud. The panna cotta dessert course with hibiscus, strawberries and crushed pistachio was also memorable, although even the weakest of courses succeeded.
If the dishes served were any indication of what to expect from their future Downtown brick-and-mortar location, Mannina and Clark have an absolute hit on their hands. Let’s just hope the circus keeps comin’ around!