We live in an age of instant gratification. Whether it has to do with the fast-paced lifestyle most people are accustomed to or just a sense of appreciation for immediate results, I’ll leave the reasoning to you, but the bottom line is that in most cases, faster is better.

Unfortunately, though, when it comes to dining, faster usually means sacrificing quality, nutrition, flavor or all of the above. Good food, and food that’s good for you, is not generally a readily available option.

That’s where the newly opened Steamroller Grill in American Fork comes in. My family and I met up with a couple friends to check it out for the dining review this week, and I have to say that you can color me impressed.

As some background, my husband and I have been working on making healthier eating choices lately, something dining out doesn’t usually coordinate well with. But after taking a peek at the online menu I was not only intrigued, but actually a little bit excited. And I’m not the kind of person to get overly excited about a restaurant.

Though it may sound like the Steamroller Grill is named after an impressively large and powerful piece of construction equipment, it’s actually the namesake of the clever device that uses basic principles of science to solve the instant gratification dining dilemma.

The Steamroller Grill (machine, not restaurant) is a patented machine designed to cook each and every meal to savory perfection at the simple touch of a button.

Yes, it’s really, really cool to watch, but it’s even more amazing to taste exactly what the machine is capable of.

After ordering at the Steamroller Grill (restaurant, not machine), you get to see the equipment in action. Careful measurements of each ingredient are placed inside a cylindrical container that is then rolled over an open flame until its contents are ready for eating.

According to the website for the restaurant, “It’s part of a system of recipes and cooking we’ve perfected through a little bit of art, a little bit of science and a ton of time in the test kitchen.”

Each meal comes with a base set of ingredients that can be personalized by adding different bases, sauces, spices and, of course, vegetables. Once cooked and combined, the results are fabulous.

Walking in, the options are in clear sight on a menu board over the cash register. The simple, yet modern industrial design of the restaurant not only accents the cooking style for the food, but helps direct your attention to what’s most important, you know, actually getting your food ordered.

To really allow you to be involved in the cooking process, the entire main kitchen and food preparation area is surrounded by glass in the center of the dining area, so you can watch each step of the process. Dinner and a show, if you will.

Ordering is simple, as the menu comes with just a few key options (rice bowls, pasta bowls, kids meals and desserts), and the food was surprisingly reasonably priced, with the least expensive entrees priced at $6.99 and the most expensive just $10.79.

It didn’t take long for each member of our group to settle on something excellent and head over a few steps to watch the steamrolling process take place.

One of the first dishes to make its way to our table was the Chili Lime Chicken, priced at $7.99 and featuring chicken, fresh veggies, Chili Lime Sauce (with just a hint of a kick) and a base of rice with a tortilla.

The tangy sauce almost came across as a light tomato salsa but without the heaviness salsa can add. All the toppings were finely chopped and blended together with the sauce to create a really refreshing flavor combination accented by the crispy strips of tortilla. We added a little Sriracha sauce to the mix and it made the flavor pop even more.

Also on the lighter, rice-based side of things was the Peanut Chicken Satay we ordered. Priced at $7.99 as well, the Satay came with a hearty layer of chicken and fresh veggies with Peanut Satay Sauce and a crushed peanut garnish.

Considering the meal came from a metal tube, we were surprised at how great the Thai flavoring was, marrying a sweetness in the peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables on a bed of perfectly cooked rice. Though the sweetness was a little dominant, we added the lettuce wraps for less than a dollar more and loved the fresh crunch it added, in essence making almost a kind of Thai taco.

Switching over to the pasta side of things, we also dove into the Beef Tenderloin with Bacon, priced at $10.79. We matched our meats with broccoli, and loved the artistic and tasty touch of asiago cheese on top.

The beef tenderloin sauce was rich and flavorful (but not overwhelming), and the only thing more we could hope for was a little bit more of it. It was seasoned perfectly and went well with the spiral noodles it topped. The noodles were cooked well, the bacon was firm and delicious, and the slightly al dente broccoli completed the dish wonderfully.

On first appearance, it seemed like the meal portions would be a little better suited to lunch, especially with the tenderloin, but after digging in, we were surprised at how filling the meal really was, and ended up taking home a decent helping of leftovers (which, we’d like to note, re-heated just as deliciously as the original meal).

Keeping it more simple on our next dish, we ordered the Pasta and Cheese with Bacon ($6.99), happily forking over an additional $1.49 to add a hearty helping of chicken.

The real cheese cream sauce was wonderful, and the bacon and chicken added a punch of flavor to every bite, making for a grown-up version of macaroni and cheese our little one seemed to like even better than her toned-down children’s version. She had the Kids Pasta and Cheese (same recipe, minus the meats and using smaller rotini noodles) that came in a really hearty portion for just $3.99.

We topped it all off with the Cinnamon Apple and Pumpkin Spice desserts, essentially decadent toppings draped over a base of French Vanilla ice cream with a thin ginger snap cookie for accent. Both flavors were well developed, and the artistic presentation made it even better.

Though we all loved the food, the service made it even better. Everyone we encountered was good-natured, willing to help and so accommodating of customizations to the food. Our meal came quickly, it was done correctly, and the people delivering it? Top notch.

The Steamroller Grill is pretty open about boasting when it comes to being fast, fresh and flavorful, and after dining there, I’d have to say I agree. You can order to your taste, it’s reasonably priced, and it’s done quickly as you watch. If you’re looking to a solution for the instant gratification dilemma, definitely give it a try.

Kari Kenner is the digital features editor at the Daily Herald. Contact her at (801) 344-2542, kkenner@heraldextra.com and on Twitter: @karijmk

Kari Kenner manages and creates digital features and niche content for the Daily Herald.

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