Spoons Bistro

Published in Chef Notes, Jackson Hole News & Guide, July 13, 2011
Shared by Chef /Owner Travis Brittingham
Spoons Bistro


Spaghetti of Zucchini

One Serving

12 oz         zucchini

2 cloves garlic

1 T sun-dried tomato oil

¼ oz fresh basil

2 oz         parmesan

2 garlic toasts (1/8 baguette, 1 T garlic oil)

Trim the zucchini on both ends, cut where the stem stops and shave the blossom end. Julienne the zucchini on a mandolin or cut by hand. Slice the garlic paper thin, starting from the tip and discarding the root. Core the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop roughly. Julienne the basil.

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down. Add the garlic and sweat for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook until al dente. Add the basil and toss to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve in a warmed bowl topped with shaved parmesan and garlic toasts on the side.

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The lush Austrian Copper rose bush blooming adjacent to our parking place put me in a festive mood even before I stepped inside the door of Spoons Bistro in Victor. It’s a welcoming dining room, and yet on a perfect summer night we chose the front deck for our seating. The wafting aroma of Three Little Pigs from the smoker nearby certainly hypnotized us. Too bad those piggies wouldn’t be ready until the next day.

Chef Travis Brittingham’s note on the menu states, “I’m sorry to say that the pigs have gone to a design conference and will be returning soon.” That shows just a little bit about his level of spunk. This ambitious young chef is driven toward perfection. He’s going to work hard and have fun inventing both himself and some delicious food every step of the way. The pigs, as described on the menu could make anyone’s mouth water: Confit pork belly, pulled pork, SofaKingGood BBQ Sauce™ & house coleslaw with 460° bacon bread.

Brittingham prides himself on being self-taught. A stint in the army that took him from his Delaware roots to Arlington, Virginia proved influential. As he told me, “I wouldn’t have passed up that opportunity. It gave me my attention to detail. Maybe 99% of the people won’t notice. It’s that one person that counts. I’m going to put in the effort because someone will notice.”

Early work experiences include a job as dishwasher. Working in an orchard and farm taught Brittingham about many aspects of planting and harvesting of foods. His culinary jobs continued after he and a buddy decided to come to Jackson Hole for a winter in 1999.

Brittingham met his wife Nicole one winter when they both worked at the Mangy Moose.  He worked a few obligatory seasons at the Cadillac, Alpenhof and Rendezvous Bistro. In 2003 he was asked to do some private catering for a few weeks. That led to a longer term position and a seasonal migration to Florida. Private clients kept him busy until 2009.

By that summer the Brittinghams were living in Idaho and looking for their own space. When Bill Boney’s sous chef injured himself and was out of commission, Brittingham filled that spot as he kept searching. He and his wife, Nicole, opened Spoons in June last year.

In the summer they serve dinners every night plus a booth at Music on Main every Thursday, special events and catering. Off seasons they slow it down to Thursday through Sunday. Spoons provides lunches for the local Rotary and the fire department sometimes. Nicole, in addition to running the front of the house has a full time job. They have a son who is 10 ½ months old. Teton Bean Cafe utilizes the space as a coffee shop and bakery during the morning hours.

Spoons menu is filled with treasures. The food is innovative. Brittingham shared, “If you aren’t staying current as a chef, you might as well pack up your knives and go home.”

We started with an acclaimed favorite, spicy tuna tartar. The striking tower of ahi tuna and avocado accompanied by a plating of wasabi aioli with pickled ginger and cucumber onion garnish was delectable. The Roman artichokes were, as stated, very lightly breaded. The delicate morsels augmented by garlic and chipotle aioli.

The  Pacific Northwest oysters are amenable to multiple purposes. We enjoyed them as an appetizer. They also appear in sliders, a Po’boy sandwich and a dinner plate. I found their size and flavor more to my liking than the larger Gulf variety.

From the salads we chose the roasted duo of beets, both red and chioggia, pine nuts, herbed goat cheese foam, balsamic reduction and Potter’s greens with truffle herb vinaigrette. A fellow diner raved about this salad. A Cobb salad, a Caesar and a spring citrus salad will soon be joined by a summer melon salad.

Sandwich selections include a killer BLT, an Angus beef burger, turkey, bacon and avocado, a unique grilled cheese, plus a veggie burger of spicy black beans. I’ll get there but not this time.

The 2 AM Thanksgiving dinner entree was calling me with all the trimmings you might imagine and 460° stuffing bread. T Day is the best meal of the year. I never understand why we don’t do it more often. I’ve heard the trout with oven roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed greens and mushroom sherry sauce is stellar. It, too, must wait. We shared the veal piccata and the grilled tuna Nicoise to our delight. Both were bright and summery dishes to please the palette.

I’m sure the grilled flank steak with chimichurri, onion rings and asparagus or seared chicken breast with mashed potatoes, English pea and lettuce fricassee and garlic herb sauce would be equally pleasing. Another visit looms in my mind.

Aiming to be part of community, Spoons Bistro utilizes neighbors as purveyors. 460° breads, Potter’s gardens, the Bread Basket and the new Persephone Bakery all contribute to the offerings. The chef is correct. He does have a special touch.

On Friday July 15th Outstanding in the Field brings the celebratory feast of the summer to the Mead Ranch with chef Richie Billingham presiding and produce from our extraordinary local growers. Come if you can!


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