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Daily Dining News: First Impressions of Mongo Mongo, The Porch & Monsoon

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In this week's reviews, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson gives his initial thoughts on The Porch, Mongo Mongo and Monsoon.

BAR on The Porch:

While the shrimp and grits were superb, the fried chicken just wasn't cutting it. There's a simple remedy: better breading or batter, more consistent temperature of the frying oil and a more discriminating set of eyes giving the OK about whether it's crisp enough.

BAR on Mongo Mongo:

My first bowl had thick udon, broccoli, peppers and several other vegetables, along with thin slices of pork and beef. I added a mild sauce, handed it to the cook and took my seat. I was, indeed, hungry, and went back for another bowl – this time with more garlic and more spice.

BAR on Monsoon:

With Mati's and Bombay Bar & Grill nearby and Katmandu on Broadway, Monsoon is facing some direct – and serious – competition for Indian food. So far, it isn't in the same league, even if it has one of the best-looking restaurants around.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

You can also read my Instant Reactions to The Porch and Mongo Mongo.

More News:

Blackbird to open by end of February - Replacement of a gas line is postponing the opening of the downtown seafood restaurant Blackbird Kitchen & Bar from Valentine’s Day to Feb. 21, but the restaurateurs are still able to work inside, and the iconic graphic on the front is complete. Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

Toby Keith's bar coming to Palladio at Broadstone - Those of you who have eagerly awaited the Folsom opening of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill don't have to wait much longer. The country music venue is set to open sometime in March at Palladio at Broadstone, said Gloria Wright, general manager of the upscale shopping center. Kelly Johnson in the Sac Biz Journal.

Counter Culture: You could call it a 'best of guilty pleasures' list - A tableful of foodies and I were talking about guilty pleasures and "best of" lists the other day. We agreed on the obvious – both lists are personal and subjective. I mulled the conversation (and some red wine with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) and came up with this sampling of dishes that cross over from the two lists. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Lunch with Grange Restaurant & Bar’s New Executive Chef - It’s not the first time we have been to the Grange – we have been big fans since it opened in 2009. But the invitation to come and dine with the new executive chef – Chef Oliver Ridgeway – got us excited about stopping in and seeing what changes Grange has been up to. Sallie Poggi in Sac Foodies.

Smashburger opening in Elk Grove - Smashburger will open its fifth local restaurant Tuesday in Elk Grove. Smashburger uses fresh Angus beef, rolls it into a ball and then smashes it onto a hot flat grill, with the idea of searing in juices and flavor. Mark Anderson in the Sac Biz Journal.

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