Scott's Seafood

Dining News: Cask & Barrel to Open on Thursday

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Cask & Barrel, which is replacing Enotria's Wine Bar, is scheduled to open on Thursday.

The kitchen will be run by Chef Gabriel Glasier and pastry chef Kristel Flores. The duo, who are coincidentally engaged, had previously provided the bites for the most recent iteration of Enotria, and have run a successful catering business, Chef and Baker. The event space at Enotria remains.

I was invited to a very soft opening on Friday night. The waiter described their concept as southern comfort fine dining. I thought it was closer to a modern, upscale BBQ restaurant.

The menu is separated into three regions - Bites (appetizers, ~$10), Shares (side dishes, ~$7) and Smoke (entrees, ~$13 for a half pound). Because it was a preview, they asked that in exchange for a comped meal, we would provide detailed written feedback. Others who ate there that night were Michael Passmore from Passmore Ranch and the provider of their catfish and sturgeon.

I won't write a detailed review, but I'll note a couple of the highlights of the evening.

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Cast Iron Corn Bread ($5) was easily the best corn bread I've ever had. I think the key to their preparation is flipping it at the end so the crunchy bottom is served on top. Our party of 4 all agreed that the corn bread was one of the stars of the evening.

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Short Ribs ($16 for a half pound) and Pork Spare Ribs ($12 for a half pound). The chef stopped by to explain that the preparation for his BBQ includes at least 7 hours of smoking and 72 hours sous vide.

Bourbon Hot Sauce. It's not really a menu item, but a sauce that the chef makes in house from his own stash of pickled peppers. It's amazing and approachable for all, not just fans of hot sauce.

If you've been to Enotria Wine Bar, you'll recognize the interior of Cask and Barrel. The only thing that's really changed is the addition of a large, bar-height communal table for 8 or 10 in the middle of the room.

It's clear that Chef Glasier works very hard on his craft and his presentation. Like most BBQ places, you get way too much food, so go with friends so you can share and taste. I can't wait to go back.

Cask & Barrel is located at 1431 Del Paso Blvd., and can be found online at CaskandBarrel916.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Full Disclosure: The menu didn't include prices, but according to the online menu, the comped portion of the meal was approx $125 for our party of 4. I left a $75 tip, but what I paid didn't equal what we got.

More News:

In Need of Some Wintry Comfort Food? Head to Biba - I recently visited Biba Restaurant on a chilly, drizzly evening and was rewarded with a meal so comforting and nourishing that it warmed me from the toes up. Despite its swanky ambiance, the restaurant serves up lusty, unpretentious fare that stays true to its Italian regional roots. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

SusieCakes Grand Opening - For those unacquainted with SusieCakes, prepare to have your love for cupcakes reignited. Maybe it sounds like I'm overstating it, but really, SusieCakes is definitely a cut above. Full disclosure: when I lived in Los Angeles years ago, I applied for a job at the Brentwood SusieCakes so I could have regular access to their fluffy cakes and killer buttercream (which is shot into the middle of the cupcake, a practice that ought to be copied at all cupcake dispensaries). It's not that their desserts are particularly radical, and it's certainly not that their cupcakes are in any way local or healthy. What makes SusieCakes enjoyable is the retro vibe—these are the cupcakes you ate as a kid. Diana Bizjak in Sac Mag.

Noodle news - Good news: Midtown will get a taste of a few more noodle soups this year because of an ownership change at Sawasdee Thai Cuisine (1830 J Street) in late December. The place has been completely revamped with a new concept, new chef and new dishes, according to the new owner. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Ed Goldman: 'Farm-to-fork' can mean fish, says owner of Scott's on the River - When people use the ubiquitous local slogan "farm-to-fork," they usually don't mean fish. And that irks Alan Robert Pollock Irvine, owner and general manager of Scott's Seafood on the River, whom we met in Wednesday's column. While principally known as a seafood restaurant, Scott's serves "a lot of beef" as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, Irvine says. But since the selection of fresh fish entrees and appetizers comprise the place's defining brand, this leads Irvine to talking about "the bad rap on farmed fish. I mean, when's the last time you ate wild beef? Farmed fish is getting better and better all the time. Aquaculture" — as opposed to agriculture — "is the future, and we just have to get into it." Ed Goldman in Sac Biz Journal.

