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Restaurant Happenings - September 2005

Desert Bistro


Desert Bistro -
Delicacies in the Desert

Desert Bistro

The Desert Bistro truly is a “delicacy” in the desert, through the tasteful creations of owners Karl and Michelle Kelley. This past March the Desert Bistro opened in the historic Old Ranch House located just north of Moab on Highway 191. The historic ranch house itself draws in customers because of its beauty and idyllic surroundings. The building was completed in 1896 by Moab pioneers Arthur and Sena Taylor, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Karl explained that the response has been very positive since moving from downtown Moab. The Bistro offers both outdoor and indoor seating creating a very relaxing ambiance after a day of adventure in the red rocks.

The Desert Bistro entrées are a cut above other fine dining restaurants with Chef Karl’s unique and flavorful creations. All of the food is made from scratch in the Bistro’s kitchen including the pastas. Karl has spent nearly his whole life cooking, and it has been a life long dream of Karl and Michelle to own their own restaurant. Before opening the Desert Bistro in Moab four years ago, Karl was a chef at the Alta Peruvian and Michelle ran the lodge’s bar and catering services.


Desert Bistro

Pepper Crusted Scallops
with Lemon Chipotle Beurre Blanc

Soak 5 Peppercorn Blend for 48 hours, drain and dry.
Coarse grind peppercorns in a coffee grinder.

Put crust in pie pan, dip the top of the scallops
on one side.

In a hot sauté pan with canola oil, sear crust side first and then other side.

Next, throw in a few chopped shallots
and brown them.

De-glaze w/ ½ cup white wine
Add 2 teaspoons whole butter
Add 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Add 1 chipotle pepper
Reduce the volume by ¼
Add a pinch of fresh cut cilantro
Garnish with fresh chives

The a la carte menu is well rounded: beef, lamb, pork, elk, chicken, fish and pasta are supplemented by daily specials. Karl specializes in sauces, and some may take several days to make - in order to arrive at the desired taste and aroma. He is also a master at preparing wild game meats, such as elk and duck. One of the specials, the Chilean sea bass encrusted in pinon nuts and Japanese breadcrumbs, served in a blend of wild rice accented with a slice of mango, is an excellent entrée.

The menu also offers four or five appetizers. Several salads and a variety of homemade desserts round out the offerings. There is also a fine selection of wine and imported beers.

Karl and Michelle readily admit that much of their success has come from having great, loyal employees. The staff is very courteous and knowledgeable. Karl also likes to visit each table, time permitting, allowing the visitor to ask the chef questions directly!

The wonderful personality of the owners and staff help bistro stand out among fine dining restaurants. Customers can always expect appealing entrées, tasteful décor, and great service in a historic building. Both Karl and Michelle love the outdoors and enjoy hearing customer’s adventurous stories while enjoying the delicacies of the Desert Bistro.

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