Dining News: The Jungle Bird by Tank House Owners to Take Over Kru Space

Jungle birdWhen Kru Sushi, by Billy Ngo, leaves its current space, Tank House owners Melissa and Tyler Williams will open The Jungle Bird, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Kru initially expected to retain the spot at 2516 J St., likely for a restaurant with a slightly different concept. But on Tuesday, Kru chef and owner Billy Ngo confirmed he won't be involved in the new business.

Ngo said he once planned to redo the concept for Red Lotus, his midtown dim sum restaurant that closed in 2011, at the Kru space. Red Lotus was at 2718 J St. With Kru's move and the expansion of Fish Face Poke Bar, his other restaurant, he decided to wait.

Read the entire story in the Sac Biz Journal.

This is the first I had read that the space was supposed to become a Red Lotus. Ngo told the Sac Bee in August 2014 that Kru would be replaced by a "new sushi-only concept that is intended to showcase the craft at the very highest levels."

Sorich also reports that Kru expects to move into its new, larger location adjacent to Obo' Italian in June.

As for The Jungle Bird, information was not immediately available about the concept. However, The Jungle Bird is a tiki drink invented in the 1970s in Kuala Lumpur. With Tiki bars again rising in popularity, my money is that we'll have more rum and tropical drinks on the grid.

More News:

Craving of the week: The Mill’s Waffle-in-Hand - The waffle, which is served from 7 a.m.-noon every day, is made in the same few minutes it takes to make your cappuccino and can be placed on a plate with sides of maple syrup, house-made butter or jams in flavors like pluot. But we think it's at its best when ordered the same way they do in Belgium: plain, in hand and on the go. Either way, no waffling about this breakfast treat: We give it two sugar-coated thumbs up. Tori Masucci Cummins in Sactown Mag.

Hawks Provisions & Public House expands with brunch - Brunch fans have another place to check out soon: Hawks Provisions & Public House. The Sacramento casual outpost of the Granite Bay fine dining destination, Hawks Public House (1525 Alhambra Boulevard) will start brunch service on Sunday, February 7. The menu is pretty compact—seven small plates and seven mains to choose from—with a European bent. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing to open taproom in midtown - Fieldwork Brewing, which exploded on the craft beer scene in the Bay Area a year ago and rose to lofty heights among aficionados, has signed a deal to open a taproom in midtown Sacramento. The new branch is considered a significant step in the city’s burgeoning beer scene and a contribution to its growing reputation as a craft beer hotbed. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Dining review: Dos Coyotes, 25 years, enduring quality - Turns out the food does not require embellishment at Dos Coyotes, a counter-service, Southwestern-food chain founded in 1991 in Davis by Southern California transplant Bobby Coyote (not his government name, but the only one he uses professionally). Dos Coyotes’ chicken, marinaded with citrus and herbs before being charbroiled, is consistently tender. Its shrimp is juicy and its green chili sauce, made with New Mexico hatch chilies, carries a sneak-attack touch of heat. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Downtown Roseville business changes hands - A Dash of Panache, of the region's few remaining tea parlors, has new owners. But tea won't disappear from the downtown Roseville store. Husband-and-wife team Paul and Debra Gillman bought the business at 217 Vernon St. from Scott Alvord. Escrow closed Feb. 1. Terms were not disclosed. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Izakaya Coming to Downtown Sacramento


Takumi Izakaya Bar will replace Sushi Paradiso at 826 J Street, according to a notice posted on Wednesday.

Based on shared names and addresses in Takumi Izakaya's liquor license application and filings with the Secretary of State, it appears that the new restaurant will share ownership with the popular Bonzai Sushi, located in Sacramento's Pocket neighborhood.

There's not much else out there about the restaurant at this point, but I'll keep you updated. A true izakaya (an informal Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks, per Wikipedia) would be a great addition to the neighborhood near the arena.

Previously: RIP Sushi Paradiso, closed in late August or early September.