Restaurant brings small burgers to Rocklin - A new Rocklin restaurant is betting on a belief that in the burger world, good things come in small packages. Slider Burgers opened last week at 6661 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite J. It offers a variety of small burgers. "They are gourmet, so they fill you up," said Rich Bay, who is part of the restaurant's management team. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Cask & Barrel to Open on Thursday" »


Dining News: 'Less Than Impressed' with Scott's Seafood

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In this week's review, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson takes a club to Scott's Seafood on the river.

Scott's Seafood, based on the original restaurant by that name in San Francisco, came to Sacramento through a licensing arrangement in 1991, the year the Dow Jones climbed above 3,000 for the first time and, believe it, when more than a few people thought Ross Perot would make a great president. Back then, it was OK to serve steamed green beans alongside plain ol' julienned carrots, but in 2013 that's not just tame, it's lame. In fact, the absence of creativity is persistent throughout much of the menu here, amounting to dishes that are neither entertaining nor delicious.

The appetizers are the one place on the dinner menu where a touch of flair and a degree of quality result in a decent eating experience. The panko-crusted prawns ($12.95), cooked to a beautiful, crispy golden-brown, worked nicely with the lively flavors of the plantain sauce, though it was pricey for five smallish prawns. The two crab cakes ($13.95) were also expensive for a nibble or two, along with an endive slaw that was undressed, unseasoned and, thus, pretty much a waste of a delicate leafy treat grown in the dark right down the river in Rio Vista.

Our favorite appetizer was the ahi poke lettuce wraps ($16.95) – the quality of the raw ahi (optionally, you can order it seared) was first-rate and the serving was generous. We just wish some wise guy in the kitchen had not hidden an equally ample golf-ball-size serving of wasabi among the slaw. Your correspondent/ professional eater accidentally ingested the entire wasabi ball and somehow survived – flaming nostrils, watery eyes, gasping profanities, the whole bit. When I breathed onto my laminated wine list to see what would pair with a singed esophagus, it fogged up.

Another appetizer option we liked was the ahi- avocado rolls ($10.95) with wasabi vinaigrette, in part because of the pleasing balance of flavors and textures. If we had stopped with tasty starters and views of the setting sun along Le Sacramento Rivage, we would have been perfectly content (minus the pager, the botched reservation and the valet parking scam). But we persisted and ordered entrees.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Blair's review didn't quite match up with the experiences I've had at Scott's Seafood - although he's reviewing their dinner and I'm usually there for happy hour.

Just like Chevy's On The River, half of what you're paying for is the view and atmosphere. On those accounts, at least when I've dined there, I've had a good time eating decent food.

Click here for more posts about Scott's Seafood.

More News:

Staff picks: Break your fast at Evan’s Kitchen - Eating at Evan’s Kitchen feels like an afternoon at grandma’s house. You’re greeted with hospitality when you walk in, surrounded by flowery décor wherever you sit and leave with the urge to unbutton your jeans after a hearty home-cooked meal. Cristina Lule in the Sac State Hornet.

Taqueria Garibaldi: Taco up - I dream of the restaurant’s chile verde plate. Here, the tomatillo sauce is tangy and salty, with a mild heat that lingers long enough to be extinguished by the delightful refried beans. I’m not sure if there’s a stick of butter in there or just a fistful of lard that makes them so good, but either way, the beans leave me excited. The Mexican rice is nothing to get excited about, however—but Mexican rice rarely ever is. Taqueria Garibaldi is usually a happening place. Visit during a soccer game, and you’ll find a rowdy joint where the beer tastes better and the salsas seem hotter. Additionally, if you’re looking for a place that’s open until 3 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday and serves pretty decent tacos that are not just a cut above, but whole bolts of cloth above the tacos at most other eateries open at this hour, then Taqueria Garibaldi will do you well. Garrett McCord in Sac News Review.

