Art to Eat

Creative plating, ingredients make for food as impressive as sculpture. 

Take one look at the Juju roll—green apple, avocado, Hamachi, and smoked salt—at King Sushi downtown and try to tell us it’s not art. It’s absolutely beautiful. And then you taste it—not without trepidation because eating something so beautiful is surely a sin, right?—and it’s the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo combined. We won’t even get into the restaurant’s scallop shooter. For only $7 your tastebuds can experience what your eyes do when looking upon pop artist Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Orange), which costs upwards of $58 million: amused astonishment.

King Sushi, in a historic log cabin that started life as a blacksmith shop, isn’t the only new valley restaurant where food is art. Sometimes, this artful food even has its roots in the local vernacular.

At Gather, Chef Joel Hammond has created a hydroponic garden in the restaurant’s basement where he grows the microgreens and assorted other veggies used in satisfying dishes such as stuffed poblanos, jambalaya, and salmon. The downtown restaurant’s take on the latter—remember we’re talking about food as art so none of this is simple or plated in anything but the most creative way—might include searing it with cumin, and serving it with coconut lime jasmine rice, carrot ginger puree and heirloom carrots.

It’s the tequila selection at Hatch that is a work of art. As carefully curated as any show at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, “it’s my understanding it is the largest selection of tequilas in the state,” says managing partner and co-owner Betsy Campbell. “I haven’t been to every Wyoming town, but I think it’s a safe assumption.”

You don’t just go to Hatch for flights of tequilas. You can pick a variety and try a flight of that or pick one brand and sample several of their tequilas. Also, it features more contemporary Mexican food than anywhere else in town. The menu changes so much—Hatch focuses on what’s available locally—it’s difficult to pick a favorite, but generally the tacos are killer. Of course we recommend pairing them with a tequila flight or a signature cocktail.

King Sushi, 75 S. King St., open daily except Mondays 4:30-10 p.m., reservations not taken, (307) 264-1630,

Gather, 72 S. Glenwood St., open daily 5-10 p.m., (307) 264-1820,

Hatch, 120 W. Broadway, open daily 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., (307) 203-2780,