More News:

Tea-riffic: Panna cotta, Kru - One of the most memorable bites was the green tea panna cotta served with a bit of fresh mandarin. Elegant. Sweet. Seasonal. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Feast Q&A: Sacramento sports bar Joe Marty’s cleats up for a new century - The classic neon “sculpture” says “Joe Marty’s,” complemented by a big new banner proclaiming, “Back in the game.” Both signs perch above the 2.0 version of Joe Marty’s sports bar, with its polished concrete floors, industrial lighting, eight big-screen TVs and a museum’s worth of vintage photos and baseball memorabilia. It’s an homage to Sacramento baseball. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Dunkin' Donuts planning third location in Sacramento region - Two new drive-through restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bell, are proposed for south Sacramento. According to the application filed with the city, each restaurant would be about 2,300 to 2,500 square feet, on what is now empty land at 7310 W. Stockton Blvd. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

Peach - This organic, vegetarian breakfast and lunch spot is scheduled to open mid-January in Historic Folsom, replacing The Black Rooster Café, which closed in November. Chef Cillian Spain, a prep chef at Karen’s Bakery and Café who owns the new eatery with his wife, Sue. In Sactown Magazine. (Third item.)

Tinder for Food - What can’t you do with an app these days? Three app-based companies new to Sacramento deliver restaurant food right to your front door. Here’s a look at what each company offers. Featuring Postmates, Caviar and FoodJets. Jordan Venema in Sac Mag

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Dining News: Kru to Cohabitate with OBO' Italian by Selland's


It's long been known that Kru will move to a larger restaurant and that the space currently occupied by Kru would be a new restaurant concept by Kru owner Billy Ngo. But now the Sac Bee's Bob Shallit confirms what's been rumored for months - that Kru will split the former Good Eats space with OBO' Italian by Selland's.

“There will be Selland on one side, Kru on the other,” said Barbara Mikacich, whose family has owned the 11,000-square-foot Andiamo location at 3145 Folsom Blvd. since 1989.

She said Wednesday that Kru officials still need to sign a few documents but “it’s all fine.” Both eateries could be open by year’s end following completion of tenant improvements, which include adding a wall to separate the two dining ventures.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Returning soon: Roseville Sonic Drive-In expected to reopen - A Sonic Drive-In restaurant once connected to the Abe Alizadeh family is reopening under new management in Roseville. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

North Border Taco truck goes brick-and-mortar - The sign is up at North Border Taco, the brick-and-mortar version of the local food truck at 3721 47th Avenue, and it reads “Mexican Food With Attitude.” It’s not serving crazy, edgy spins on traditional Mexican food, rather, Tex-Mex: lots of shredded cheese, rice studded with cilantro and the occasional smattering of crispy bacon. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Want to peruse more brews? Let’s tap into local experts - So, I decided to ask a bunch of people in the beer business to give me their picks – not their all-time favorite brews and not the beers they think folks would like. I wanted to know the beers that have them excited today, and why. There’s something here for everyone, from big and bold high-alcohol beers to low-alcohol session beers. I’m not including the prices here, since they depend on where you’re shopping. If “barrel” or “sour” is in the name or description, expect it to be pricy (and worth it). Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Where You Can Get Foie Gras in Sacramento Right Now


Shaved, frozen foie gras on a sacallop nigiri at Kru in June 2012.

In case you missed the great news, foie gras is legal again after a judge overturned California's prohibition against selling the fattened duck liver.

(BTW: This isn't the place to discuss the ethics of foie gras. If you're against it, I understand why you feel that way, I respect your opinion, but my taste buds and the rest of me disagree.)

So I called around on late Wednesday night looking for restaurants that are already have it. If you have the $20 or so burning a hole in your pocket and you need a fix, hit up these restaurants:

Taylor's Kitchen

Mulvaney's B & L

Taylor's Market


Waterboy - Not in stock yet, but hopefully by the weekend.

Kru - Not yet, but Chef loves it and will try to get it on the menu soon.

Mighty Tavern - "We will. But there is no rush. It will be apart of our charcuterie program, it will have to fit into our menu. It won't just be on the menu," said chef Jason Azevedo via Twitter DM. "Soon, I personally love it. But I want to use the best way. Maybe as a mousse filling for herb profiteroles with aged balsamico. By Valentines at the earliest."

See Also: Three Places to Get Cheap(er) Foie Gras (written right before the now overturned law banning foie gras took effect in June 2012).