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10 Recently Updated Happy Hours

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I work really hard to make sure that the happy hours listed on Cowtown Eats are as accurate as possible. Here are 10 happy hours that I've updated recently:

If you see any that are wrong, please let me know at Darrel@Cowtowneats.com and I'll get them updated.


Daily Dining News: Magpie to Open Second Location

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Magpie Cafe, the beloved restaurant at 14th & R, is adding a second location, Cowtown Eats has independently confirmed. (Click here for Magpie's Happy Hour info.)

I don't have a confirmation on where and when yet, but here are rumored details, per a posting on the Yelp forums by Eduardo C:

Magpie is opening a bakery and cafe on 14th and O Streets.  Estimated opening:  September 1, 2012.

Already located at the corner of 14th & O is Bistro Michel, Sam's Market, Vallejo's Eliana's Cafe and an empty space that has hosted a parade of failed restaurants. The most recent restaurant located in that space was Samurai Sam's Teriyaki Grill, and before that, Spicy Pickle sandwich shop.

If the poster is correct and the second location is indeed in that spot, I hope they'll be much more successful than the previous occupants in the space. I also hope that the extra traffic that Magpie might bring would also benefit the amazing Bistro Michel.

More News:

Follow-up: Landlord not to blame in closure of Scott's Seafood - Following up on a post here a few days ago about the closure of Scott's Seafood at Loehmann's Plaza, it seems as if many readers may have gotten the wrong idea about the negotiations of the lease terms. Scott's co-owner Alan Irvine tells me the landlord has been receiving angry emails since the news came out. (Scott's two other Sacramento area restaurants remain open and are doing well). Blair Anthoy Robertson in the Sac Bee.

The Tastemaker - He’s been called the Indiana Jones of the culinary world and the man who “knows more about food and wine than anyone else in America.” How did the son of a Sacramento mayonnaise salesman become a buttoned-up grocer while leading a double life as a globe-trotting gourmet? Just who is Darrell Corti and why do so many important people think he has the planet’s greatest nose for quality? Rick Kushman in Sactown Mag.

Continue reading "Daily Dining News: Magpie to Open Second Location" »


Daily Dining News: RIP Scott's Seafood at Loehmann's Plaza, Other Locations Remain Open

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Scott's Seafood at Loehmann's Plaza closed Sunday night, due to "the local economy’s lack of recovery and our failure to strike new lease terms with the landlord has made it impossible to continue," said a post on their Facebook Page. (See the happy hour at Scott's Seafood on the River.)

Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson has more details:

The restaurant closed Sunday night. Early Monday, management began calling employees, including some that have been there 18 or 20 years, informing them of the decision to close, Irvine said. He noted that efforts to renegotiate terms of the lease for the 6,300-square-foot building were unsuccessful.

"We've been working with the landlord to work out a rent that works for both of us. Sales have been down the last few years. We've been here 20 years and we've had a really good run," Irvine said. "When the recession hit, it affected a lot of our clientele. Our clientele is getting older and not going out to eat as much."

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

The restaurant stresses that its two locations On the River and in Folsom remain open for business.

All of us at Scott’s Seafood Grill and Bar thank all of our loyal clientele for their great support over the years, and look forward to many more great years at our Folsom and River locations.

Read the entire Facebook post announcing the move.

