Dining News: Ella 'Makes a Strong Case' As Sac's Best Restaurant


This review posted while I was on vacation, but given it's praise for such a high profile restaurant, I wanted to make sure regular readers of Cowtown Eats saw it.

Only one restaurant can be The Best. Over the last 18 months, three restaurants have had that designation bestowed upon it by the Sac Bee's restaurant critic.

In Feb. 2012, the Sac Bee's restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson said "Hawks is doing enough to be considered the best restaurant we've got."

In Oct. 2012, Robertson said that Enotria was "perhaps the very best fine-dining restaurant in Sacramento and beyond."

Now, there's a new champ - Ella Dining Room & Bar.

And now, after gentle tweaks, solid leadership and a superbly talented new chef who marries bold strokes with subtle and sophisticated ones, Ella, big and beautiful, has made a strong case for being the best restaurant in the Sacramento region.

That’s saying a lot in our new high-caliber and highly competitive dining scene. Its food is a touch more eclectic than Hawks’. Its setting is superior to Enotria’s. Its menu is more dynamic and daring than Taste’s. And its overall vibe is more au courant than the Firehouse’s.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Capital Dime - On my first visit, three of the four dishes I tried were overwhelmingly heavy and rich. Steamed clams with chorizo was nice in concept, but the dish contained so much chorizo that it was overly salty and had an unappetizing layer of orange oil floating atop the broth. Noodles in a Green Dress, inspired by a favorite childhood dish of Zonca’s called noodles in green dressing, had a thick, creamy basil sauce that was redeemed somewhat by the addition of brightly flavored cherry tomatoes and corn. Interestingly, on later visits, both dishes were prepared with a much lighter hand. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Sutter Street Grill: Comfort and Crazy Good Food Collide - On my last visit, I woke up over a steaming mug of Java City coffee (mismatched mugs and cups only add to the folksy feel) while perusing the menu. There’s nearly half a page of omelettes alone, and a lunch menu to boot. I opted for a plate of chicken apple sausage, eggs, country potatoes and the Grill’s famous homemade buttermilk biscuit. To be honest, when the chicken sausage came out I had to double check I didn’t get the wrong dish. Juicy, pink and rich—as opposed to the typical variety that’s dry, gray and bland—the chicken sausage was unlike any I’d ever had, and I’ve had quite a few. Jennifer Resnicke in Style Mag.

A Naughty Indulgence: Burgers and Brew’s Breakfast Fries - Sometimes, we all hanker for a comforting breakfast item at lunch or dinnertime. Burgers and Brew has come up with an enticing option for those moments: a plateful of their crispy fries, topped with melted cheddar cheese, a fried egg and a generous amount of chopped bacon. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: Foundation Restaurant & Bar to Replace 4th St. Grill


Foundation Restaurant & Bar, which bills itself on its Web site as "an up an coming neighborhood eatery with a nostalgic bar from old San Francisco featuring local farm produce, sustainable fresh fish and humanely raised meats," will fill the space vacated by 4th St. Grill at 4th & L Streets.

More succinctly, they say they'll be a "New American Eatery with a Kick Ass Bar."

I called the number listed on their Web site on Thursday evening, but the person who picked up the phone said they were too busy to talk at the moment - understandable when I just cold call them.

The executive chef listed on the site is Jeramie Smith. According to a quick Google search, a chef with the same name was also the executive chef at 4th Street Grill in 2005. Here's a video of Chef Jeramie on Sacramento & Co. The site describes the chef as "a 20 year veteran of the local culinary scene honing his knowledge and skills working at the finest restaurants in Northern California." He is listed as the (now former) chef on 4th Street Grille's Facebook Page. In 2003, Chef Jeramie worked at Chops.

They also have a menu posted online. If they keep the menu as posted, appetizers will range from $6 to $14, sandwiches will run from $9 for a burger to $14 for a prawn po'boy, and entrees will be approximately $20.

The menu also suggests they'll have a happy hour.

On the door of the establishment, they have a note to neighbors.


And finally, they have a note on their site saying they are "just few weeks away from opening.  As with any new business endeavors, we have had our shares of delays.  The Foundation Restaurant & Bar would like to thank everyone for the support and patience. - Matt & Krissy"

Based on public record searches, Matt & Krissy appear to be Matt Sin and Krissy White.

Matt Sin is listed as the (now former) General Manager on 4th Street Grill's Facebook page.

If you take a look at their Web site, they have pictures of the remodeled interior of the building. The new space looks amazing, with a reconfigured dining area and great looking bar.