More News:

Local chefs react to lifting of foie gras ban - U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled Wednesday morning that California ordinances that outlawed the force feeding of birds were superseded by provisions of the federal Poultry Products Inspections Act. In short, state ordinances were overreaching and foie gras is for now good to go in California. “It’s a great day in liver land,” said a jubilant sounding Patrick Mulvaney, chef and proprietor of Mulvaney’s B&L. “I almost want to make it like a big birthday cake with a candle in it.” Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Boulevard Bistro, Carpe Vino named to best restaurants list - Two Sacramento-area restaurants are on this year's OpenTable list of the 100 best restaurants in America. The local eateries include Boulevard Bistro in Elk Grove and Carpe Vino in Auburn. The rankings are based on restaurant reviews that OpenTable diners submitted for more than 20,000 restaurants nationwide. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Jack's Urban Eats coming to Elk Grove - Jack's Urban Eats is opening an Elk Grove restaurant, the city of Elk Grove announced on Facebook on Friday. The restaurant will cover 3,339 square feet at the Laguna Crossroads shopping center at 7701 Laguna Blvd. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

SusieCakes opening first local store in January - A Southern California company is opening its first Sacramento region bakery Jan. 24. SusieCakes, which this summer announced a plan to enter the area, will make its debut at the Pavilions shopping center. The bakery at 564 Pavilions Lane will sell cupcakes, frosted layer cakes, cookies and seasonal fruit pies. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Counter Culture: Past continues at Folsom’s retro Hop Sing Palace - We ordered classic-retro, starting with pot stickers. The six dumplings were dense, but the filling was quite tasty. A nice touch was our waiter’s demonstration of how to make an excellent pot-sticker sauce from the condiments caddy: Two parts hoisin sauce, one part plum sauce, one part hot chili sauce, a splash of white vinegar, mixed until blended and smooth. It was so good we put it on every dish that followed. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Kru Owner Aims for Expansion, Again

Big changes are coming for Kru owner Billy Ngo, scoops the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson.

Already considered one of the most innovative chefs in town, Ngo is looking for a larger building to move Kru. Though he would not provide specifics and said a lease has not been signed, it appears he is close to sealing a deal.

When Kru moves, Ngo explained, he will keep the current location (2516 J St.) and renovate it in preparation for a new sushi-only concept that is intended to showcase the craft at the very highest levels. This new restaurant will be given a new name, yet to be made public.

Further, Ngo is in line to open a new “grab-and-go” sushi eatery in the artist lofts building under construction on R Street (at 11th Street). He expects that project to open by the end of the year. It will feature hand-crafted sushi made in advance and packaged for take-out. The restaurant will be called Fish Face.

Yap, who has already started at Kru, has ambitious plans of his own to work in conjunction with Ngo to bring Kru to a new level with sushi. That is saying plenty. Kru earned four stars (out of four) in The Bee and is widely considered one of the best and most exciting food experiences around.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Robertson also reports that Ngo has hired a new chef for Kru, Ricky Yap, who left San Francisco's Akiko's Restaurant in July. Akiko's has been named one of the San Francisco's Chronicle's Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants.

I wish Ngo good luck, but he has a spotty track record when it comes to additional ventures beyond Kru. He opened Red Lotus in 2010 in the spot now successfully occupied by Red Rabbit, only to have Red Lotus shut down in Sept. 2011.

He and Aimal Formoli's jointly opened Pork Belly Grub Shack in Nov. 2011, only to sell the restaurant in 2012.

Ngo is one of the nicest chefs I've ever encountered both at his restaurant and at food events around town. Hopefully things are different this time. The economy's better now than it was when he opened his last two ventures and he's hired a new chef for Kru so he can spend more time on his new venture.

