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Daily Dining News: Mustard Seed in Davis, Midtown's Garlic Shack Reviewed

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It’s not often that I eat at a restaurant the same week that it gets reviewed in the Bee. This week, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson takes a look at Mustard Seed in Davis. First, his thoughts:

The Mustard Seed has endured and thrived since it opened in 1984. People love the patio in summer and spring, and they ask for tables inside near the fireplace when the weather turns wintry.

The restaurant has always showcased top- quality ingredients with a straightforward approach to cooking, and a menu that changes with the seasons.

Mustard Seed tends to fall short in what it does with those ingredients. It's straightforward to a fault – not fun enough, not cheeky enough and not interesting enough to make us love it – or even remember it.

Read Blair Anthony Robertson’s entire review in the Sac Bee.

I ate there on Wednesday evening to celebrate a friend's birthday. Between the four of us, we ordered the macadamia nut crusted Alaskan halibut, the cornmeal dusted day boat scallops, pork chops and the duck breast.

It was my first visit to the restaurant, and I thought the food was fabulous. They’ve been there for almost 3 decades, and they have their formula down.

The Alaskan halibut was amazing. Literally, I sampled some and thought it was the best white fish I had eaten since a meal at Blue Ginger in Boston. It was flaky and moist, and it was served on a bed of black forbidden rice which itself was magnificent.

Blair’s take on the halibut: “Macadamia-crusted halibut with black rice that turned out a tad too dry and a featured crust that wasn't crusty enough?”

I ordered the cornmeal dusted day boat scallops. Again, I thought it was executed perfectly. It’s hard to cook scallops. Too little time, and they’re raw in the middle. Too much time and they get rubbery. It’s even harder to do with a cornmeal crust. But the dish, served with a bed of risotto, was also splendid.

Only the duck breast we ordered wasn’t perfect. Some prefer to have duck breast medium rare, and some people prefer to have it cooked through. The wait staff didn’t ask, so when it was brought out medium rare, we sent it back to have it well done.

I will agree with Blair that the owner has a brisk demeanor. While we had the pleasure of having a very pleasant waitress, we saw other diners subjected to the owner's less than warm personality.

Overall, I thought it was an outstanding meal. Certainly, for a “fancy” dinner in Davis, there aren’t many choices. But maybe there aren’t because Mustard Seed does a fine job.

Other News:

The Garlic Shack: Clove crazy - For the hang-loose, get-garlicked, suck-on-breath-mints-for-days vibe Garlic Shack tries to engender, the prices seem dear. The service is stellar, and the fare is improving. But there’s a big difference between garlic lover and garlic masochist. Greg Lucas in the Sac News & Review.

Review: The Eatery Opens in West Sacramento - We were very excited to try out the much-anticipated new addition to the West Sacramento Southport Town Center Plaza, The Eatery. To locals, this is the spot where Q'doba used to be, but you'll hardly recognize it now. Stacy Grow on In Search of the Finer Things.

A Bubbly Evening at Lounge on 20 - Cranky, hot and thirsty, I stopped in at Lounge ON20 a few nights ago to cool my heels and reboot a tired palate. I couldn’t have picked a more restorative venue – the restaurant’s porch was breezy and shaded, and the sparkling wine-based cocktails I chose quickly and effervescently electrified my taste buds. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Hot Italian temporarily a car showroom? - People headed to Midtown’s Hot Italian for a pizza or gelato might be surprised to see two new additions to restaurant – a pair of cars from Italian manufacturer Fiat, which returned to the United States this year after a 27-year hiatus. Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

Brunch Round-up - Looking for an excuse to go out with the girls, or a new spin on a date? Check out these unique brunch specials in Sacramento that are sure to make your mouth water. Taylor Miles in Sac Press.

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