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Restaurant Happenings - September 2006

Buck’s Grill House -
Inspired Southwestern Cuisine

Buck’s Grill House
1393 N. Highway 191
(just north of town)
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-5201.

For a true southwestern culinary experience, Buck’s Grill House is the place to be!

Tim BuckinghamOwner Tim Buckingham’s impressive vitae as both chef and restaurateur offers diners at his restaurant the chance to sample authentic southwestern dishes tailored to refined palates.

A native of Moab, Buckingham grew up during the uranium boom, but found himself drawn to a very different career path. He quickly realized that he wanted to turn his interest in cooking into more than a hobby and moved to Santa Barbara to attend a two-year culinary program.

California turned out to be a good choice of locale in which to embark on his kitchen pursuits. Buckingham worked under various experienced chefs during a revolutionary time for California cooking, and he found himself “learning so much more after school had ended.” His experience includes working at the first-class San Ysidro Ranch, where he cooked for celebrities such as Robert Mitchum, Bette Davis and Mick Jagger.

Buck's Grill HouseHe obviously proved his mettle and became the executive chef at a reputable California-style bistro, The Wine Cask. Under this guise, he earned the distinguished honor of being rated by The Food and Wine Companion as one of the top ten “New American Star Chefs,” which praised his dishes as, “delicately prepared, yet flavors are robust.”

Eager to return to his hometown to raise his son in the spectacular outdoors he’d grown up enjoying, Buckingham returned to Moab in 1991, just as the area was becoming discovered as a vacation destination. He opened The Center Cafe, a highly rated restaurant specializing in haute cuisine which still exists today under new chefs and owners. Although maintaining such an elegant restaurant in a town still pulling out of an economic slump was touch-and-go at first, The Center Cafe eventually caught on.

By 1995, Buckingham was eager to start a new endeavor with what he describes as “a more widespread appeal.” He sold The Center Cafe and took the opportunity of buying Buck’s current location, which was property settled in 1898 as part of a ranch. He envisioned Buck’s Grill House as fine dining western-style, hence the restaurant’s motto “Feed Your Spirit.” Buckingham describes his place as “keeping the quality of the dining high but offering it at a more medium price range,” which sums up Buck’s appeal.

Buck's Grill HouseBuck’s opened in the spring of 1996 and has been providing dressed-up, homemade southwestern cuisine ever since. Everything, from the bread to the sauces, is made from scratch in Buckingham’s kitchen.
As a chef, Buckingham likes to take traditional fare and put a twist to it that enlivens it without engulfing the original appeal of the dish. For example, his Elk Stew is slow cooked with an elegant blend of game meat and root vegetables and topped with horseradish cream. His famous Buffalo Meatloaf is topped with black onion gravy and takes meatloaf to a new dimension. The addition of barbeque butter on the cowboy pork chop adds a richness of flavor to the dish.

Buckingham has also kept his menu interesting for non-meat eaters. He creates excitement in his vegetarian dishes the same way as he does with the meat ones, by adding unexpected but inviting ingredients to his recipes. A refreshing cilantro pesto wakes up his Southwest Pasta dish of linguini tossed with grilled vegetables. His Polenta Vegetable Lasagna is given depth with a layer of zucchini, crimini mushrooms and red peppers.

Even the desserts at Buck’s exhibit this fine tuning of Buckingham’s. The offerings include Port Flan and Bourbon Pecan Pie, tempting both for their decadence and enticing marriage of flavors.
For inspired Southwestern Cuisine, there is truly no place like Buck’s Grill House.

Buck’s Grill House is located at 1393 N. Highway 191 (just north of town) and can be reached at (435) 259-5201. Dinner is served nightly starting at 5:30, reservations accepted and Take-Out is available.
Enjoy secluded patio dining outdoors at Buck’s for an even better dining experience!


Buck’s Grill House

Buck’s BBQ Cowboy Butter

½ lb. bacon - diced
1 small onion - diced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
½ C molasses
½ C Worcestershire sauce
2 TBS Liquid Smoke
2 TBS Tabasco
1 lb. butter - room temperature

Sauté bacon until browned. Add onion and sauté until soft. Add remaining ingredients except butter. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in food processor while still hot. Add butter a little at a time until blended. Do not over blend.

Great on top of grilled steak or pork chops!

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