Now that they're in the pre-opening stage, they're hiring servers, bartenders, busers, and cooks. Click here if want to apply.

I'm not sure when they're going to open. Based on the pictures, a lot of work has been done outside, but the awnings outside still read 4th Street Grill. Whenever it is, I look forward to them opening, and I can't wait to try their food.

More News:

Ettore’s, Broderick Roadhouse named champions of Sacramento Burger Battle - Those who attended Wednesday night’s sold-out Sacramento Burger Battle are certainly relishing in a hamburger hangover today, and we mean that in the best possible way. Clouds of savory smelling smoke rose from Raley Field, signaling the 15 competitors were cooking feverishly for the crowd of 800 and judging panel which would deem the night’s best burgers. The field of Cow Town competitors included some of Sacramento’s signature burgers, including those from Formoli’s Bistro, Krush Burger, Willie’s Burgers and The Chef’s Table, which was the 2012 Sacramento Burger Battle champion. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Sacramento-area restaurants and wineries mark Farm-to-Fork Week - There are plenty of other dining events in the coming week that look promising. (Organizers report 50 restaurants have planned special events or promotions during the week.) While the bridge feast is the focal point of the festivities, many restaurants have stepped up to give their take on what farm-to-fork means and, more important, how it tastes. I’ve picked a few of the best bets. Featuring Broderick Roadhouse, Dawson's at the Hyatt, Grange, Hook & Ladder, Biba Restaurant & Maranello. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Foundation Restaurant & Bar to Replace 4th St. Grill" »

50% Off 50 Bottles of Wine at Ella This Month

In many restaurants, wine and alcohol, in general, is a profit center. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the markup on a bottle of wine at a restaurant is 2 to 3 times the wholesale price. As a point of comparison, the retail price is usually 1.5 times the wholesale price of a bottle.

Given all of that, adding bottles of wine to a dinner can get pricey, but Ella's here to help this month.

For the entire month of July, the restaurant features a list of 50 wines that are half off. That means you can get a bottle of sparkling wine starting at just $19 or a bottle of rose for just $20 (both subject to availability).

Click here for more details and the entire list of 50 wines.

Ella is located at 1131 K Street.

Free Dinner at Ella on Tuesday, June 25

Lincoln is hosting dinner at Ella on Tuesday, June 25. All you have to do is take a text drive of their new Lincoln MKZ before your meal, and you'll be able to enjoy a special menu created by Ella Chef Ravin Patel.

I called on Tuesday evening at 9:30 p.m. and the earliest I was able to get a reservation for 2 was at 9 p.m. Sure - that's 2 hours past my normal dinner time, but hey, free's free.This offer is available between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.


Call Ella at 916-443-3772 to get a reservation.

Click here for more information.

Ella is located at 1131 K Street.

Dining News: Cool Treats for a Hot Weekend

VicsicecreamI'm sure you've heard it by now. It's going to be hot this weekend. But that doesn't mean you can't cool yourself down with a sweet treat.

Sac Mag lists four places to get a banana split, including my favorite, Vic's Ice Cream.

3199 Riverside Blvd.
PRICE: $6.75
Seeing a thick, sensuous swath of whipped cream spread across the three scoops, I immediately gave a thumbs-up to my banana split at Vic’s, another Sacramento landmark (since 1949). It also was loaded with crunchy, fresh, thick-cut almonds, and the ice cream was rich and tasty. While the cherry was inexplicably MIA, this did not stop me from loving every spoonful.

They also feature the deliciousness of Gunther's Ice Cream Shop, Burr's Fountain and Leatherby's Family Creamery. Read the entire story in Sac Mag.

But if ice cream isn't what you're looking for, try the Shave Ice at Osaka-Ya. Others may make shave ice, but its the best in the area.

Finally, the Sac Bee named the Top 10 Frozen Treats in Sacramento.

More News:

Slice of brain freeze: Vic's Ice Cream's ice-cream pie - If separately ice cream and pie each embody the very definition of “comfort food,” then ice-cream pie must be the ultimate edible consolation. Vic's Ice Cream does it exceptionally well with specialty selections. Rachel Leibrock in Sac News & Review.

HeavenLy’s Yogurt - There are dozens of commendable frozen yogurt shops in Sacramento, but none of them quite compare to my personal favorite, HeavenLy’s Yogurt. Tucked on the corner of 56th and H Street in East Sacramento, HeavenLy’s is a charming yogurt shop with endless flavor possibilities and an exceptionally friendly staff. With more than 50 toppings to choose from, a root beer float fountain, and two dozen yogurt flavors that range from Alpine Vanilla to Non-Fat Green Apple and even Irish Mint – it’s impossible to get bored with the limitless combinations! Ana Marie Aguas on Sac Foodies.

