I've eaten at Hook & Ladder at least 3 times. The first time was in November. The second time was a very pricey New Year's Eve dinner. The third was for happy hour in January. Each time, I had the same reaction. Drinks were good. Service needed work and the food was hit or miss.
But given all the reviews that I've read, I've probably had bad luck. This week, Sac Bee restaurant reviewer Blair Anthony Robertson raves about the restaurant at 17th & S.
So far, executive chef Brian Mizner has managed to fly under the radar, but that anonymity is about to end. With his impressive background, culinary skills and season-shifting menus, Mizner is destined to become a household name to discerning restaurant-goers.
The chef got here the old-fashioned way. At 15, he started at a family-owned Italian restaurant, Papa Gianni's in Cameron Park, his hometown. Within a few years, he knew all the recipes and techniques, and was pretty much running the place by 21. He did another five-year stint at City Treasure in midtown, showing up for a job interview and, within minutes, jumping on the line to start cooking.
By age 26, he had worked his way up to chef when the owner sold the place, soon to become Crepeville. Then he went to Masque in El Dorado Hills, which Esquire magazine listed in 2004 as one of America's best new restaurants. Under masterful executive chef Angelo Auriana, Mizner rose through the ranks to become chef de cuisine in what could only be described as a world-class kitchen.
So when you lift a fork of housemade pasta at Hook & Ladder – such as the hand-crafted linguine made with roasted beets, or cavatelli with roasted yellow pepper pesto, crayfish and watercress – you're tasting a direct link to the very dishes that Esquire's John Mariani and many others raved about years ago...
When we look at how good Hook & Ladder is already, and when we take stock of the talent and determination fueling the effort, it's easy to see how this restaurant will climb still higher. Soon rather than later, it could be up there with the best in the city.
Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.
Click here for more posts about Hook & Ladder.
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