Back to Sacramento for holidays, what's new this year?
Would appreciate if anyone can point me towards some of the worthwhile culinary developments in Sac over the course of the last year. I like eating anything and everything, so whatever has floated your boat recently!
Lots of good places closed, but as far as new and notable in 2009? Your choices are somewhat limited.
Pearl on the River isn't bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again. Morton's moved to a new building at 6th and Capitol, but it's Morton's.
My favorite new place was Asian Pearl, but it already went bust. Its sister restaurant, Asian Pearl 2009 on Stockton Blvd., was going strong last time I was there, serving very good traditional Cantonese and dim sum. Dara Thai opened up at the corner of Greenback and Auburn in Citrus Heights. Good boat noodle soup. I hope the place makes it, but it's always empty when I'm in there, so who knows how much longer it'll last.
re: fame da lupo
Most of the well-regarded restaurants are still in business. If you're looking forward to dinner at The Waterboy, Biba's, or Mulvaney's, you have nothing to worry about. 55 Degrees did shut its doors; no more moules frites on Capitol Mall.
But if you're headed out someplace a little downmarket, call first - they may have folded. The list would be impossibly long, but some of my favorites that are gone include places like New Paris Bakery, Sim's, and the aforementioned Asian Pearl.
The best pho/banh mi place in town, New Paris, closed unfortunately, but Quan Nem Ninh Hoa - one of the best (non-pho) Vietnamese places in the region, opened. Get the special for 2, about $15, fantastic. Their fish dishes and noodles are wonderful, and all the tofu comes from the tofu factory immediately behind them.
Mulvaney's got better; Waterboy, imo, got boring and inattentive. More Vietnamese and regional-cuising Mexican places opened in the south area; Lalo's, which has been open for what, 7 years now? - finally got the attention it deserves from critics and local food clubs and is now more packed on weekend mornings than ever for their sublime barbacoa and things like huitlacoche and squash blossom.
There's a new Cuban place in North Highlands that's gotten good reviews for their sandwiches and plantains. I need to try it, and hope they have a good medianoche.
The city's effectively banned taco trucks, so you need to go a bit further south for good Mexican, or out into the county; excellent ceviche and lengua can be found at my favorite, Tres Hermanos, on El Camino at Ethan.
Flaming Grill is supposed to be terrific. That's just up from the above-mentioned taco truck, also on El Camino - lots of good beer (Arrogant Bastard ... on TAP!!) and good burgers made from any kind of meat you can think of.
A few new places on R Street are good - especially the lunch & dinner at Magpie; Burgers & Brew next door is nothing special but does have a good beer selection. Haven't tried the new Shady Lady at the end of the block but have heard good, or at least decent, things.
I don't think this place has been around that long, but I moved back to Sac about a year ago, and it's new to me: Masullo Pizza on Riverside Blvd. The pizza was excellent, the place is stylish, and the service was attentive. The quality was high, and the sauce is bright and fresh. I also enjoyed our appetizer of pork rillette, pickled onions, olives and pizza bread.
I ate at Masullo last evening - am in town for a conference - and I second the above: It was excellent, from start to finish. Had the Lotte pizza, and the dessert special, a kind of deconstructed apple tart, was an updated and delicious version of what Mom used to make - just what I needed after a week on the road. Highly recommended - will be back when I'm back in Sacramento.
New places for me, that I liked:
Cafe Rolle, east Sac - excellent food, portions, and prices. If I wanted a French lunch, it would be my go-to.
Azul, midtown - another great value, really enjoyed the ceviche ($9, nice!) and sopes.