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Dining News: RIP 4th Street Grill

4th Street Grill, a Sacramento mainstay, is being forced out of its present location due to a lease issue, says its owner to FOX 40.

If you’re from Sacramento then more than likely you’ve been to the 4th Street Bar and Grille. But soon, the place will no longer be open to the general public for business — this after being forced out of their lease.

“This is a landmark day in Sacramento; I am getting calls off the hook. I have been here 21 years. I have seen generations of families come and go. We have celebrated anniversaries here, births of children and we had three 20-year anniversaries here for the people I presented with their rings … proposing and this day comes to a sad end,” says Ron Fleming, the owner of the 4th Street Bar and Grill.

FOX40 News learned from the owner that the restaurant is closing their doors for good.  Fleming leased the property, but did not own it. Now he’s been told he’s got to go.

For those who want one last meal or drink at the restaurant, the restaurant's last day will be Friday, with proceeds going to charity.

Read the entire report and watch the video on FOX 40.

More News:

Ella Celebrates National Burger Month With Unique “Farm-to-Fork” Burgers - Did you know May is National Burger Month? Sacramento burgermeisters are celebrating this important foodie month in a variety of creative ways. Chef Ravin Patel at Ella Dining Room & Bar is keeping it very local with his array of lunch burgers, which are available through the end of May. His irresistibly juicy lamb burger is made from local Dixon lamb, garnished with Sacramento-grown spring onions, green garlic jam and regionally-crafted goat cheese . . . accompanied by a “farmers market avocado salad.” Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Grape Escape 2013 - Calling all foodies and wine lovers! The 11th Annual Save Mart Grape Escapewill be coming to Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento on Saturday, June 1st! Grape Escape is Northern California’s premier food and wine event boasting more than 200 award-winning California wines paired with the region’s best local cuisine. Ana Marie Aguas in Sac Foodies.

Continue reading "Dining News: RIP 4th Street Grill" »

Dining News: Dawson's at the Hyatt Overpromises, Overcharges & Underdelivers

Sometimes, the most entertaining restaurant reviews are for restaurants that aren't just awful, but ones that have all the tools to be good, but aren't. Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson provides the entertainment, in a terrible review of Dawson's, the restaurant inside the Hyatt.

[F]eel free to extend me your condolences nonetheless for having dined – and dined again – at Dawson's, a restaurant that woefully overpromises, dramatically overcharges and pathetically under-delivers in nearly every fundamental way.

It wasn't fun. It wasn't entertaining. There was no energy or excitement to the room, and the only thing interesting was the temerity of the whole thing, like charging $38 for $18 worth of middling seafood cioppino, asking $35 for a $15 pork chop and, worst of all, luring us into this dreamlike world in which a subpar chicken dish is suddenly worth $29 instead of $6.50.

What do I mean by underdeliver? That pork chop may be extra-pricey, but the kitchen will make up for it with all kinds of razzle-dazzle with vegetables and accoutrements and mind-boggling technique, right?

Wrong. Veggies are extra.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Chef Mike Thiemann to leave Sacramento, become culinary director for Tyler Florence - Just about a year to the date which Mike Thiemann took over as executive chef for Ella Dining Room & Bar, he will be leaving Sacramento in early February. Thiemann has accepted a job as culinary director for Tyler Florence, the Food Network celebrity chef who oversees restaurants, a line of cookware and authors cookbooks. Before Thiemann came to Ella in early 2012, he served as Florence's chef de cuisine and helped him open restaurants and develop recipes. Thiemann will serve as Florence's right hand man in many facets of his food empire. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Dine Downtown 2013: Blackbird Restaurant & Bar: a Field Mark of Sophistication - Sacramento’s Dine Downtown Week is now in full swing and it has been so much fun so far! Andy and I have had the privilege of trying out three different menus from a list of nearly 30 restaurants, and last night’s trip to Blackbird Restaurant and Bar was incredible! I am only disappointed it took me this long to discover them. Since their opening in April last year, I had heard so many great things about the food and the atmosphere, the art on the walls, and so on. I kept reading Blackbird’s menu and wanting to go because almost everything on it was paleo! Now that I have a few more hours a week (since my work commute time has been drastically cut), it’s fun to be able to spend a little bit more time with Andy and hit some new-ish places like this one. Kristy DeVaney on Cavegrrl.

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