Featured Restaurant: Elements in Logan, Utah
When it comes to pizza, Logan, Utah might as well be the infamous Star Wars planet of Hoth. Not only does the college town rival the fictitious sci-fi orb in terms of climate, but Logan has placed itself so far away from the Pizza nexus of this country that Utah State University students are inclined to actually view the atrocious five dollar “Hot and Ready” pizzas at the local Little Caesar’s as an accurate representation of the Italian classic.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but you get the point.
Fortunately, Logan does have its share of saving graces when it comes to fine dining. Elements Restaurant is not only my favorite local institution, but it’s an oasis of contemporary American cuisine and fine dining set in an otherwise fast-food and fast casual culinary climate (not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of locations, but c’mon, a foodie needs some variety, right?). Providing a “refined and sophisticated” approach to a bevy of American classics, chef Dustin McKay has done a terrific job in shaping Elements into Cache Valley’s most affordable and one of its most enticing-foodie friendly destinations.
One can order all kinds of dishes at Elements, which boasts a menu featuring items ranging from a Sweet Cola Glazed Meatloaf to an amazing and hearty Chicken Bolognese pasta. Their list of appetizers and desserts is extensive and no-less impressive, but when I head to Elements I almost always order a personal Wood-fired Pizza. The ‘wood-fired pizzas’ at Elements are indeed wood-fired, and they display a thin, yet not-quite-cracker like crust that is both airy and buttery without taking on the distinctive taste or texture of a pastry crust. It’s an exquisite combination, and it lends itself well to a multitude of different topping applications. As far as the cooking method goes, the hardware cooks the pizza at a steady 500 degrees, with locally sourced apple-wood providing a terrific compliment to the naturally smoky application. Have a gander:
I first tried Elements last August, when I sampled their Italian Chicken Pizza and was blown away. A light yet flavorful combination of ricotta and mozzarella is bolstered by a tangy and sweet balsamic reduction. The pizza’s accompaniment of spinach and roasted onion gives the dish a savory-sweet combination which is only heightened by the salty, airy crust brimming with specks of authentic Parmesan cheese. Was it Pizza Bianco? Maybe not, but it was damn good, and may I say unexpected, given the circumstance. At only $8.00, it was one of the best values in food I have ever experienced. Ever since then I’ve been hooked, and on a recent visit Chef McKay gave me the rundown on just what makes his pizzas so good.
During my most recent visit I sampled the Cajun Chicken Pizza. At only $8.00, this is a fantastically priced entrée (the pizza, I would guess, is about 8 or 9 inches in diameter), especially considering all Elements orders are accompanied by a deluxe assortment of bread. The bread basket features an herby and savory foccacia, a light and moist sourdough, and an oily and salty crisp bread for which I am ashamed to say I have not the proper name for.
Bread aside, the Cajun Chicken Pizza features roasted peppers, pepper jack cheese, sweet onions, and roma tomatoes in addition to the chicken, which seemed to be a pulled combination of breast and a little bit of thigh meat. Among the peppers included are several jalapenos, which give the pizza a slight kick and welcomed element of heat. While I found the pizza to lack the boldness and depth of flavor of some of the other Elements pizzas I’ve had, I still must confess that it was one of the single best pizzas I have ever eaten. Yes, as in ever.
The onions were indeed sweet and well caramelized, while the pepper jack cheese oozed a spicy and creamy deliciousness which was two pronged. The cheese itself was liberally applied on top of the pizza toppings, but also permeated into the crust itself; giving the pie a distinctive and sinfully savory bite. The roma tomatoes were a good balance, while the chicken portions were hefty and still moist. My only complaint was that I did find one piece of chicken that still displayed a bone (definitely not good chewing) but otherwise I found the pizza to be very well executed. Like Elements’ other pizzas, there is no traditional ‘sauce’ on this item, although the amount of toppings and generous portions of cheese and tomato almost render this a moot point. A little more heat may have been in order, but if we are to understand pizza as a balance of crust and toppings than this pie surely delivered.
A final word about Elements is in order, and that is to compliment its excellent staff. My waiter, Trevor, remembered my guest and I from a previous trip we had taken six months ago, even mentioning how he remembered how I had inquired about the making of the Tortilla Soup. Not only was Trevor extremely helpful and pleasant to deal with, but I found him very “foodie-esque” and passionate about explaining the menu. He was knowledgeable and prompt, and in my view a tremendous asset to an already well regarded restaurant. The service here is impeccable.
I highly suggest Elements if you are ever in Logan. Not only are their wood-fired pizzas the best in northern Utah, but their menu rivals any in western culinary mecca like Salt Lake or Park City. An amazing restaurant with unbeatable prices, Elements offers innovative options ranging from sandwiches to pizzas to steaks to pastries, and is sure to please any wondering foodie. Just be sure to bring your coat. It is Hoth, after all.
- Recommendations: Gaufrette potato chips, Italian Chicken Woodfired Pizza, Kamikaze Salmon , Elements (KILLER) Burger.
- Food: 9.50/10
- Menu Variety: 8.50/10
- Atmosphere: Upscale Casual/Foodie Friendly
- Price: $$$-Expensive=$14.01 or more
- GrubGrade: 9.25/10 (Exceptional)
When in Hoth, er, Logan…
35 West 640 South Logan, UT 84321