More News:

Ella bartender wins blue ribbon at Midtown Cocktail Week competition - Chris Dooley of Ella Dining Room & Bar (pictured above) emerged from Midtown Cocktail Week’s cocktail competition $1,000 richer on Tuesday night at Harlow’s. His drink, an elaborately presented “Bloomsbury Bramble” which was surrounded by orchids and looked like a scene from “Fantasy Island,” topped all contendors. The eight bartenders duking it out cocktail style were actually the finalists from a pool of 24 hopefuls who competed in a preliminary round on Aug. 11. All hopefuls were required to use Tanqueray No. TEN gin in their drink. I helped determine the winner Tuesday night in a judging panel that included Jayson Wilde, a Shady Lady alum and current general manager of Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco, Rick Dobbs (owner of The Last Word in Livermore) and Tanqueray national brand ambassador (and former Sacramentan) Rachel Ford. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Hot idea: Chicken wing festival coming to Sacramento - Bone-in or boneless? That might be the question of the day on Aug. 23, when Sacramento hosts its first-ever chicken wing festival at Fremont Park. Sactown Wings will combine music, games, beer and, of course, chicken wings. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Krush Burger opened in Roseville - If you're looking to change your dining routine this week, you're in luck. On Monday, Krush Burger opened its newest location at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. The restaurant is located between Ruth's Chris Steak House and Brooks Brothers in the Galleria's Promenade area. It's the third California location for Krush Burger, which has restaurants in Davis and Sacramento. Krush Burger also has a Dubai restaurant. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Recap: Kru's Billy Ngo on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen

The concept for Cutthroat Kitchen, a Food Network cooking competition show hosted by Alton Brown, is a little convoluted. In addition to being a standard issue cooking show, each of the four contestants are given an amount of money, and items are auctioned off each round. The item could be an advantage for the contestant, or a disadvantage to be doled out to other contestants.

Chef Billy Ngo, the owner of Kru Restaurant and one of Sacramento's most talented chefs, competed on Sunday night's show, titled "Foul Play." Per the official Food Network episode guide:

Two chefs learn the true meaning of improvising when they're forced to switch dishes and sabotages in the middle of a challenge. Then, someone has to get innovative when they are given a loaf of sliced bread to use as a bread bowl for clam chowder. Finally, a chef is taken back to their childhood when they must harvest breading from chicken nuggets for their chicken fried steak. (Episode: KT0210H)

I'll admit that I didn't watch the full episode. My TiVo was too busy recording the Olympics. But it turns out that Food Network posts videos recapping the show (above).

But if you don't have 5 minutes, here are some of the highlights:

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Dining News: Selland's Market Cafe in East Sac Temporarily Closed for 'Minor Remodel'


Selland's Market Cafe on H Street closed on Jan. 1 for a weeklong "minor remodel," Selland's announced via their e-mail newsletter. They plan to reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

I checked in with Selland Group marketing manager Gina Funk Nelson to see what the "minor remodel" would entail.

"We're doing mostly a 'facelift' of new paint, replacing the ceiling, replacing some counters, a deep clean and some sprucing up," e-mailed Nelson. "Nothing major, but with how the pace of work can sometimes drag depending on surprises we thought it best to close for the 6 days."

She also joked that Sellands Market Cafe wanted to "look our best for Bacon Fest."

Sellands is located at 5340 H St.

While we're on the topic of restaurants that are closing for short periods of time in early January, Vic's Ice Cream announced on Twitter that they too would be closed for cleaning.

Finally, Enotria announced that they too would be closed from Jan. 1 to Jan. 9 for "winter holiday." They plan to reopen on Jan. 10.

More News:

Dining: The Sacramento area’s best servers - Great servers can be the most powerful people in a restaurant, for they are the direct link between the kitchen and the customer. They are in the business of serving. They are in sales. They are explainers, advisers, observers, amateur psychologists, problem solvers, masters of timing and, beyond all that, they know how to put on a show. When they step into the dining room, they are in their element, bringing to bear their commitment and passion for executing at the highest level. They can be witty, charismatic, intuitive, serious or solemn, but they are never dull, and they are always on. Featuring servers from Blackbird, Kru, Hook & Ladder, Formoli's Bistro, Juno's Kitchen and Jamie's Broadway Grille. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

First Impressions: Dad’s Kitchen brings brew to Fair Oaks - After seeing Guy Fieri’s over-the-top review on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and after enjoying the signature Dad’s Burger earlier this year, we expected better. We ate the light and crunchy deep-fried garbanzo beans by the handfuls. The ramekin of mac ’n’ cheese with bacon looked great, but lacked depth. “I like the crust, but where’s the sharp cheese taste?” one pal said...Let’s say the kitchen is still coming together. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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