More News:

Dining review: Silva's Sheldon Inn – distance makes a difference - Doug and Barbara Silva have been running Silva's Sheldon Inn since 1988, not long after Doug bowed out of his two-year stint as opening chef for a fledgling ristorante called Biba. Biba went on to become one of Sacramento's great dining destinations. Silva's Sheldon Inn took shape, settled in and endured as a mainstay of reliable, quality cooking. But it's a 30-minute drive from downtown Sacramento, and we wondered how it would hold up as a dining destination for those outside the immediate Elk Grove area. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Apologizing for an error that caused sorrow for many - I made an unfortunate error in today's restaurant review of Silva's Sheldon Inn. I failed to connect with the restaurant's owners prior to publication. Had I, I would have learned that Don Brown, the longtime executive chef at Biba who later became sous chef at Silva's Sheldon Inn, died in 2010. Mr. Brown was mentioned briefly in the review. I have already heard from many of Mr. Brown's friends and loved ones, and I want to apologize for the jolt of pain and anguish my error caused. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Daily Dining News: RIP Scott's Seafood at Loehmann's Plaza, Other Locations Remain Open" »


Top 15 Happy Hours of April 2012

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The 15 most popular Sacramento happy hours of April 2012 on CowtownEats.com were:

  1. Republic Bar & Grill (Last month's rank: 1)
  2. BJ's Restaurant & Brewery (Last month's rank: 2)
  3. Lucca (Last month's rank: 4)
  4. McCormick and Schmick’s (Last month's rank: 10)
  5. Burgers and Brew (Last month's rank: 3)
  6. Paesanos (Last month's rank: 9)
  7. Chicago Fire Pizza - Midtown (Last month's rank: 7)
  8. Chicago Fire - Folsom (Palladio) (Last month's rank: 14)
  9. Pizza Rock (Last month's rank: 6)
  10. Cafeteria 15L (Last month's rank: 12)
  11. Scott's Seafood On The River (Last month's rank: 15)
  12. Mikuni (Last Month: Unranked)
  13. Logan's Roadhouse (Last Month: Unranked)
  14. River Rock Tap House (Last month's rank: 5)
  15. Red Rabbit (Last month's rank: 13)

Thanks for visiting Cowtown Eats! We had more than 42,500 page views (up 73 percent compared to last year) and nearly 11,200 unique visitors (plus 103 percent over last year).

Thank you all for coming. If you have any suggestions/thoughts, please e-mail me at Darrel@CowtownEats.com

Don't forget to check back daily for new posts and Cowtown Eats resources like the Cowtown Eats on TwitterFacebook and the Sacramento Happy Hour Map.


Top 15 Happy Hours of March 2012

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The 15 most popular Sacramento happy hours of March 2012 on CowtownEats.com were:

  1. Republic Bar & Grill (Last month's rank: 1)
  2. BJ's Restaurant & Brewery (Last month's rank: 3)
  3. Burgers and Brew (Last month's rank: 2)
  4. Lucca (Last month's rank: 5)
  5. River Rock Tap House (Last month's rank: 8)
  6. Pizza Rock (Last month's rank: 6)
  7. Chicago Fire Pizza - Midtown (Last month's rank: 11)
  8. Capitol Garage (Last month's rank: 9)
  9. Paesanos (Last month's rank: 14)
  10. McCormick and Schmick’s (Last month's rank: 4)
  11. Bows & Arrows with Fat Face (Last Month: Unranked)
  12. 3 Fires Lounge (Last month's rank: 12)
  13. Cafeteria 15L (Last Month: Unranked)
  14. Chicago Fire - Folsom (Palladio) (Last month's rank: 10)
  15. Scott's Seafood On The River (Last month's rank: 13)

Thanks for visiting Cowtown Eats! We had more than 40,000 page views (up 60 percent compared to last year) and nearly 10,500 unique visitors (plus 75 percent over last year).

Thank you all for coming. If you have any suggestions/thoughts, please e-mail me at Darrel@CowtownEats.com

Don't forget to check back daily for new posts and Cowtown Eats resources like the Cowtown Eats on TwitterFacebook and the Sacramento Happy Hour Map.