Instant Reaction

Instant Reaction: Izakaya Daikoku

Izakaya Daikoku opened on Oct. 1, replacing the now-defunct Sweetwater Restaurant and Bar, and before that, Fins Market & Grill at 19th & S. Can the new restaurant by the owner of Land Park's Akebono and RyuJin Ramen House be successful when others have failed? Based on my initial visit, a resounding yes.

I ate there the first weekend they opened (sorry - a little behind on my writing), and I found well-oiled restaurant, with staff borrowed from the owner's two other establishments.

We arrived on a Friday night, and diners are given the option to eat at a large common table with space for 20, or at traditional tables with seats for another 60 or so total. We chose the later and started devouring the extensive menu.

The menu is broken into Otsumami, Yakizakana, yakitori, Teppan Okonomiyaki, etc. Bring your iPhone - even for those who dine at Sacramento Japanese restaurants frequently, a lot of the concepts are not familiar. I had to Google all of those terms.

The restaurant is an Izakaya, which is a Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany drinks, generally casual places for after-work drinking, per Wikipedia. Given that it's the first Izakaya in Sacramento (that I know of), I decided to only order off that part of the menu.

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Instant Reaction: Trick Pony

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I can't remember a restaurant that had more negativity before it even had its first paying customer. But then again, I don't know of any other restaurant that insulted the local restaurant community before blaming a biased reporter.

In any case, I visited Trick Pony on Friday evening and wanted to let their food do the talking for them.

Located in the former Tuli spot at 21st & S, the space has gone through a light renovation. There's new paint on the wall and the outdoor area has more permanent shutters than the plastic that Tuli had up. Not much else was an obvious change.

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Instant Reaction: Bistro Michel


Before Tuli Bistro closed, it was a personal favorite for many of my “restaurant situations.” Need a casual place to bring my parents when they visit from out of town? Tuli was the answer. Looking for a low key weekend dinner with the wife? Tuli was often our restaurant of choice.

It was never the best restaurant in Sacramento, but given where we work, where we live and what we’re able to afford to spend on a meal, Tuli, as a neighborhood restaurant, fit us perfectly.

But since it closed, I’ve been looking for a new comfortable neighborhood restaurant. I’m sure some would say that place should be Moxi at 21st & H, but after eating there twice, I still don’t understand what the fuss is about. I also wish they’d take the time to write the menu down so I can read it at my leisure – not have to keep up as the waiter recites the seemingly endless entrees they have available that night. I do have friends that vehemently disagree with me and can’t fathom why Moxi isn’t among my favorite restaurants.

But I think I have a new place to fill the void filled by the closing of Tuli: Bistro Michel. The restaurant, which is about to celebrate its fifth birthday, is located at 14th & O. Several weekends ago, I went to the restaurant after getting a great deal on gift certificates via Sac News & Review’s Sweet Deals site.

We were there on a Saturday night, and the restaurant had other diners, but the place wasn’t full. We were seated near a window and started ordering.

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Instant Reaction: Wrap N' Roll Sushi Burrito


Wrap N' Roll Sushi Burrito opened its second location a few weeks back, replacing Trey B Cakes at 1801 L street.

I stopped by on their opening weekend to give their unique concept a try.

When I walked in, I had prepared myself mentally to not like the place. The idea of putting tuna and salmon inside a tortilla didn't seem like something I'd like.

Luckily, I was wrong. I was wrong on the concept and I had a surprisingly decent meal.

First of all, nothing we ordered had a tortilla. It's more about giant sushi rolls rather than pairing carnitas with wakame.

I ate there with three friends, and this is what we ordered.

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Instant Reaction: Fahrenheit 250 BBQ


Much has already been written about Fahrenehit 250 BBQ, the new restaurant that replaced Bisla's Sports Bar on Folsom.

Sac News & Review's Janelle Bitker said the ribs may be the best in town.

Sac Bee's Allen Pierleoni lauded the "shrimp and sausage coins with grits cakes, sweet prawns wrapped in house-cured bacon, cheesy grits, corn-and-crawfish fritters, fried green tomatoes, red beans ‘n’ rice, sweet collard greens, excellent coleslaw, and a rich dip made from smoked Mt. Lassen red trout and artichoke."

Good Day Sac's Cambi Brown praised their craft cocktails.

But the one thing that I didn't see mentioned was their pulled pork - which I had and loved.


Half pound of pulled pork with a side of mac 'n' cheese and collard greens. $15

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Instant Reaction: Crawdads River Cantina


It's hard to be tough on restaurants that just opened. They're brand new and still working out the kinks. So normally, when I encounter less than excellent experiences at brand new restaurants, I find other things to write about.

But when you're a "celebrity" chef like Adam Pechal, the standards are a little higher. Putting your name on a restaurant means that it represents the quality and experience that you're know for.

That's why I've decided to give my initial reaction to a meal I had at Crawads on Friday evening.

I think there are three main aspects to a good dining experience - ambiance, food and service. To be really successful, you need to be great at at least one of those three. But one of them cannot be terrible. Unfortunately, that's what I encountered when I visited Crawdads on the first Friday of Spring and their first Friday open.

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Instant Reaction: Block Butcher Bar


Block Butcher Bar officially opens today, but over the weekend, they held a soft opening, and members of the general public were allowed to give the staff an opportunity to work some of the kinks out.

Tipped off by a loyal Cowtown Eats reader, I immediately left the happy hour I was at and arrived at about 7:15 p.m. As you enter, you're greeted by a host stand and little retail area in the foyer. As you continue to walk into the long, narrow restaurant (think Dive Bar), the bar is to your left and the table and booth seating is to the right and towards the back of the restaurant. In the very back is an enclosed area where guests can literally watch the sausage get made.

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