By Andy Soto, published January 4, 2010 on SacramentoPress.com
The time of year is here again for locals to venture out and experience some of our neighborhoods’ finest eateries. Being in the restaurant business for most of my life, I have had the privilege of eating in some of the greatest food cities: New York, Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco. The upcoming Dine Downtown week in Sacramento is an event that can satisfy even the most finicky foodie and rival any of those cities.
The list of 35 participating restaurants is quite impressive for Sacramento’s fifth annual Dine Downtown week, January 8 through 17.
The dining scene in Sacramento is up and coming, so there are certain places those of us on a strict budget will never be able to try, right? Wrong. Local restaurants have special menus for $30 per person for the event that include a three- or four-course meal. There are restaurants on the list I usually only drive by and wave at, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the artfully prepared culinary treasures local chefs have in store.
Biba will have a choice of a prawn, crab and seafood cake or beet salad for the first course. Second course options include housemade gnocchi with sweet Gorgonzola sauce or spaghetti with tomatoes, olives, capers and hot pepper flakes. Entrees will include oven-braised lamb shank with Chianti Classico wine and grilled polenta or grilled filet mignon wrapped in smoked Italian bacon.
If you are in the mood for an Irish pub, visit de Vere’s. It will be offer several soup and salad options for the first course, such as clam chowder or the Green Street Caesar salad. A platter of assorted cheeses, cured meats and fresh fruit will be another first-course offering. Entree options will be braised lamb shank, New York steak and lemon Dijon chicken, with brown bread and apple cobbler or a brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup for dessert.
If an Asian influence is what you crave, head over to Mikuni where the amount of food you get is almost ridiculous. You have a choice of two items for the first course including pork potstickers, crab-stuffed mushrooms and barbecue albacore tuna. Chicken or beef teriyaki, sesame chicken and udon noodle pasta with snow crab will be among entree choices. Diners also can choose from 24 sushi rolls.
River City Brewing Company will have appetizers of crispy eggplant Napoleon or garlic shrimp scampi. The second-course will feature grilled Sterling salmon, a Kobe steak or grilled, marinated pork tenderloin, among others. River City ends their meal with a choice between caramel gelato or vanilla creme brulee.
I have only barely scraped the surface of the 35 restaurants participating in Dine Downtown Week and what will be available to diners. This is a truly wonderful opportunity to get to know local restaurants and support the community.