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Dining News: RIP Ambience Restaurant in Carmichael

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Ambience Restaurant, one of the very few top tier dining restaurants in Sacramento, is closing in January, reports the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson.

This is a significant loss to the local culinary scene, as many food aficionados considered Song to be among the best, most precise and artistic chefs in the area. Almost all of his dishes were so beautifully plated you couldn't be blamed for staring instead of eating.

And yet, Ambience was rarely crowded - and wasn't as crowded as it should have been or deserved to be. Song said much of that had to do with the less-than-prestigious location in Carmichael (he extensively renovated an old Wendy's) and the persistence of the economic downturn.

That may be partly true. The meals at Ambience were prix fixe, meaning there were no options for anything but the $70 for five courses or $95 for seven courses, and the cooking was geared toward nouvelle French cuisine. If you wanted an $18 pasta dish and a glass of wine on your way home from work, you were out of luck. A gourmet burger and a beer at happy hour? Not here. It was all or nothing. In that location and in this economy, that was probably a recipe for failure.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

I made it out there for Valentine's Day earlier this year, and I found that it had plusses and minuses, as I wrote in my Instant Reaction. The food was prescise and great, but the pacing was slow. It's true that we opted for the 7 course meal since it was a special occasion, but there were large gaps where we were had finished a course and we just waited for food.

Robertson reports that Chef Morgan Song is looking to open a restaurant in Los Altos - a tony Silicon Valley suburb. If you have the means and the opportunity, I'd suggest that you go before he closes in a couple months.

More News:

Restaurants lined up for dining weeks after holidays - The Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s eighth annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week has more than 24 restaurants signed up so far, and the week is still more than a month away. The popular program has participating restaurants offering a three-course, fixed-price menu for $30 per person. For the restaurants, it is a chance to entice customers into restaurants after the holidays. January is typically a slow month for restaurant, but the lure of deals tends to bring diners out. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

Masullo's growing fame a mixed blessing: No dough for you! - Sometimes when a restaurant is mentioned positively in The Bee, it can bring in plenty of new business -- and a good bit of chaos. I spotted this on Masullo's Facebook page: "Our apologies for not having enough dough. The Bee ran an article naming us best pizza in town and we sold more at lunch today than all dayTuesday a week ago. We have a three day ferment for our dough and we can not just make more at the drop of a hat. We are sorry for the trouble it may cause to customers, but believe us we would like to have it to sell to you." As you can see, you cannot rush a great crust. If you want to try truly great pizza in the Neapolitan style, get there early today. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Pour House - One place to enjoy a refreshing beverage is the Pour House, an eclectic space filled with dark woods, specialty liquor bottles and fantastic light fixtures throughout – the place just feels cool (I won’t even get into the great music). But the best thing about the Pour House is the Bloody Mary. So good in fact, that it was voted the No. 1 Bloody Mary in California. Jake Ferguson in Sac Foodies.

Opinion: Midtown's microbrew ban is due for an amendment - At a time when the microbrewery business is booming and specialty ales are sought-after, Midtown Sacramento is falling behind trend in a major way. Although one can find any number of bars and restaurants offering an array of beers on tap or in bottle on any given block, single bottled beers for purchase remain elusive. Palina Chordas in Sac Press.

VIDEO: Dishin' with Tina- Tako's Korean Barbeque - Tina Machua joined us from Tako's Korean Barbeque where she showed off the amazing menu. On Good Day Sac.

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